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Amer Zahr

  • Arab-American comedians turn hardships into gags at West Bank festival

    Thousands of Palestinians flock to Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jerusalem for the 1001 Laughs comedy festival where serious topics such as identity, stereotypes and the difficulty of air travel turned into comedy gold. On Friday afternoon Mo Amer stood under two looming globe-shaped light fixtures pouring heat over a makeshift stage at a Bethlehem hotel. The white-sleeved chairs in the modest ballroom were all taken and people stood in the back. Air from mobile units reached no one. With a few comic complaints and melodramatic forehead wiping, Mo plowed on, leaning in to say: “we Arabs, we don’t need doctors. We…

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  • A letter to Israel from a sympathetic Palestinian

    As Israel faces international isolation and an uncertain future, one Palestinian offers some empathy: 'I know how you feel.' By Amer Zahr Israel, I know how you feel. It’s been a tough year. And it’s only just started. Your world seems like it’s crumbling around you. Everything you knew is no longer true. The comfortable circumstances to which you have become accustomed are rapidly changing around you.  And worse yet, it seems you can do nothing about it. I know how you feel. Your so-called “friends” are turning on you. They said they would all always stand by you, no…

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  • Netanyahu at the UN: Enter the twilight zone

    To Israel's prime minister, 1.2 million of his own country's citizens do not exist. If that's not living in an alternate reality, then what is? By Amer Zahr It’s hard to describe what it felt like listening to Benjamin Netanyahu speak Tuesday at the United Nations. Many phrases came to mind: “alternative reality,” “parallel universe,” “clinical denial," and the list goes on. Then I remembered one of my favorite TV shows I used to watch as a kid: You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a…

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