Last week, National Security Adviser James Jones made a joke during a speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that was conspicuously absent from the version of the remarks distributed to the media.

Here's how it went:

"In order to set the stage for my remarks I'd just like to tell you a story that I think is true. It happened recently in southern Afghanistan. A member of the Taliban was separated from his fighting party and wandered around for a few days in the desert, lost, out of food, no water. And he looked on the horizon and he saw what looked like a little shack and he walked towards that shack. And as he got to it, it turned out it was a little store own by a Jewish merchant. And the Taliban warrior went up to him and said, 'I need water, give me some water.' And the merchant said, 'I'm sorry, I don't have any water but would you like a tie. We have a nice sale of ties today.'"

"Whereupon the Taliban erupted into a stream of language that I can't repeat, about Israel, about Jewish people, about the man himself, about his family, and just said, 'I need water, you try to sell me ties, you people don't get it.' The merchant stood there until the Taliban was through with his diatribe and said, 'Well I'm sorry I don't have water for you and I forgive you for all of the insults you've levied against me, my family, my country. But I will help you out. If you go over that hill and walk about two miles there is a restaurant there and they will have all the water you need.' And the Taliban, instead of saying thanks, still muttering under his breath, disappears over the hill, only to come back an hour later, and walking up to the merchant says, 'Your brother tells me a I need a tie to get into the restaurant.'"

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, has complained that the joke was "inappropriate."

"It's stereotypic," he said. "Some people believe they need to start a speech with a joke; this was about the worst kind of joke the head of the National Security Council could have told."
Now Jones has apologized in a statement.
COMMENT: That's a brilliant joke and makes the Taliban bloke look a complete wimp. If I was Jewish I would love to have such a joke told about my people as it makes them appear really clever and brave. Of course, Mr Foxman may be pointing out that the joke is Talibanist and that would be a fair cop. But sod that, they shouldn't be so murderous, misogynist and boring.



  1. It is a brilliant joke but inappropriate in that setting and by that person.

    It’s sort of like this: Chris Rock can tell a joke with the ‘n’ word and it’s hysterical. If a Caucasian person told the same joke – word for word – at an NAACP dinner – it would be inappropriate.

  2. I used that joke in our parish magazine a couple of months ago. No complaints and some appreciation. Maybe that’s because I take the proverbial out of myself as well ….. because if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re one sad little excuse for a member of the human race.