I swear to you I couldn't make up this shit if I tried. And if you think this story is "nutty," you'd be right.
Apparently, the new U.S. Ambassador to Israel has gotten all worked up over the fact that Israel is violating its own laws against trading with the Iranian enemy by eating Iranian pistachios. I kid you not:
Ten days ago, US Ambassador to Israel Richard H. Jones wrote a severe letter to Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On [...] accus[ing] Israel of secretly trading with Iran and transferring foreign currency to the country, in direct violation of an Israeli law prohibiting trade with enemy states.
The fuss is over something Iran is famous for, though perhaps less than its nuclear ambitions; namely pistachio nuts. The American government accused Israel of buying Iranian pistachios under the guise of trade with Turkey.
What's more -- according to Israel's leading columnist, Nahum Barnea, every nut his fellow countrymen eat brings Iran that much close to the A-bomb. I can't tell whether the following statement is meant ironically or seriously though I sure as hell hope the former:
Every pistachio nut brings Iran another step closer to achieving nuclear capability.
It turns out Jones is exploiting the current Iranian nuclear crisis on behalf of U.S. pistachio growers who want a bigger piece of Israel's $20 million trade in pistachios (the largest per capita consumption level in the world no less!).
What I find especially interesting about this is that Israel doesn't let its taste buds interfere with its ideological aversion to Iran. If the imprecations of Olmert, Netanyahu and Mofaz about the Iranian menace are to be believed, you'd think Israel would patriotically give up its taste for Iranian nuts. Thankfully, commerce wins out over ideology. If only Israeli and U.S. policy toward Iran were as pragmatic. A confession: I love pistachios and side completely with Israeli nut-eaters on this one.
Sol Salbe, who brought this story my way, thinks the U.S. ambassador is in dead earnest in invoking the Iranian nuclear threat regarding this issue. If so, he (Jones, not Salbe) is nuts. Sorry for the puns. I couldn't help myself.