Deconstructing Jon Stewart's attack on #NetanyahuSpeech05 Mar 2015
If any of you tuned in to the Daily Show last night, I’m sure you weren’t surprised by the singular focus on Netanyahu and the incredibly childish way in which Jon Stewart deals with his speech.
We at the Judean People’s Front - ever the optimists - were still shocked by the deranged views given by Acheinu Jon. We don’t countenance Splitters, so we’ve decided to take the episode apart point by point.
The way Stewart opens the show leaves no room for any doubt about what he is going to be discussing:
Shalom, my friends welcome to a very special night. Benyamin (sic) Netanyahu addressed Congress today in observance of the Jewish holiday of Suuk-on-it Mr. President. It was a Festival of Slights.
“Why didn’t Boehner consult with the White House?” Stewart asks incredulously, before spending over half a minute merely mocking the speaker instead of discussing whether or not there was actually a snub. Is Congress a co-equal branch of government with the Executive that has every right to invite a foreign leader to address it? It is, but not according to Jon Stewart.
He clearly knows better than the both the US and Israeli governments, even if he can’t even pronounce Bibi’s first name properly. We’re sure he is making his childhood Hebrew teacher proud.
Benjamin Netanyahu was on hand to explain to OUR Congress why OUR President should not be negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.
Each time, Stewart accentuates the word “our” to show that this is our government and Israel has no right sticking its nose in our business. Of course the fact that it was OUR government that invited him in the first place is irrelevant because it was the Legislature doing the inviting instead of the Executive. But for liberals like Stewart, there aren’t three branches of the US government, only President Obama.
Then of course is the obligatory allusion to electioneering, because clearly the only reason Bibi would be speaking to Congress would be to boost his poll numbers and not because he genuinely believes in his message. Of course Stewart doesn’t mention that Netanyahu invited opposition leader Issac Herzog to join him in addressing Congress and was refused. He doesn’t mention that Kirk-Menendez is coming up for a vote soon and Netanyahu wouldn’t be able to go address Congress while trying to cobble together a new coalition, a process that can take weeks if not months. Stewart doesn’t mention any of this because his grasp of the situation is limited to only what Obama tells him he should be agreeing with.
Stewart then sets up the tape of Bibi explaining why he is going to Congress:
I feel I am representing all the citizens of Israel, even those who do not agree with me. A representative of the entire Jewish people. I feel a deep and sincere concern for the safety of all the citizens of Israel and the fate of our state and the fate of our people.
Stewart then gesticulates and shouts: “I speak for all Jews!… including the ones who don’t want me to… because those Jews are wrong,” before talking about the long Jewish tradition of arguing amongst ourselves as proof that Bibi does not in fact speak for all Jews.
A far more effective way to show that Bibi doesn’t speak for all Jews would be to play a video for the audience where Netanyahu says he is only “a” representative of the Jewish people, but not “the” representative of the Jewish people… What’s that? He did? I already quoted it but Stewart ignored the substance in favor of getting a laugh while misleading his audience? I can’t believe it!
But of course Jon Stewart isn’t the first leftist Jew to manipulate Bibi’s words to make it seem as though he is arrogantly acting as the voice of all Jews. Just two days ago Senator Dianne Feinstein made the same accusation, referencing Bibi’s insistence of going to Paris after Jews were murdered in a kosher supermarket. But then also, he was careful to say he was “a” representative, not “the” or “the only” representative of the Jewish people.
Feinstein and Stewart know they can’t say Bibi doesn’t represent some Jews, so instead they lie and claim he said he represents them all.
Stewart them makes some jokes about CNN hosting a debate between the anti-Israel leader of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, and serial self-promoter, but outspoken defender of Israel Shmuley Boteach, asking, “When did CNN start hosting my family’s seders?” And mocks CNN for using a Jewish Star as their new star-wipe
He asks if they couldn’t get a Batman-style spinning yarmulke and jokes about CNN being shown in airports in this way:
Now that he has the audience even more on his side with low-hanging jokes, Stewart continues:
How will the Obama administration handle this unprecedented eye-poke?
He then cuts to video of Obama talking up his pro-Israel credentials. One would think it would also be helpful here to mention that instead of poking Obama’s eye, Netanyahu was even more effusive in his praise of the President during his speech to Congress.
But that isn’t the only thing Stewart intentionally leaves out. There is no discussion of the fact that Obama had National Security Adviser Susan Rice say Netanyahu’s speech was “destructive of the fabric of the [US-Israel] relationship.” Such threatening language was clearly chosen to warn Israel that the relationship is not as “unbreakable” as President Obama often claims. Of course even the most casual news reader knows that in the run-up to the speech, there was unprecedented anger from Obama towards Israel, but this uncontested fact doesn’t fit Stewart’s message so he just leaves it out.
Stewart is known to use his Jewish background for jokes and even feigning anti-Semitism at times to get laughs. But his next statement, I think, went further than he has ever gone:
That’s how powerful Israel is. Their prime minister comes here, publicly slaps Obama in the face and the President’s response is “wha-nah, it’s ok, in fact you should know I’m buying him gloves so when he hits me it doesn’t hurt his hand as much.”
Talking about a secret power that Israel has over the US government, at a time when there is a visual to back up the old anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is irresponsible to say the least. Are you telling me Stewart couldn’t come up with a joke without resorting to something like this? He should know better.
Stewart then attempts to “strike a balance” by joking about Joe Biden. Of course, they’re all softball jokes devoid of substance, but it lets him claim to treat both sides equally.
Next its time to cue the video of Obama asking what would have happened if Democrats had invited the French President to address Congress in the run up to the Iraq War. This is of course followed by the obligatory jokes about Freedom Fries.
What Obama and Stewart fail to mention is that despite the personal dislike (some have called it enmity) the two leaders had for one another, President Bush never let it get personal or stand in the way of diplomacy. As Elliott Abrams recently recounted Bush recognized the Franco-US relationship was more important than either of them and set up monthly meetings where both countries’ National Security Advisors met in Washington. This allowed Bush and Chirac to maintain professional and diplomatic relations with one another while maintaining the distance needed to make it workable and crisis-free. Abrams noted, “It was a serious time commitment for the American and French officials, but that is because we were determined to quarantine bad personal chemistry and prevent it from infecting the entire relationship—a goal set by President Bush himself.”
It is clear from this insider’s take that had the Democrats taken the step to invite President Chirac to address Congress under Bush, there would have been no flare up or personal mud-slinging, because President Bush refused to act in such a petty manner, even with leaders he couldn’t stand. It is also worth remembering that back in 2013 when Obama refused Netanyahu’s request to address the Knesset (unlike President Bush and Clinton), Bibi didn’t say a word, still met with Obama, and didn’t create a crisis over it. He acted like a statesman and swallowed the snub for the greater good.
But this is all above Stewart’s shallow understanding of international politics so instead he makes outlandish claims that Republicans would have demanded Democrats inviting Chirac “be arrested for sedition and treason.” The idea that someone with such a large and impressionable audience can make such blatantly ridiculous accusations and only be called on it by the Judean People’s Front is shocking.
At this point we were ready to turn off the episode but we powered through because we were still waiting for Stewart to, you know, actually discuss the speech itself (we’re almost 7 minutes into a 20 minute show where only the first 10 minutes are about the speech and still nothing). So finally Stewart says, “After all that build up I was pretty excited for the speech itself.”
But before he can actually talk about the speech, he has to make the obligatory jokes about the standing ovations and applause Bibi received. How dare people act like they actually want to hear what he has to say or show their support for America’s greatest ally in the Middle East?
Stewart, in his Old Jewish man voice says, “It was a miracle, a standing ovation that was supposed to last for just one minute, miraculously lasted eight.” Sure it’s kind of funny, but for someone insisting on using their Jewishness for both humor and a guard against accusations of anti-Semitism, it might be nice if he knew that tonight is Purim not Chanukah…
Finally we get to hear some of the speech itself, but of course only a few, select lines that Stewart can subsequently manipulate:
It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb… Iran’s break-out time would be very short – about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.
And it’s time for a circumcision joke because Israel cut a little off at the tip of the assessment. Classy as always Jon. He then follows up with:
Holy sh*t, one year. Bibi, if Iran is that close, why didn’t you bring your urgent warning about Iran going nuclear sooner? Oh wait you did? (with a look of utter delight on his face) Apparently time was also running out 19 years ago.
Cut to Bibi’s address to Congress in 1996:
If this regime… were to acquire nuclear weapons this would presage catastrophic consequences. Only the United States can lead this vital international effort to stop the nuclearization of terrorist states. Time is running out, we have to act.
Stewart proceeds to joke about Bibi not aging because he doesn’t understand the difference between the two warnings and what a breakout period really is. Back in 1996, Netanyahu was warning about a possibility. Iran’s nuclear program was still in its infancy, with only minor facilities and lacking in major technical know-how. Had we heeded his warnings and worked towards a nuclear-free deal with Iran then, before its leaders had openly declared they would accept nothing short of being a nuclear power, we probably wouldn’t be in this mess today. Moreover, the one year break-out period Bibi talks about is the same one Obama says is acceptable. The current deal under discussion assumes that because of the oversight involved, if Iran violates the agreement, they’ll need a year before they can create a nuclear bomb. This isn’t crying wolf, that is the assessment of the US intelligence services. But Stewart either doesn’t understand the difference between the two scenarios or he is willfully creating a false equivalence to mislead his viewers. Either way, he has no credibility on this issue.
Is Stewart done manipulating old tapes of Netanyahu for his own purposes? Of course not, so now we get the second of only two video clips from the speech that ostensibly is the centerpiece of this episode:
In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, and Sana’a.
To which Stewart remarks:
We have to act, just look how Iran has expanded its power since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the destabilization in the region. I mean, what kind of idiot wouldn’t have seen that coming in 2002… oh shalom:
Bibi on Sept 12, 2002: >If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you, that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region. The reverberations of what happens with the collapse of Saddam’s regime could very well create an implosion in a neighboring regime like Iran.
“Or the opposite” Stewart retorts as he happily jumps at his own setup.
So caught up in playing “gotcha” Stewart fails to recognize that it wasn’t removing Saddam that led to the instability in Iraq today, but rather the premature abandonment pushed through by President Obama, who insisted on pulling out all American troops from Iraq after the Surge (which Obama opposed) had finally brought stability, which he eventually admitted “succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.” It would also behoove Stewart to remember that the 2009 attempted Green Revolution in Iran and Arab Spring followed the fall of Saddam just as Netanyahu said they would. However it never occurred to Bibi that America would have a President who would abandon those striving for freedom, throw our allies to the wolves, and squander every opportunity for positive change in the Middle East. Netanyahu was absolutely correct in his discussion of “positive reverberations” he just couldn’t foresee an Obama presidency that would ruin it all.
Stewart then bemoans that “in the House Chamber, there was no such reflecting [on Bibi’s past record of “false predictions”].” It never occurs to him that this may be because they know the history much better than he does. But who needs history when Stewart can make more jokes about applause before his final mic-drop:
Whether or not Netanyahu accomplished his goal of sabotaging a deal with Iran or mistakenly opened up a rift in US-Israeli relations, one thing is certain, the in-chamber response to this speech was by far the longest blow job a Jewish man has ever received.
You sure know how to make your mother schep Jon.
Of course Netanyahu’s goal never was “sabatoging a deal with Iran” but preventing the signing of a bad deal with Iran that would allow it to continue to develop nuclear weapons. With the ten-year sunset clause, Iran doesn’t even have to violate the deal in order to get nukes, all it has to do is wait out the clock. Preventing this eventuality was Bibi’s goal, but Stewart didn’t have a whitty or low-brow rejoinder, so it fell to the cutting-room floor.
The next 4 minute long segment is completely devoid of any substance, doesn’t talk about the speech at all, and is just a way for Stewart to make some jokes about the media and photoshop Bibi, Obama, and Khamenei in compromising positions. This was followed by an interview with Sigourney Weaver which was completely unrelated.
So let’s do a quick recap: this 20 minute long episode - -allegedly all about Netanyahu’s speech - only spent half the time on a segment about the speech itself, and of those 10 minutes, only two lines were actually discussed. The rest of the time was spent on dick jokes and manipulating old clips to fit Stewart’s predetermined conclusions and mislead the audience on every point.
This entire episode was useless as any sort of political commentary, which sadly is how it is seen by the majority of The Daily Show viewers.
Yet again Israel was falsely flayed in the town square by Jon Stewart who uses his own Jewishness as a shield against critcisim.
What a shanda.