Israeli stoners against Hizbullah
Israeli stoners against Hizbullah
Tuesday August 22, 2006 - The Guardian
Forward, a Jewish publication based in New York, had one of these "aren't we cool, look what we are writing about" items last week, informing its readers of an Israeli "phenomenon". Apparently, "activists" have decided to boycott hashish originating from Lebanon, in order to avoid indirect sponsorship of Hizbullah, who are believed to be involved in smuggling the drug over the Israeli border.
This news originated in the blog of a well-meaning bloke calling himself Anarchist Orthodox, who announced his intention to stop buying Lebanese hash, "effective immediately". This act of selflessness is obviously aimed at making Sheikh Nasrallah and his ilk think twice before messing with Israel. Furthermore, Anarchist Orthodox called for the legalisation of marijuana, which, he explained, would cut our dependency on imported goods.
One needn't be a Middle East expert to recognise the holes in this idea. Even moderate experience of being a pothead, or an Israeli, would suffice. It is true that Nasrallah has his ear tuned to the finest details of Israel's leisure culture. The man made a career based on the idea of Israel being a "spider web society", soaked so deeply in hedonism, decadence and debauchery that it is ripe and ready to crumble at the touch of a broomstick. Indeed, it seems that the hash-boycott sanction stands little chance of success.
Israelis are infamous for being rubbish at alcohol consumption, but what we forgo in booze we more than compensate for with the spliffy side of things. It is almost unthinkable for Israelis to come home after a hard day's work and pour themselves a glass of wine, but among secular Israelis from the ages of 20 to 45, rolling a joint under such circumstances is not generally frowned on. Unlike Britons, Israelis are not keen on cocaine. We have little need or desire to consume a drug that makes us even cockier and more arrogant. It is chilling out a bit, relaxing, calming down, that we crave.
Like anywhere else in the world where marijuana is banned by law, however, Israelis don't purchase their gear in air-conditioned supermarkets. Tel Aviv may be one of the hippest cities around the Mediterranean, and it is open 24 hours, but it is not Amsterdam. One basically smokes what one can get from that friend of a friend who knows a sort of a dealer who knows a real dealer and the supply is dependent on activity in neighbouring countries. So when the Egyptian police raid the fields of northern Sinai and demolish the livelihood of the nomad Bedouins there, there will be a shortage of weed; when the border with Lebanon is tense and heavily patrolled by the police, there will be less hashish.
Such is the uncertainty of supply that the chances of a pothead (or satlan, as they are known in Hebrew) halting pre-inhalation to check the origins of the stash are as ludicrous as the idea that an hour later, when succumbing to a full-on attack of the munchies, he or she would reject a bar of chocolate because its packaging was tested on animals. No way, man.
It seems, at any rate, that if there is a drug-related problem with Israel's recent invasion of Lebanon, it does not have much to do with the hash coming in from Lebanon, but with the fungi seemingly mushrooming around the Cabinet buildings. Because only hallucinogens could have invoked the notion that another "limited" invasion and air blitz on Lebanon could solve Israel's problems with its neighbours.
Special report Israel and the Middle East
World news guide Israel and the Palestinian territoriesMiddle East
Glossary Commonly used terms in the Middle East conflict
Interactive guide How the Israelis and Palestinians came to warIsrael enters Gaza
Israeli Knesset (parliament)
Israeli ministry of foreign affairs
Israeli government site
Office of the Israeli prime minister
Palestinian Ministry of Information