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April 26, 2010

NSA Jones Makes a Jew Joke

Speaking at the Washington Institute For Near East Policy last week, Obama's National Security Advisor James Jones thought it would be fun to start his remarks with a joke.

I'd like to begin with a story that I think is true, a Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water. The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn’t have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban, the jokes goes on, begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water. The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he’s back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: “Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant.”

When I put this on twitter, some folks questioned whether it was offensive or, even if it is offensive, whether it's appropriate to be offended by it.

The putative lesson of NSA Jones' joke is that crafty and heartless Jews give people the runaround and make a buck off it. Yes, it's offensive. It feeds a stereotype Older Than Print that became the justification for quite a bit of bad behavior toward Jews. And NSA Jones thinks this particular story has an element of truth.

It's also quite all right to get offended by it. The Obama Administration is systematically destroying the American relationship with Israel. Cracking jokes about Jews who won't cooperate—while Obama is in the middle of a fight with Israeli leadership over settlements—is a bit timely, wouldn't you say? Jones is either too stupid to realize that or knew it, but went with his "true story" anyways.

YID with LID notes that the White House transcript of the event conveniently leaves the joke out, as does the official video. He found his own video of it, click over if you'd like to see Jones' not-very-comic delivery.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:47 AM

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