Laughter really is the best medicine. Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post and senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, has found humor and satire to be valuable tools in making the case for a strong Israel. Her latest venture to that end is Latma, the Hebrew-language media satire website Glick created and edits.
The non-profit Latma is Glick’s newest platform for her staunchly nationalistic defense of Israel, promoted in her biweekly syndicated columns for the Jerusalem Post and in articles in The Jewish Press, The Wall Street Journal, National Review and Moment magazine, among others. Glick also is a frequent guest on Fox News, MSNBC and Israeli television.
Glick is currently in the U.S. to raise awareness of Latma.
The Jewish Press: How effective has Latma been since you started it?
Glick: I think Latma has been extremely effective since we started it about three years ago. Our goal was to use television and Internet in a new way. We want to break the leftist monopoly on public discourse in Israel. We are using groundbreaking new images through satire and humor to make the non-leftist worldview and the classical Zionist worldview about Israel’s place in the world socially acceptable. It’s been working very, very well – beyond our expectations. Right now we’re negotiating a contract with Channel One on Israel Television to produce our program as a regular prime-time series. If that occurs it will represent a revolutionary change.
Have you detected any tangible effect on public opinion since Latma’s appearance?
Public opinion in Israel is very strange, in the sense that polling data shows the overwhelming majority of Jews in Israel are right-wing, but the policies that government after government enacts are left-wing. The public tends to be quiescent in the face of this, largely because of the media, which makes it seem as though right-wing, nationalist positions are extremist.
The only way to stop this situation is to discredit the left. Subjecting Israel’s icons to ridicule has the effect of empowering the public to speak its mind. I believe the fastest and most effective means is through satire, because the thing about humor is that when you laugh at something, it’s no longer intimidating.
The left’s ability to frighten people into accepting the left’s arguments is diminishing. When Netanyahu went to the United States in May and Obama used the trip to try to force Netanyahu to accept the 1949 armistice lines, there was a very big pushback from the public. The media tried very hard to portray Netanyahu in the wrong, but the public embraced Netanyahu rather than the media’s version of events. At the time, I spoke at a very large demonstration outside the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv and several hundred people flocked to me afterward thanking me for Latma, telling me they never were activists before watching it.
Do you think the recent public embrace of Netanyahu will empower him to move more to the right?
No. Just look at how he capitulated with the Shalit deal. It was [an emotional experience] to see Gilad Shalit, emaciated and traumatized, finally come home. But the deal Netanyahu agreed to is signed with the blood of the past and future victims of the terrorists he let go. The truth is that politicians, wherever they are, are beholden to the elite forces in a society. The elite are generally the media, academia, and whatever version of Hollywood exists in that country, and their beliefs tend to dictate the terms of reference for any politician. The positions of the voters are shunted aside because while they’re known at the ballot box, on a daily basis they’re not heard from.