Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Sarah Silverman opens Presidential Conference in Jerusalem
The 2011 Israeli Presidential Conference, partnered with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, opened last night with a plenary titled My Recipe for a Better Tomorrow. And who better to represent her theories about a better tomorrow that American actress and comedian Sarah Silverman?
Following lectures by Duke University professor Dan Ariely, International Business Council executive committee member Sir Martin Sorell, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and even pop star Shakira, who spoke about the importance of education in poverty stricken cities, Silverman offered up a few nuggets of wisdom, as well as some of her trademark biting humour.
Visiting Jerusalem for her first time, Silverman took to the stage of the Jerusalem Convention Centre to talk about religion, her formula for peace in the Middle East, President Barak Obama and gay marriage.
Sitting across from an Israeli news anchor, who did his best to guide Silverman through the interview, he challenged her statement that while her sister is a rabbi who made aliyah to Jerusalem, she considers herself Jewish by birth.
“I don’t really have religion. I’m Jewish in the ways I can’t control. I just feel positive that God would… be OK with a little give.”
Diverting the attention away from herself and looking towards a better tomorrow, Silverman said “Israelis have to decide who we want to be. We have to decide what is important to us, the acreage of where we live or the values of how we live.”
She said that when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “The only real solution is the classic buddy-movie formula. You take two enemies and they are forced to work together on some common goal and in the end they realize they are not that different. They can come together for some common goal. How about Solar Power? How about powering the world with the beautiful sun they share. Or at least fight a common enemy like, I don’t know, monsters from outer space.”
“The sun shines directly on this tiny country and it can be harvested. It’s not owned by anybody. It’s something that the Jews and the Palestinians share and can work together to make the whole world a better place, not just the Middle East.”
She also said that it is going to take an entire generation of parents who will not raise their kids to hate to make a difference.
Switching to the topic of meeting president Obama, for whom Silverman produced a video three years ago called “The Great Schlep” to promote Obama’s campaign for president, she said he was “very tight. I hugged him and he felt like a thoroughbred.”
“I love our president… He inherited a shit storm. Give him a minute!”
When her interview challenged her by saying that Obama has already had two years, she replied, “Yeah, two years is a long time to solve all problems, right Israel!?”
“I believe in my heart that he is a good man, who cares about his country and about the world and I believe in him,” she added.
Switching the focus back to her personal life, she was asked why she’s decided never to marry.
“I just don’t need the government to be involved in my love and I definitely wouldn’t get married now that there is no marriage equality which is embarrassing,” she said.
“I just feel it’s purely conservative tea party rhetoric to support the argument against gay marriage. I don’t want government in my life. I don’t want them telling me what to do in my home. I want freedom, I want liberty. Let people get married.When people say they don’t want gay marriage because they want to protect the sanctity of marriage, why don’t they make divorce illegal, then?”