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36 Responses

  1. Bianca
    Bianca January 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm |

    How hilarious. Because Palestinians are always the ones to attack Israel right? Give me a break. It’s sad that the media plays into the whole Hamas gimmick. But of course, we can’t expect the media big shots to take the side of the ones who are truly the victims in this case.

    Props to Jon Stewart.

  2. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M January 7, 2009 at 10:11 pm |

    Wow, this was really brave of them to take on and they did a great job. The Mobius Strip of perspectives killed me.

  3. Shelby
    Shelby January 7, 2009 at 10:33 pm |

    Dude, when I was watching the show last night I could feel the awkward trepidation of the audience thru my tv. Lukewarm applause, nervous laughter. But John just plowed right on thru with it anyway. It was awesome. A gutsy move, but it made me smile.

  4. Kristin
    Kristin January 7, 2009 at 10:47 pm |

    Good for him. I’m often wary of him too, Holly, but yeah. This is awesome.

  5. Morningstar
    Morningstar January 8, 2009 at 12:05 am |

    yeah you can definitely feel the tension there. kudos for stewart for doing this.

    kind of unrelated (but since this is a feminist blog) 8 jewish women “occupied” the israeli consulate in toronto today:

    http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/563126

    audio from them:

    http://www.radio4all.net:8080/files/newsnet@ckut.ca/1193-1-occupation070109.mp3

  6. Angela
    Angela January 8, 2009 at 12:11 am |

    Gee, of course that makes it all right — that the US would do the same thing? That it would be wrong to disagree with US military policies if the US military and government were carrying out the same kind of policies, just like many Israeli activists do? Come on.

    Great clip and very astute, on-the-mark commentary on his part AND on your part. It’s hard to write about the conflict. I’m glad you did, you did a good job. Bravo.

  7. Banisteriopsis
    Banisteriopsis January 8, 2009 at 3:15 am |

    Anecdotal, back in 2002-2005 when I was listening to Democracy Now daily, every single time (at least four instances where) Gaza attacked Israel, it was in response to Israel perpetrating genocide. But, um… yeah. This situation is totally unlike a country with enough nuclear weapons to annihilate the planet attacking a virtually powerless country (sitting on top of the second biggest known oil reserves) because they felt like it.

  8. arielariel
    arielariel January 8, 2009 at 9:41 am |

    well said. i think it is especially important for anti-genocide jews (at this point, that is what it is) to speak out. you don’t even have to be anti-occupation at this point to take a look at what is going on and understand fundamentally that this is wrong. there is nothing proportional about this response.

    i mean, they’re BOMBING THE UN. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=29472&Cr=Palestin&Cr1=

  9. Tom
    Tom January 8, 2009 at 9:56 am |

    A better analogy would be the 1985 standoff and bombing of MOVE in Philadelphia.

    And didn’t that turn out well.

  10. Jill
    Jill January 8, 2009 at 10:11 am | *

    I’m glad for all the Jews out there who are willing to take a stand and say that what’s happening is wrong, honestly. I think it’s brave.

    Yes. And it’s of course worth repeating that — shocker — Jews aren’t a monolith. Neither are Israelis. Many of my Israeli friends are appalled by this, just as a lot of Americans are appalled by the atrocities carried out in our name. It’s always worth noting that there is a lot of heated debate going on in Israel about this, and in Jewish communities in the United States.

    But there is, at least where I’m at, a strange public silence about what’s going on. There’s sort of an assumption, outside of some far-lefty or closely-held circles, that everyone is behind Israel’s actions — and a fear of being labeled anti-Semitic if you don’t support what Israel is doing. I think anyone who speaks out is pretty brave.

  11. SecondBeach
    SecondBeach January 8, 2009 at 10:19 am |

    Rock on Jon. Rock on.

  12. j
    j January 8, 2009 at 10:20 am |

    major props and kudos for providing the much needed reality check. the propaganda system that supports israel is just as ridiculous as the propaganda when bush was saying saddam had wmds. there is only one side of the story even presented in the u.s. and no one questions it. THANK YOU JON STEWART!! free gaza!

  13. libdevil
    libdevil January 8, 2009 at 10:43 am |

    I’m glad you pointed this out. Because obviously Emperor-for-life Mayor Bloomberg was going for the knee-jerk, emotional reaction of, “Of course I want you to do everything you can!” But if you think about it for a moment, no. You want the guy to stop banging on your door. A couple cops, can handle the situation. Hopefully they’re well enough trained to do so with a minimum of violence. 10,000+ cops with helicopters, armored vehicles, riot gear, automatic weapons, sniper rifles and attack dogs might just be an over reaction.

  14. AshKW
    AshKW January 8, 2009 at 11:19 am |

    It’s always soothing to my inflamed nerves to arrive here and see so many people who feel the same way I do about the Israel-Gaza mess. Most of the time I’m stuck grinding my teeth as the leaders stick fingers in ears, shut eyes and loudly repeat “ISRAEL IS ALWAYS RIGHT” like demented broken records.

  15. Morningstar
    Morningstar January 8, 2009 at 1:14 pm |

    “Yes. And it’s of course worth repeating that — shocker — Jews aren’t a monolith. Neither are Israelis. Many of my Israeli friends are appalled by this, just as a lot of Americans are appalled by the atrocities carried out in our name. It’s always worth noting that there is a lot of heated debate going on in Israel about this, and in Jewish communities in the United States.”

    your overall point about jews not being a monolithic group, is correct, but initially, polls showed that 90% of israelis supported the air assault, 65% supported the ground assault once it started, and right now, only 19% support a cease-fire.

    and with american jews 83% support the attack in gaza:

    http://www.ajc.org/site/c.ijITI2PHKoG/b.4862601/k.7E7E/Poll_Results_Poll_on_Gaza_and_National_Service.htm

    so i think it is hugely significant when prominent jews speak out against what’s going on.

    although, as james zogby notes over at huffpo, there are now new liberal jewish groups who are trying to get their voices heard:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-zogby/american-jewish-reponses_b_154567.html

  16. uccellina
    uccellina January 8, 2009 at 1:14 pm |

    I just blogged about reading my orthodox cousin’s Facebook status update, in which he supports the IDF “and hopes for no cease fire.” I am saddened by the completely disproportionate violence, and ashamed that anyone with whom I share genetic material could support such a vicious campaign.

  17. Jill
    Jill January 8, 2009 at 1:30 pm | *

    Definitely, Morningstar. I wasn’t trying to suggest that it isn’t significant when Jews speak out; it is. A friend of mine who was born and raised in Israel and continues to live there today changed his facebook photo to an image of the Israeli flag combined with the Palestinian flag, and followed it up with a series of “updates” about how terrible the situation is and how the war is a mistake. He’s caught a lot of heat for it, but I found it pretty heartening.

  18. Ruchama
    Ruchama January 8, 2009 at 2:10 pm |

    “Cue Jon Stewart being tarred as a “self-hating Jew” in 3… 2… 1″

    Have you seen this happening anywhere? I haven’t.

    Jewish opinion is much more diverse than the polls that only ask “Do you support Israel’s actions?” would have you believe. There are PLENTY of Jews who have been speaking out against Israel’s actions in Gaza this past week. Look at just about any editorial in Ha’aretz; a few of the opinion pieces in The Forward (though nowhere near as many as I had hoped); many if not most of the popular Jewish blogs (especially http://jewschool.com/, whose founder is also organizing a pro-peace rally in NYC); the J Street lobbying group; the Jewish women in Canada mentioned earlier; and at least a few out of any gathering of young Jews that I’ve been to in the past week. I haven’t seen any of them being called “self-hating” by anyone except a few far-right-wing groups whose comments were roundly mocked.

  19. Ruchama
    Ruchama January 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm |

    I went through many years of Hebrew school and a Zionist summer camp, and neither I nor any of my friends who went to the same programs think that Jews should unconditionally support Israel’s policies. In fact, of the 12 or so kids from my Hebrew school class, two are currently in Israel, one working with a Palestinian rights group and one working with a peace group. (I suspect there are also at least three or four who would have answered “yes” to that poll question “Do you support Israel’s actions?” but would have a more nuanced opinion if you actually talked to them and asked more questions. One poll question tacked onto a survey that’s actually about Obama’s proposed national service plan really tells nothing.)

    I think there’s also a generational split. I think that, to some extent, people who remember 1948 or the early years of Israel remember it as tenuous and fragile, and thus are more likely to take the view of “anything to protect Israel,” while younger people grew up with Israel as established fact and the idea of it ceasing to exist seems much more remote. (Enormous generalization, of course.) I do know some very hawkish young Jews, but they’re very hawkish and right-wing on American politics, too. I know more older Jews who are left-wing on American politics but right-wing on Israeli.

  20. denelian
    denelian January 8, 2009 at 11:10 pm |

    i took a political science class “The Politics of War” – which mostly dealt with the stupid “War on Terror”
    my professor was on the Daily Show (we didn’t have class that day)

    he also said that Jon Stewart was the “best” political journalist in the US. *giggle*
    he MEANT it. which says something about the state of journalism.

  21. Ellen
    Ellen January 9, 2009 at 4:27 am |

    Ruchama & Holly, I think this might be a geographical thing. While Israelis actually have a more open dialogue about it, and they understand that Zionist, Jew, and Israeli are not interchangeable, many people in America don’t. We don’t get the same news on the mainstream media that they do in other countries. But maybe that is changing. At least in the OpEds:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/opinion/08k halidi.html?_r=1&em

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/opinion/08lichfield.html?ref=opinion

  22. Freddy
    Freddy January 9, 2009 at 2:55 pm |

    Ellen, Israelis and Jews are obviously not interchangeable. An Israeli is someone who lives in and/or is a citizen of Israel, more or less. A Jew…well, it’s definitely not limited to that. Nor does an Israeli have to be a Jew. But we all knew that. But about Jew and Zionist not being interchangeable: sure they are not, but you speak of Americans lack of understanding of this fact in a tone that suggests you are talking about not all Russians being Communists. There is nothing wrong with being a Zionist and most Jews and Israelis are. Hell, there are many non-Jewish Zionists. Of course, the term has been defamed and distorted over the decades for some very scary purposes. But what “many people in America don’t” realize is that Zioninst is not a dirty word. To oversimplify, it means you believe Israel has a right exist. Obviously, everyone isn’t a Zionist. But conflating being a Jew, an Israeli, and a Zionist, while not accurate, is not some kind of offensive tragedy.

  23. Ruchama
    Ruchama January 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm |

    I’ve been seeing this sort of stuff a lot lately, someone pointing out a lone “brave” Jew speaking out against Cast Lead. It really has the effect of making it seem like every other Jew is totally for it. Being “brave” would imply that there’s some horrible consequence they’re risking by speaking out — implying that he’ll be demonized by the Jewish community or something — and that really isn’t happening. There’s plenty of debate within the Jewish community, and this sort of post not only ignores that but brings up all the old images of a cabal of powerful Jews exerting their influence over media and expression.

  24. John
    John January 9, 2009 at 3:39 pm |

    I agree that we should stop blind support for Israel PERIOD

  25. arielariel
    arielariel January 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |

    Ruchama:
    I think it is important to note that a lot of people DO experience a lot of strife for being the Jew who is not supporting Israel. I agree that in the Jewish anti-occupation movement this can get a little romanticized — the Strong Brave Jews who are Standing Up Against Their Brethren. I have been guilty of that trope myself now and again, especially at times when I feel ostracized in rooms of other Jews for my beliefs about the occupation. I can’t tell you the number of times I have essentially been called a self-hating Jew, or deluded, or naive, for believing that Palestinians have a right to the country we took from them.

    There is a lot of debate about this among Jews. However, I don’t see this debate being out in the public eye — and maybe it’s don’t make a shonde for the goyim style “we’ll keep our dirty laundry out of the way” but it is assumed in the media that “the Jews are for Israel.” I am sure he is being demonized by the Jewish community — just a little googling brings it up, although I don’t know how crazy-out-there the websites are on which it’s happening. I know that AIPAC sets itself up as the voice for all the Jews, and then calls anyone who is against it anti-Semitic. It IS a cabal of powerful, rich Jews exerting their influence on the media, and yes, that’s a stereotype used against Jews, but I think it is important to call it out as more or less what is happening — ESPECIALLY in the Jewish community.

    Right now, what I am seeing out of a lot of Jewish organizations is something like “We support Israel! We stand for peace and a cease fire! We support Israel!” I think it is INCREDIBLY important for Jon Stewart to have said, essentially, that he DOESN’T support Israel. The need that these organizations have to reiterate their support of Israel while it starts a war in Gaza goes a long way to illustrating the way in which Jews feel that they have to prove that they are pro-Israel at every turn, lest they be censured. If the dialogue were actually open, I don’t think people who really do feel the plight of the Palestinians being bombed would feel a need to affirm that they really do love the people doing the bombing.

    The best Jewish coverage I see is coming from the blogs, especially http://www.jvoices.com and http://www.jewschool.com. Nuanced, including coverage of the Israeli anti-war movement, which is COMPLETELY invisible from much of this conversation.

  26. Ruchama
    Ruchama January 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm |

    I don’t think the blogs and the debate online are as far under the radar as you seem to think. I mean, just a few weeks ago, I sent my aunt (who is almost 60 and a member of the Bostoner Rebbe’s congregation) an email about something, and she responded with a link telling me to go look at what the people at Jewlicious had to say about it. I do tend to socialize in a fairly liberal Jewish circle, but pretty much all the Jews I know say that Ha’aretz is the best Israeli “mainstream” news source.

    As for the “I support Israel” thing, I think that a lot of it is in reaction to the “from the river to the sea” sort of rhetoric. “I support Israel’s right to exist, even though I disagree with what they’re doing right now.”

  27. Sharjeel
    Sharjeel January 10, 2009 at 12:11 am |

    Anti-semitic. Such a beautiful word. Alot of jews like to use this word again and again when a little research unfolds that arabs are equally as semitic as jews. And whats more, most jews in Israel arent even semitic. :)

    800 men, women and children dead, 4000 wounded, 10,000+ displaced and 1.5 million terrorized. They’re not my people, i’ve never been to the Holy Land. But its not hard to feel their pain, just takes a bit of imagination and a constant newsfeed of Al Jazeera (theyre the only ones with correspondents INSIDE gaza). I feel for the 3 israeli civilians and 8 soldiers dead too. They too meant the world to someone. You kill one person and you’ve killed mankind says my religion.

    I’d be spitting on my own face if i said the glass is half full, but i’d atleast say the glass has a few drops left in it. I am beginning to see in many jews, muslims, christians, whites, blacks, yellows.. an uprising of the voice of reason.

    wa alaikum salaam

  28. Rachel
    Rachel January 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm |

    Uh, Ruchama, that’s nice for you and all, but after being threatened with physical violence by a male Jewish classmate of mine (because I – Jewish! – helped bring Dianna Buttu to our law school to give a talk about the Israel-Palestine conflict); after being called self-hating by other Jewish classmates for the same acts; after being literally shunned by my school’s Jewish Law Students Association; after sitting through numerous Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah sermons at different shuls about how it was our (collective, congregational) duty to support Israel no matter what and how A Good Jew supports the ADL … well, I am just going to go ahead and say Stewart was effing brave to give this monologue. If you think there isn’t community pressure to be a Zionist Jew, and attendant community shame when you don’t toe the party line, then you have had a blessedly easy time of it throughout these intifadas.

    Maybe because I didn’t actually go to Jewish day school or Zionist camp, and thus didn’t grown in my religion through or with a sense of nationalism, but it was a real shock to me to find out that I was a race-traitor for not wholeheartedly and unabashedly supporting every action taken by Israel.

  29. Howie
    Howie January 11, 2009 at 2:29 am |

    Stewart: “… it’s not like Hamas lobbing missiles is an unusual and new occurrence. Why does Israel feel they have to react so strongly right now?” Click here to find out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5b1aeMky90

  30. War! What is it Good For? « I’ll Follow the Sun

    […] also recommend giving this post at feministe a look – it contains some good writing, and a clip from the Daily Show that really shows some of […]

  31. Rebecca
    Rebecca January 12, 2009 at 12:26 am |

    @Sharjeel:
    You kill one person and you’ve killed mankind says my religion.
    Mine too. Sometimes it leaves you wondering whether people don’t know that, or if they just think that someone of another religion doesn’t count as a “person.”

    @Rachel:
    Uh, Ruchama, that’s nice for you and all, but after being threatened with physical violence by a male Jewish classmate of mine (because I – Jewish! – helped bring Dianna Buttu to our law school to give a talk about the Israel-Palestine conflict); after being called self-hating by other Jewish classmates for the same acts; after being literally shunned by my school’s Jewish Law Students Association; after sitting through numerous Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah sermons at different shuls about how it was our (collective, congregational) duty to support Israel no matter what and how A Good Jew supports the ADL … well, I am just going to go ahead and say Stewart was effing brave to give this monologue. If you think there isn’t community pressure to be a Zionist Jew, and attendant community shame when you don’t toe the party line, then you have had a blessedly easy time of it throughout these intifadas.
    Word. My mother’s about to disown me (not literally) because I support peace in Gaza.

  32. Kristin
    Kristin January 14, 2009 at 8:36 am |

    Stewart was pretty awesome last night too, I gotta say–this time about Bush’s last press conference.

  33. Shelikesitloud
    Shelikesitloud January 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm |

    Stewart got some guff on The Daily Show’s forum boards, but just as many pissy comments were refuted by many thanks and accolades.

    It’s unfortunate that some folks take that “You’re either with us or against us” policy when it comes to Israel. It doesn’t work and Stewart is brave for flying in the face of such faulty logic yet again.

    My Middle East solution is goofy and implausible, but at least mildly entertaining: My Middle Beast Solution

    Israel’s govt. is not all Jews, just like Hamas is not all Palestinians, and just like GW Bush is not even 1/4 of Americans.

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