Jon Stewart offered his take on the Israel–Palestine crisis on The Daily Show Monday night, cracking jokes about the conflict’s “asymmetrical nature.”
Though audience members seemed to enjoy the segment, some commentators have since criticized Stewart for what they say is a misleading and unfunny portrayal of the conflict.
Times of Israel editor David Horovitz rips apart the segment in his article entitled, “Jon Stewart — so funny, so wrong on Israel-Gaza.” His piece takes on Stewart “joke by joke,” explaining how Stewart misrepresents the true nature of the crisis.
Stewart opens his segment with a news report that explains how Israeli troops are set to invade Gaza as aerial bombardment continues from both sides. Stewart responds, “Tastes great. More killing.”
Horovitz explains that right from the start, Stewart fails to provide any context for Israel’s possible invasion, such as the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization “avowedly committed to the destruction of Israel.” Stewart also implies that both sides are happy to be back killing each other, which Horovitz notes is “just plain false” as the facts show that Israelis “would much rather live and let live.”
Stewart goes on to joke that though both sides are bombing one another, Israeli “appears to be bomb-better at it.” He notes Israel’s Iron Dome technology and their warning app that notifies them of incoming attacks. Gazans, on the other hand, are notified by small mortar shells that Israel sends to warn of an upcoming airstrike. “An amuse-boom, if you will,” he says.
Horovitz breaks down the numerous problems with this point. “Having falsely implied that Israel is as keen on killing as Hamas is,” he writes, “Stewart now seems to be criticizing Israel for not being as vulnerable as Hamas would like it to be to those Hamas rockets that are sent to kill us.”
Stewart fails to mention, Horowitz explains, that Israeli airstrikes are directed at homes where Hamas terror chiefs live, where rockets are stored, or from where rockets are fired. “This is not the mirror image of Hamas’s arbitrary rocket attacks on any and every Israeli target. ”
Horovitz adds that while Hamas does not generally warn Israel of its incoming attacks, Israel tries to warn civilians with the warning mortal shells. “Would Stewart rather Israel not warn Gazans that, in its efforts to prevent rocket fire on its civilians, it is about to strike back?” he asks.
For his last wisecrack, Stewart compares the NBC correspondents from Tel Aviv and from Gaza, with the former dressed in normal clothing and the latter wearing a heavy protective vest. The side-by-side image “sums up the asymmetrical nature of this conflict,” he says.
Horovitz offers some insight onto this final point.
“Well, yes, NBC’s Tel Aviv correspondent can afford to look more relaxed because, despite Hamas’s best efforts, he’s fairly safe, protected by that Iron Dome system, and the sirens, and the apps, and the reinforced rooms, and the bomb shelters that Israel provides to try to keep its citizenry alive in the vicious Middle East,” he writes. “That doesn’t add up to a hermetic shield, but it’s doing wonders in keeping casualty figures down.”
“And, yes, NBC’s man in Gaza is more at risk,” he continues, “because he’s reporting from an enclave that was seized seven years ago by a ruthless Islamist terrorist organization that, far from building bomb shelters and other defenses for Gazans (which would not be necessary anyway if Hamas wasn’t bent on fighting Israel), has diverted electricity, building materials and all other relevant resources to manufacture rockets.”
Horovitz adds, “An asymmetrical conflict indeed — just not asymmetrical in the way Stewart depicted it.”
Watch The Daily Show video here: