Jon Stewart Wrong on Israel-Gaza ‘I think they take the very funny Mr. Stewart very seriously. Which, in this case, is a bit of a problem.’Posted: July 17, 2014
It’s an asymmetrical war, all right. But America’s satirical news host has got it the wrong way around
Yeah, it misrepresents what’s going on here. But hey, it is funny, and all those millions of Americans who watched it on Monday know that it’s just satire, don’t they?
Except I fear that they do not. I think they take the very funny Mr. Stewart very seriously. Which, in this case, is a bit of a problem.
Why? Let’s take it joke by joke.
Our super-smart, engagingly frustrated host starts up despairing over a news report of the intensifying conflict which says Israeli troops are poised to invade Gaza, and which ends with the words “as the aerial bombardment from both sides continues.”
Stewart: “Tastes great. More killing.”
See, right off the bat, I’m unhappy. Because, first up, he’s begun with talk of Israel being set to invade Gaza, but without any cited reason — such as, say, Hamas being a terrorist organization with a notorious track record of suicide bombings, individual killings, kidnappings, and incessant rocket fire. And, second, because the implication here is that the combatants — Israel and Hamas — are both happy to be back killing again, and that’s just plain false. Hamas is avowedly committed to the destruction of Israel and holds to a perverted interpretation of Islam that claims killing Jews, Christians and non-believing Muslims is your guaranteed path to paradise if you also die in the process. Israelis, by contrast, would much rather live and let live. (We left Gaza unilaterally in 2005, under international pressure, hoping that the security risk would be worth it, and that we’d be rewarded with tranquility rather than rocket fire, but I wouldn’t expect Stewart to go back that far.)
Stewart: “Both sides are engaging in aerial bombardment, but one side appears to be bomb-better-at it. (Studio laughter at the wordplay.) Most Hamas rockets are neutralized by Israel’s Iron Dome technology, and Israeli citizens can even now download a warning app. (Cut to clip of Israel’s US ambassador Ron Dermer explaining how Israelis can know where and when they’re being attacked.) So Israelis seem to have a high-tech, smart-phone alert system.”
Let me see if I understand the point he’s making here: Having falsely implied that Israel is as keen on killing as Hamas is, 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. He seems to be bashing us for having those tech smarts. It’s a bad thing that we developed a unique, astonishing Iron Dome missile defense system, without which hundreds of us would be dead? It’s a bad thing that we developed an app to warn us that the rockets designed to kill our citizens are heading this way?
Stewart: “How are the Gazans notified? (Cut to a clip explaining that Israel carries out “a small mortar explosion” on the roof of a building that is to be bombed “which serves as an Israeli warning of an upcoming airstrike.” Back to Stewart.) “Hmmm. So the Israeli military warns Gaza residents of imminent bombing (pause for comedic effect), with a smaller warning bombing! (Laughter). An amuse-boom, if you will.” (Studio laughter, clapping, cheering.)
What’s my problem with that bit (once I’ve registered the witty play on amuse-bouche). Oh, where to start? Stewart fails to explain which buildings in Gaza are being targeted: This is not the mirror image of Hamas’s arbitrary rocket attacks on any and every Israeli target. These are Israeli airstrikes on Gaza homes where Israel says terror chiefs live, where weaponry is stored, from where rockets are fired…(read more)
David Horovitz is the founding editor of The Times of Israel. He previously edited The Jerusalem Post (2004-2011) and The Jerusalem Report (1998-2004). He is the author of “Still Life with Bombers” (2004) and “A Little Too Close to God” (2000), and co-author of “Shalom Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin“ (1996)
- Elsewhere: Hamas leaders skinny-dipping?, Jon Stewart wrong on Gaza, Brussels shooter’s story (jta.org)
- 20 Rockets Found in UN Gaza School (abc11.com)
- Three rockets from Gaza hit Israel (en.trend.az)
- Gaza Ceasefire Ends as Cairo Talks Simmer (6abc.com)
- ‘Smartest thinkers, my ass’! Vox: ‘Israel doesn’t have to bomb’ schools hiding weapons, terrorists (twitchy.com)
- Terrorists Fire Rockets Into Israel, Endangering 40 Percent Of Population (dailycaller.com)
- Israel widens Gaza offensive, readies ground troops (hotair.com)
- WAR GETS REAL: Israel Issues Evac Warning (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- The lopsided casualty rate in Gaza proves nothing about responsibility for the conflict (legalinsurrection.com)
- ‘Oopsie’: Hamas rocket hits Israeli electrical infrastructure, blacks out Gaza (twitchy.com)