Shut Up, I'm Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government--A Memoir by Gregory LeveyShut Up, I'm Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government--A Memoir by Gregory Levey

Shut Up, I'm Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government--A Memoir

byGregory Levey

Paperback | August 3, 2010

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When twenty-five-year-old law student Gregory Levey applied for an internship at the Israeli Consulate, he got more than he’d bargained for. The speechwriter for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations quit, and Levey was asked to fill the vacancy. The situation got even stranger when he was transferred to Jerusalem to write speeches for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Shut Up, I’m Talking is the startling account of Levey’s journey into the nerve center of Middle Eastern politics. During his three years in the Israeli government, Levey was repeatedly thrust into highly improbable situations.

With sharp insight and great appreciation for the absurd, Levey offers the first-ever look inside Israeli politics from the perspective of a complete outsider, ultimately concluding that the Israeli Government is no place for a nice Jewish boy.
Title:Shut Up, I'm Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government--A MemoirFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.75 × 5.69 × 0.8 inPublished:August 3, 2010Publisher:Free PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1416556168

ISBN - 13:9781416556169


Read from the Book

Foreword I was twenty-five years old and not even an Israeli citizen, but as a result of a bizarre series of events, I was sitting alone at the State of Israel's seat at the United Nations General Assembly, minutes before a vote on a U.N. resolution. Worse still: I had no idea how Israel wanted to vote, and very little concept of what the vote was even about. How on earth had I ended up in this situation? I looked at the Irish representative on my left and the Italian one on my right. Each of them was much older than me and had several assistants sitting with him. More importantly, they both clearly knew how their governments wanted them to vote. At very least, unlike me, they were citizens of the countries that they were representing. For something like the tenth time, I called the office of the Israeli ambassador on my cell phone and asked to speak to someone who could give me instructions, but the terrible phone reception at the United Nations meant that I got cut off before I could get any help. Again. I looked across the room at the diplomat representing the United States and thought that maybe I should just vote however he did, since Israel often followed the lead of its closest ally. Then I looked at the door leading out of the large hall, and thought that maybe a wiser option would be to run and not look back. I thought of that famous story from the middle of the Cold War when Nikita Khrushchev took off his shoe and angrily banged it on the table at the United Nations. I considered doing the same, for no reason other than delaying the vote. I could see that the voting was about to begin, and I quickly tried my cell phone again. This time, miraculously, I got through to someone with authority at the Israeli Mission. "They're going to vote," I whispered urgently, trying to keep my voice down so that the Irish and Italian representatives wouldn't recognize the fact that I was an idiot. "Who is this?" the voice on the other end of the phone said. At this point, I came perilously close to throwing my cell phone across the room. Or maybe, I thought, I should slam my phone down on the table instead of my shoe. "It's Greg," I answered. "I'm at the General Assembly, and there's going to be a vote." "A vote? A vote on what?" "On resolution number" -- and I told him the specific resolution at hand. "What is that?" he asked. "I don't really know," I answered. "I was hoping that maybe someone there had some idea of what it was, and could tell me how I should vote." "I'll look into it, and call you back," he said, and immediately hung up. The chairman presiding over the meeting called it to order, and began the prevoting procedure. I waited anxiously for the cell phone gripped tightly in my right hand to ring, the fingers of my left hand hovering uncertainly over the voting buttons before me. Copyright © 2008 by Gregory Levey

Table of Contents


Author's Note

1 There Must Be Something Wrong with You

2 The Only One Who Turns Me On

3 Damn! There's a Fish in My Pants!

4 Hamas, the PLO, and My Love Life

5 No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

6 Note to Self: Don't Knock Over U.S. Senators

7 My Name Is Joey Shmeltz

8 The Foreign Minister Has No Clothes

9 Weekend at Arafat's

10 Ariel Sharon Was a Hard Man to Turn Down

11 Is Plein Even a Word?

12 Dancing Queen

13 And Still Nothing

14 A Prime Minister's Office Without a Prime Minister

15 Pretty Woman and the Prime Minister of Israel

16 One Last Job


Editorial Reviews

"This brilliant and blindingly funny book is like a nonfictional season of The West Wing set in the Knesset. If you ever wanted an insider tale about why the Middle East is such a complicated, heartrending, and yet unbelievably compelling saga then look no further. Gregory Levey has captured the soul of this conflict with charm, grace, and diplomatic wit." -- Matthew Polly, author of American Shaolin