No-HaMBLA was lost on the audience. They clearly missed his running NAMBLA gag.
Haha – Feygele, I noticed that too! So, I was sitting at the computer when my sister started giggling so loud I actually thought she was crying on the other side of the house. And she basically giggled for 5 minutes straight, until I went in to find out what was going on… and what was going on, was she was watching this. Well done, Mr Stewart.
I guess it says a lot about me that I laughed harder at “Heebyland” than at “mile chai club.”
This is not funny. Like at all. Even to an all-Jewish audience this would have made me pretty uncomfortable. But on primetime TV to an already Israel-critical non-Jewish public? Is there nothing Stewart won’t do for a laugh? “Elders of Zion”? “You can’t say anything remotely critical of Israel and get elected President”?
(This is of course quite apart from the fact that the jokes were patently unfunny to a non-Jewish audience. “Gimmel column,” the Dayan picture, etc. Really, what percentage of the Comedy Central audience did his writers think would actually understand these references?)
What? Fault a Jewish comedian for having Jewish humor? So, for a few minutes Stewart tells jokes that go over goyische heads?
I’m a lot more concerned that Pat Buchanan gets to hype his book of Nazi-apologetics and soft-core Holocaust denial than Stewart makes a few sarcastic remarks at the expense of “anti-Zionist” conspiracy theorists.
dude I’m not concerned with how these jokes go over with YOU or the Jewschool readership. *eyeroll*
I’m talking about the millions of Stewart’s viewers for whom Stewart’s remark that â€œyou canâ€™t say anything remotely critical of Israel and get elected Presidentâ€ is NOT percieved as some sort of “remark at the expense of ‘anti-Zionist’ conspiracy theorists” but rather as a sensible observation worthy of consideration. (Hint: it isn’t.)
just because this was uttered by a Jew and not Walt and Mearsheimer may make all the difference to you and me, but makes zero difference to most of his audience.
I found it extremely funny. I think we can give Stewart’s audience a TEENSY bit more credit in that the majority understand they are watching a long-running SATIRICAL program. Also, if you think the American public in general and the audience for a program like this in particular is notably “Israel-critical”, you are leading a sheltered life.
Are you serious? Do you actually feel that there is open conversation about Israel in the US? I thought Stewart was quite apt in his observation that one can only criticize Israel in Israel. I often find the stuff I say to people here in Jerusalem, where I live, is taken as anti-semitic in the States.
“I thought Stewart was quite apt in his observation that one can only criticize Israel in Israel.”
There seems to be much truth to this.
But, couldn’t Stewart have gotten his message across without bringing up so many nasty stereotypes: Obama was first in sports at the Jewish camp; “my son the doctor”; the elders of Zion; even the “chai” meter–what is funny about that, btw….
Why does it always seem like the same Jews who will be the first to defend other groups (which is great) will turn around and make fun of Jews in front of Gentiles? Do we hate ourselves that much?
It’s like that video on YouTube last Christmas, where a bunch of Heredim stopped in a parking lot to pick up a penny. Every American Jew I know seemed to love that video. Are we really such Galus Jews?
jladi – no offense but your opinion on what is and isn’t appropriate for a Jew to joke about to a non-Jewish audience in the US is utterly irrelevant. I respect your point of view as an Israeli but your opinion on this subject means next to nothing.
We’re not in Israel, and there’s LOTS of stuff you may feel comfortable saying to/about/among Israelis that are not appropriate in the Diaspora. Reinforcing negative stereotypes about Israel and US-Israel relations and the influence of Jews on US foreign policy are all examples of this. Of course Israelis discuss these things more openly; but they do so on the basis of certain conditions that do not exist in the Diaspora.
So, you really think that someone who was remotely critical of say, the settlements, could get elected president?
Now, now, be honest.
And what are these conditions in the diaspora–in the American portion of the diaspora (not galut, please note because we choose to live here)–that would make it important for us to pull our punches? What shande far di goyim is at play here? All you have to do is watch John McCain, Hillary! and Barack say such silly things to realize that the goyim are already all over this one.
And the “mile chai” joke is not all that bad. But not as funny as McCain having to seek shelter under Joe Lieberman.
every president since the Six-Day War has been critical of the settlements.
“So, you really think that someone who was remotely critical of say, the settlements, could get elected president?
Now, now, be honest.”
Was Clinton not elected in 1996?
“And the â€œmile chaiâ€ joke is not all that bad.”
Why is it funny? It is a reference to Yiddish, which our ancestors spoke for generations but we don’t know. Hebrew? Which the majority of the Jewish world speaks but we don’t know?
It’s like we are ashamed of ourselves. That, to me, is the mentality of Galut, not Diaspora.
rootless, don’t forget that Israel ranks in the top 5 most favorably viewed countries by Americans. The American public is not very critical of Israel. I think Stewart hit the nail on the head.
And regardless of how the public views Israel, lack of criticism is certainly how our government seems to work.
I should not have used the term “remotely” as it has made your job too easy. Because I don’t want to argue about how “critical” critical really should be in this case, I will leave it to the others reading this thread to judge just how critical a president can be of Israeli policy before that criticism becomes a real liability in an election.
So that you don’t get distracted, let me be clear. My point was less about degrees of permissible severity than about having the temerity to discuss the obvious on the off chance that some of the goyim watching tv at 11:15 at night might notice that the Jews of the diaspora might be of several minds.
The “mile chai” joke is not about Yiddish or about Hebrew. It’s actually about sex– the “mile high club” refers to people who have had sex on an airplane. You can extrapolate the rest.
But Jonathan, let me stir it up a bit. Hebrew lies at the heart of Jewish experience and practice and life, to be sure. There is no Judaism without Hebrew. But the Jewish population of the Anglophone world exceeds that of Israel, which means that the first language of the majority of Jews in the world is English and actually has been for a while. My point is not to be merely contentious, but to make the argument that Jewish experience is much too complex to be reduced to the outmoded lexicon of “galus” and “self-hatred.”
It is surely a sign of maturity and strength in any community that it does not have to flinch before it is struck.
I guess we’ll have to disagree, Fartig, because I’m pretty sure the “mile chai” joke is a reference, indirectly, to Yiddish or Hebrew. That’s why he didn’t say “mile high.”
Again, we have to disagree, because not only does the population of Israel know Hebrew, but so does a large portion of the French Jewish population, a sizable amount of the Argentinian world–and, from what we know–many Iranians learn Hebrew in their schools. These communities do not seem to know English very well, from the little I know. If you are going to consider the complex Jewish experience, you might want to consider the complex Jewish world in its entirety.
We will have to disagree a third time, because I don’t think that jokes like “Obama was always first at sports in the Jewish camp; my son the doctor; elders of Zion”…or making a video where Heredim jump out of a moving car to pick up a penny are somehow signs of maturity or strenghth. It is embarassment at it best, or self-loathing at worst.
I’m a big fan of both Jon Stewart and constructive criticism of Israel, and even so, I think high/chai puns have been worn out for several decades.
whatever. you guys talmbout “but there really ISN’T open debate on Israel…” are missing the point. I object to Stewart’s bit because he takes a traditional source of anti-Semitism (in this case Jewish/Israel-related influence on US foreign policy) and makes jokes about it to a largely non-Jewish audience (who may or may not have favorable views toward Israel in the first place).
I guess some of you are comfortable enough to watch a Jew on national television make jokes about Jewish control to a non-Jewish audience. I’m not.
I would point out that in Israel it’s not totally unacceptable to make Shoah jokes either. Would you all object to Stewart making a Shoah joke on national television to a non-Jewish audience? I hope so. how about to a closed-door Jewish audience? still uncomfortable, but less so, right? that’s all I’m saying. I’m not interested in people telling me “but in Israel we talk about this stuff all the time” or “we as American Jews should be comfortable enough with our place in society to air these issues out in front of non-Jews.” the bottom line is there are limits. mine are here, y’all’s are apparently there. OK.
(all of this is 2ndary of course to the simple fact that Stewart sucks. he hasn’t been funny in about 3 yrs. his cocky smarm and faux charm are sooooo tired at this point its embarrassing. if he wrote his own material [not sure he does] I would give him some minimal props for the occasional zinger. but as a comedian, and particularly as an extemporaneous interviewer/presenter, he sucks.)
He’s doing a piece about the AIPAC conference. Isn’t AIPAC’s primary goal to have Jewish/Israel-related influence on US foreign policy? Is it antisemitic to suggest that they’re having success?
Isnâ€™t AIPACâ€™s primary goal to have Jewish/Israel-related influence on US foreign policy? Is it antisemitic to suggest that theyâ€™re having success?
Of course it is, because then you would be denying the eternal victim status Jews are supposed to have. AIPAC is never successful, it is merely fending off inevitable destructions for another precious few years.
Damn BZ. You are either not that bright or you didn’t read what I wrote. Can you point to where I said Stewart was “anti-Semitic”?
I guess some of you are comfortable enough to watch a Jew on national television make jokes about Jewish control to a non-Jewish audience. Iâ€™m not.
That’s my point. I never suggested that Stewart was anti-Semitic. I said his bit was inappropriate. Some Jewschool commenters are totally unable to handle a nuanced argument.
And as for Amit, your whole bitter-Israeli-resentful-of-US-Jewish-meddling schtick is tired. Without AIPAC the US gov’t wouldn’t give a damn about Israel (hint: that’s a bad thing). It’s nice to beleive that Israel doesn’t need strong allies or military aid or whatever. But it’s fantasy. Thank G-d people like you are not in charge of anything.
stewart said you can’t say anything critical of israel and get ELECTED president.
the fact that every president is critical of the settlements once they ARE president doesn’t change the fact that if obama were to say anything critical of the settlements during the ELECTION, he would instantly become “less pro-israel” than mccain in every media narrative.
stewart didn’t say anything wrong.
Without AIPAC the US govâ€™t wouldnâ€™t give a damn about Israel
Really? How do we know this?
(hint: thatâ€™s a bad thing)
And how do we know this? Israel was not always aligned with the US. We won in 1967 with weapons from france. in 1948 the US didn’t even recognize us de jure.
Damn BZ. You are either not that bright or you didnâ€™t read what I wrote. Can you point to where I said Stewart was â€œanti-Semiticâ€?
Here’s what you wrote:
I object to Stewartâ€™s bit because he takes a traditional source of anti-Semitism (in this case Jewish/Israel-related influence on US foreign policy)
You didn’t say that Stewart was antisemitic, but I didn’t say that you said that. But if “Jewish/Israel-related influence on US foreign policy” (AIPAC’s mission) is a “source of anti-Semitism” (and I’m not claiming that it is, but you are), then the logical inference is that AIPAC is an antisemitic organization, or that support for AIPAC implies support for antisemitism.
But if â€œJewish/Israel-related influence on US foreign policyâ€ (AIPACâ€™s mission) is a â€œsource of anti-Semitismâ€ … then the logical inference is that AIPAC is an antisemitic organization.
genius deduction, BZ. I’m not even gonna dignify that with a response. hopefully your reading it aloud to yourself will suffice to show you how ridiculous it is.
I think intelligent people can agree that allegations of Jewish power go to the heart of modern anti-Semitism, and that one should use care in bandying such allegations about, even in jest. (Whether you, BZ, can agree on this is another matter altogether).
Sam: The settlement thing was a tangent; go back and read this whole thread. What you say is true: stewart said you canâ€™t say anything critical of israel and get ELECTED president. But we apparently disagree on whether he was “wrong” in saying this.
For the umpteenth time: I do not object to the content of what Stewart said (though it was clearly an exagerration), so much as I object to the wisdom of his saying it. And this is not an issue of “hiding” uncomfortable facts from non-Jews or whatever. It is, rather, an issue of taking a complex issue that goes to the heart of modern anti-Semitism (i.e. Jewish power), and making a joke about it to an audience not necessarily positively predisposed to such a joke.
I repeat: I guess some of you are comfortable enough to watch a Jew on national television make jokes about Jewish control to a non-Jewish audience. Iâ€™m not.
I’m happy to disagree with you guys on this, but at the same time I would ask those on here being totally flip about it (“it’s just wacky Jon Stewart making a Jewish joke!”) to carefully consider the implications. We can disagree on the outcome of such a reflection, but I still think we need to reflect on it. I remind you that the Daily Show is, quite literally (and sadly), the main news source for a lot of young Americans.
Amit: The France of 1967 was still a world power with some military might. Not so much anymore. I suspect that you don’t see the value in a Israel’s allying with a militarily strong power such as the US, and I guess that’s where we differ.
Ok, Jonathan, I’ll try this one more time. A joke that uses yiddish is not a joke about yiddish. The mile chai club seems to refer to politicians who make hay over having flown/gone to Israel. Jokes never work when you explain them but then again, you shouldn’t have to explain them.
The Iranians who learn Hebrew are no different from Americans who learn Hebrew. Yes, Jews the world over study Hebrew, but Hebrew is not like Yiddish. Yiddish was a language of the diaspora–folks who knew Hebrew very well did not speak it on a daily basis in the old country–they spoke Yiddish. Everyone did–rabbis, kids, women in the market. In our diaspora, we might know Hebrew in one way or another but it isn’t the mamaloshen. In other words, in the diaspora we all learn Hebrew as a foreign language. (This doesn’t appear to be true of Yiddish, which some still learn as their mother tongue.) In other words I might know Hebrew a, but that doesn’t change my argument. I speak French and German as well.
AND YES, STEWART’S POINT–WHETHER YOU THINK HE’S LAME OR NOT–WAS ABOUT PANDERING TO AIPAC AND NOT THE INFLUENCE THAT AIPAC ACTUALLY HAS ON AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY.
Finally, Rootless Cosmo–have I got this right? Don’t you say that it is anti-Semitic to claim that Jews influence American foreign policy and then say that without AIPAC the US wouldn’t give a tinker’s damn about Israel? So….it is therefore anti-Semitic to say what you take as the truth? Shhhhh–the children might hear.
no, you have this wrong.
you and BZ should hang out and come up with fun logical fallacies together.
one day it will all make sense, kids. until then I’m done with this thread.
Some Jewschool commenters are totally unable to handle a nuanced argument.
Ah, my friend, if I’ve got it wrong, the least you could do is explain yourself clearly. As it stands, your nuances appear less like fallacies than flat contradictions. Insulting us ain’t going to change that.
I’ll try this again.
I had stated that the majority of the Jewish world speaks Hebrew. You responded that the “Jewish population of the Anglophone world exceeds that of Israel, which means that the first language of the majority of Jews in the world is English and actually has been for a while.”
I pointed out that in large Jewish communities such as France, Argentina, and Iran, there is a higher Hebrew literacy rate than English…you responded that “The Iranians who learn Hebrew are no different from Americans who learn Hebrew.”
I’m not sure where you are getting this, because the Iranians I’ve met tell me that many Iranians know modern Hebrew, but little if no English. Even more, we know for sure that the large French and Argentinian communities are more literate in Hebrew than in English. And they actually speak Hebrew; where you get that they know Hebrew like you and me from Hebrew school, I am not sure. So, considering that many US day-school students know Hebrew, and children in day schools and summer camps in the former Soviet Union are more literate in Hebrew than in English, I say with some certainty that the Hebrew is the most spoken language in the Jewish world at 5768/2008.
Next you stated…”AND YES, STEWARTâ€™S POINTâ€“WHETHER YOU THINK HEâ€™S LAME OR NOTâ€“WAS ABOUT PANDERING TO AIPAC AND NOT THE INFLUENCE THAT AIPAC ACTUALLY HAS ON AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY.”
Ok, that was Stewart’s point. So? Why does he need to make his point while bringing up all of these nasty stereotypes about Jews–elders of Zion; my son the doctor; Obama was always first at sports at the Jewish summer camp (for argument’s sake, I’ll concede that “Mile Chai” had nothing to do with Jews, Yiddish, Hebrew…because it’s not so relevant to what I am trying to say.)
I just want to hear you say that Stewart shouldn’t make fun of Jews in a nasty way on TV, just like I deduce that you would be infuriated had Stewart made nasty remarks about African-Americans, homosexuals, etc. Please, one of the great progressives who blogs here, agree with me that it’s wrong. Tell me that you were also shocked to see that video last Channukah, lionized in the US Jewish world, even though that video protrays a bunch of Heredim jumping out of a car to pick up a penny. Tell me that, just like we wouldn’t stand for other groups being humiliated on TV, we don’t want Jews to be mocked either.
That’s all I want you to say Fartig, and then I’ll stop these incoherent rants.
JOnathan and Rootlesscosmo, while I don’t think your points are invalid, I just don’t think they’re valid enough. Lots of inhibitions are and should be lifted for the purposes of comedy, and the relaxing of our sacred cows is just necessary or there would be no jokes, ever.
In fact, I think the only kind of humor worth listening to is humor which pushes the boundaries of social acceptability. On the peripheries are where humor might teach us about our own hypocrisies and self-delusion.
Jonathan– I misunderstood you, for which my apologies. I did not see that you were discussing literacy in Hebrew, not “speaking” Hebrew in the usual sense of “speaking”–that is, speaking as a first language. Yes I am literate in Hebrew, but because my knowledge is basically of Biblical Hebrew, I do not usually say I speak it. I do speak French and German–that is, my linguistic ability goes beyond mere literacy. I am therefore arguing against you notion of “literacy.” It usually refers to the ability to read a language. Many people are illiterate who can speak their native tongue. That is why I said more Jews speak English than Hebrew. You are probably right–more Jews can speak some–if only a little–Hebrew than speak some English.
I do see that you are making an unfair generalization about American Jews and comparing them to Argentinian Jews. Are you arguing from percentages? The Jewish population of Argentina is under 190,000, so every Jew who is literate in Hebrew in Argentina ups the percentage of literate-in-Hebrew Jews for that country. The same goes for Iran, whose Jewish population comes in at a whopping 10,800.
As for the jokes, forget it. The elders of Zion crack was aimed at anti-semites. These folks are not the conspirators of anti-Semitic fantasy. And I am not offended when gays tell queer jokes, or when African-Americans tell black jokes. If Margaret Cho told Stewart’s jokes, I’d be offended. And I’ll stick by my point–Stewart’s jokes were not particularly nasty. They were geared at the candidates.
Fair enough Fartig. Personally, I think it is insane when African-Americans make self-deprecating jokes, or use the “n” word. But if those things don’t offend you, you are being consistent.
Fair enough to you too KFJ, as long as you accept somebody like Stewart making jokes about other groups as well.