The prime-time television comedy Arab Labor, created by Israeli-Palestinian writer Sayed Kashua, allows viewers to reconceptualize Israeli collective memory, rendering it more inclusive for non-Jewish citizens of the state. A close visual and textual analysis of one particularly bold episode, titled “Memorial Day” (Zikaron), reveals that the episode aims to bridge an existing gap between two formative narratives: the celebratory Jewish War of Independence and the Nakba, the Palestinian disaster of 1948. This daring cultural suggestion, indeed an antidiscourse, identifies productive intersections between these competing narratives. Moreover, by employing humor, irony, and the genre of the sitcom, the creators of the series mask a volatile criticism of prevailing social conventions and norms in contemporary Israeli society. The creative resolutions to the various crises the storyline raises—resolutions that on many occasions transgress social boundaries—create a meaningful space for identity negotiation and cultural intervention in the Israeli sociopolitical arena.


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pp. 107-126
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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