John and Joe Travel the Middle East


Good times! John McCain and Joe Lieberman are on a road trip through the Middle East and are continuing their pattern of gaffes. This one is not as serious as the Sunni/Shia mix up, but it is awfully amusing.

In Israel yesterday, NBC’s Lauren Appelbaum reports, Lieberman once again intervened when McCain made an incorrect reference about the Jewish holiday Purim — by calling the holiday “their version of Halloween here.”

McCain made the incorrect statement during a press conference with Defense Minister Ehud Barak after touring the Israeli city of Sderot to view building damaged by Hamas rocket fire. McCain was discussing the numerous rock attacks on the city. “Nine hundred rocket attacks in less than three months, an average of one every one to two hours. Obviously this puts an enormous and hard to understand strain on the people here, especially the children. As they celebrate their version of Halloween here, they are somewhere close to a 15-second warning, which is the amount of time they have from the time the rocket is launched to get to safety. That’s not a way for people to live obviously.”

Purim is not the equivalent of an Israeli Halloween, Appelbaum notes. The holiday — although a joyous one — commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from mass execution. When Sen. Lieberman had a chance to speak at the press conference, he placed the blame of the mistake on himself. “I had a brief exchange with one of the mothers whose children was in there in a costume for Purim,” Lieberman, who is Jewish and celebrates the holiday, said. “And it’s my fault that I said to Senator McCain that this is the Israeli version of Halloween. It is in the sense because the kids dress up and it’s a very happy holiday and actually it is in the sense that the sweets are very important of both holidays.”

I hope someone makes a movie out of these two. The very underrated mid-90s goofball comedy My Fellow Americans could be the inspiration. Except instead of the hilarious misadventures of two old, curmudgeony ex-presidents, it would be two old, curmudgeony wanna-be presidents.

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