Making rounds over the past few days is an item from the Business section of Israel’s Ynet news site, entitled “Israel fears sushi shortage after quake”. The article begins by noting that, while Japan “has yet to recover from one of the greatest disasters in its history, Israelis fear a shortage in the ingredients of one of their favorite dishes: Sushi”.
In case readers are still unclear as to the identity of the real victims of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear radiation crisis, the second paragraph of the article underscores the frightening dilemma presently facing humanity:
Many of sushi’s basic components come from Japan or are imported through the battered countries. Will Israelis soon suffer from a shortage of the beloved rolls’ necessary ingredients?”
That all is not lost is confirmed by the article’s subheading, however: “Rice shortage not expected”.
Sane observers appear to be confused as to whether the piece was intended for publication in The Onion, where it would certainly thrive thanks in large part to the article’s protagonist Dudi Afriat, sales manager of the Rakuto Kasei company that imports Kikkoman soy sauce and other sushi paraphernalia to Israel.
Among Afriat’s contributions are pronouncements about the role of Kikkoman in Israeli society:
Israeli chefs feel very connected to this product. After the tsunami I received phone calls from hysterical people fearing a shortage of Kikkoman.”
One thing The Onion editors might have done differently is to make Afriat less of a passive observer. His remark that damage to a Kikkoman factory in Japan has caused “delays in the supply” and fueled shortage fears, for example, might have been jazzed up with a suggestion that the Japanese technicians currently working round-the-clock and risking death to defuse the radiation crisis instead divide their time and energy between the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the Kikkoman factory.
Israel’s tendency to cast itself as uniquely entitled to victimhood is nothing new, of course, although it usually occurs at the expense of Arab and Muslim populations rather than Japanese. Given that the Israeli definition of victim extends even to IDF commandos who kill humanitarian activists in international waters, it is safe to assume that—if something even remotely as devastating as what has befallen Japan were to occur in Israel proper—the Israelis would not take kindly to articles in widely-read media outlets about fears of a decrease in production of Bamba snacks or the award-winning kosher pigs-in-a-blanket.