After two viral videos in which she transformed Miley Cyrus hits into anti-land-for-peace messages, Orit Arfa is reveling in the attention.
Never mind that commenters of all stripes have been unkind and savaged her right-wing views. A blogger for Heeb, who uses a profane Hebrew alias, called the first video “stupefyingly awful,” while a pro-Muslim site blared “Islamophobic Zionist Settler Makes Twerk Video Celebrating Occupation.”
(Fact check: She twerks in neither video, but does pole dance and lick things.)
Haaretz said she should be admired, a description Arfa seems to enjoy, even if it’s for making Miley seem subtle.
Last month’s video “Jews Can’t Stop,”(below) a riff on Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” features the Los Angeles-born Arfa strutting around the West Bank proclaiming (to John Kerry perhaps), “It’s our land, we can build where we want.”
As of Friday, the video had been viewed more than 185,000 times on YouTube. Arfa followed it up earlier this month with “Gaza Wrecking Ball,” an ode to the destroyed Jewish communities of Gush Katif.
“Wrecking Ball” (below) had been viewed more than 100,000 times as of Monday. Like the former Disney star, the ex-yeshiva girl swings on a wrecking ball and licks the chain. In the Gaza version, she wears a keffiya (and little else.)
Explaining the imagery on Facebook, Arfa said, “It’s to demonstrate Palestinian society’s sexual relationship with destruction. It’s like they get an orgasm every time they launch a projectile.”
Among the (printable) comments found on YouTube Monday were “WTF?” and advice on how to report the video as “Hateful or abusive content.”
“Please, for the love of God, Never post anything EVER again,” begged SonicFl00d. But Gila Aaronson answers: “Yes shes [sic] provokative [sic] But she speaks truth.”
Arfa, who says her age is “privileged information” (she graduated from high school in 1995), was a reporter for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and later director of the Zionist Organization of America’s West Coast office. She now works in public relations.
The daughter of an Iraqi Jewish mother and a father born in a postwar DP camp in Germany, Arfa attended Jewish days schools in L.A., then embarked on a higher education tour that included seminary in Israel, Columbia University and Stern College here, back to Israel at Bar Ilan University and eventually to the University of Judaism in LA. She calls her higher education “a tailored educational journey.”
As a journalist with an Israeli publication, Arfa witnessed firsthand the Ariel Sharon-ordered expulsion of Gaza settlers in 2005; she found herself being pulled out of the doomed synagogue of Neve Dekalim. The images of Jews carried from their homes by Jewish soldiers stuck with her.
Years later, she was inspired by the playfully defiant message of “We Can’t Stop” (which is about reckless partying) and decided to give voice to her feelings about the settlements and peace process.
She said she isn’t fazed by the haters.
“My skin is very thick,” she tells The Jewish Week in an interview from her home in Ariel, which is on the Israeli side of the West Bank security barrier. Among those posts she read were “Rock on Girl” and “Jew bitch with fat nose.”
Insisting she’s out to start a discussion about the implications of Palestinian statehood, Arfa admits she’s also self-promoting her e-novel, “The Settler.” Both videos contain plugs for the Kindle eBook, (also available in print) which is about a displaced Gush Katif settler who finds solace in the hedonism of Tel Aviv nightlife. The videos have put her name and face in some major Israeli publications and on TV news shows.
“I’m not a selfless warrior,” she says, “but I’d like to think that I make issues that are kind of taboo to discuss more accessible.”
That’s what pop culture is all about, she adds.
In case you’re wondering, a third video is in the works. But Afra won’t be the star and it’s more family friendly, a father and son singing in a bomb shelter. “Hanah Montana would be proud,” says Arfa.