Iranian president Mahmud Ahmedinijad suggested yesterday that Israel be relocated to Canada or Alaska, where it would benefit from the vast expanses and absence of sensative Jerusalem. Every Israeli to whom I spoke of this said it sounds like a wonderful idea. "I'm ready to pack" said my friend Ravid, and honestly, I'm a little sick of Jerusalem too. It really is too goddamned sensative. Ahmedinijad can have it, along with all the fanatical loonies who cling to it with hopes of witnessing a violent catharsis.
In all seriousness, though, Here are the facts. I was born in Jerusalem, a city which Ahmidinijad had never visited. I respect all three religions that admire this city, which I think justifies me as a good Jerusalemite. I am an Israeli born to parents who were both born in Israel. I have no other country to call home and no one is offering me any other passport.
Moreover, I don't want to immigrate. I just want a home. It took me a very long time to come to terms with this insane country. I made great efforts to replace it and failed. The same thing would happen to Ahmidinijad were he to move anywhere. It takes one comment on Homosexuality he made in New York to prove that.
OK, I admit we Jews are relatively used to being exiled. We are the latest to hit the neighborhood and haven't behaved so well, so maybe it is us who must take the burden. I just have one thing to ask of Ahmidinijad: make it Canada. No offense to Alaska, but I really have a thing for Canada. I miss Erika Richmond who lives there, and Megan too, and Greg Nickel of course, though he lives in Seattle. I love the accent of the Newfies and the rocks near Port aux Basques, The belugas in the Segaunay, the northern lights over Sheshatshiu in Labrador, magnifiscent Lake Louise, Sesquechuan silos, Vancouver's glass towers and BC wine, I like Glenn Gould and Leonard Cohen, Moxy Fruvous and Barenaked Ladies, Neil young and Joni Mitchell. I like David Rakoff's short stories, "Jesus of Montreal" is one of my top movies, and Maya Pasternak, who rears from Toronto, is my conceptual artist of choice. I love Maudite beer, Trois Pistoles and Fin du Monde, grade B maple syrup and Caribou game. I've been a habs fan ever since reading "the Hockey sweater", by Roch Carrier. you've got to love a nation that puts its favourite sport, as well as such a sweet text, on its money. You've got to love a country that has a falling leaf on its flag.
What if we removed the star of David from our flag and put an olive leaf instead? Would I then not have to leave? I'd do it, Mahmoud, and happily, too. Unlike you, I don't believe my country should be a theocracy. You do, you're opressing millions of Iranians. why shouldn't it be you who starts packing? Maybe it's the Iranian regime that should be sent to Canada for some serious schooling, along with members of the Israeli cabinet (Lieberman et al.) and Hammas officials.
It may have been a bad idea to place israel where it is. It may have been a bad idea to form it in the first place, but these "may have beens" have expired over a half a century ago. At the moment, I'm here, and despite all my love for Canada, I'm not Canadian. Israel needn't be moved. It needs to be changed, as does Iran. Let's send all the horrible Middle Eastern politicians and their extremist chummies off to freeze in forests of black spruce. The rest of us would stay here to make the region at least as good as the country described above.