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Jewish World Review April 8, 2002 / 27 Nisan, 5762

Julia Gorin

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A League of Their Own | There is something that gets lost amid all the terror-for-peace negotiations. Suicide bombings have nothing to do with land or peace. They have a life of their own now. Politics are irrelevant.

In a PBS special last Thursday, a TV crew interviewed suicide bombers-to-be from one of the many martyr factions in the West Bank. One explained the rivalry among the many groups:

"It's like a British soccer league," he said. "We have different factions and we're in competition."

In this sport, score is kept based on who has more martyrs, which martyrs cause the most damage, who gets the highest body count.

A video game. Government-subsidized, with live ammunition and targets.

Naturally the targets are Israelis, since the world has shown that Jews are expendable, what with each bloodbath over the past nine years stimulating nothing more than next-day talk of continued negotiations and Israeli restraint.

The moral of the story? If you kill Jews, the world will make excuses. Who by now doesn't know that there are double standards when it comes to headless Jews?

After all, Jews are used to extermination; they can handle it. And so when 19 died in one of the Passover blasts, the big news was that the Arab Summit fell apart.

Not good: Bad press for the league. Could hurt the sport.

One wonders if it's only a matter of time before Palestinian children start collecting cards with photographs of martyrs on the front and stats on the back: league, team, number of injuries, number of deaths, blast range.

The sport does promise to be more sexually equitable than most, with women being allowed to compete alongside the men. At least three female competitors dominated recent headlines, even though they scored significantly lower than the male average after Israeli referees got between them and their intended goals. (This would be the "humiliation" that is frequently referred to by the sports commentators.)

The game further distinguishes itself in that sometimes unsuspecting spectators become participants in the game, as when Arab-Israelis get caught in the blasts. Nor does striking UN referees result in lost points. In fact, the UN could pass a resolution endorsing the admission of the game as an official Olympic sport, which could in turn influence other Olympic competitions, such as riflery, to use Jews for targets. Thus further desensitized, the EU nations could eventually field terror teams of their own.

Peace in the Middle East? That's missing the point. The sport has become too popular. It's not going away. The players have too much at stake. It's what they do. It's their only desire, and their only skill. And there's too much prize money involved. An independent Palestinian state? Might as well add commercial endorsements for the martyrs, proceeds to go to the families.

JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2002, Julia Gorin