Don’t miss ROSEWATER, as it is a must-see film.
Published on Portside (https://portside.org)
Jon Stewart on Criticism of His Coverage of Israel
Thursday, November 13, 2014
As host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has earned a reputation as a sharp, left-leaning satirist who pulls no punches when there’s a point to be made. But in recent years Stewart has come under fire for being both too lenient and too harsh when it comes to the topic of Israel, with some pundits referring to the host as a “self-hating Jew.” Postmedia’s Jonathan Dekel brought up the subject when the two sat down during TIFF for an interview in support of Stewart’s film, Rosewater, which the first-time director shot in Jordan. “Being Jewish was not a deciding factor [in whether to film in Israel],” Stewart said of the film. “In Iran, I’ve already been outed as a Mossad agent and a CIA agent. They’ve already produced 60 Minutes-style pieces describing me as a Mossad agent.”
Have you seen them?
How does that make you feel? Do you find humour in it?
Of course, because it’s ridiculous. It’s humorous to me in the same way that a lot of what happens in the movie is humorous to me. There is an absurdity in dogma and rigidity and even that question has dogma, but on the other side. It’s so interesting to me that people want to define who is a Jew and who is not. And normally that was done by people who weren’t Jewish but apparently now it’s done by people who are, and I find that very interesting. It’s more than nationalism.
You mean in the sense that you can’t criticize Israel, right?
No. And you can’t observe (Judaism) in the way you want to observe. And I never thought that that would be coming from brethren. I find it really sad, to be honest.
I know the feeling.
Yeah, and you see it and it is pretty vicious. And how are you lesser? How are you lesser? It’s fascistic. And the idea that they can tell you what a Jew is. How dare they? That they only know the word of God and are the ones who are able to disseminate it. It’s not right. And it’s something that they’re going to have to reckon with.
And it will only improve The State if they do.
You’re absolutely right. I always want to say to people when they come at me like that: “I would like Israel to be a safe and secure state. What’s your goal?” So basically we disagree on how to accomplish that but boy do they, I mean, you would not believe the sh-t. You have guys on television saying I’m a Jew like the Jews in the Nazi camps who helped bring the other Jews to ovens. I have people that I lost in the Holocaust and I just … go f-ck yourself. How dare you?
The most frustrating aspect, for me is that these are not stupid people. Their hate doesn’t come from ignorance. It comes from fear.
Absolutely. I think it comes from abuse. The danger of oppression is not just being oppressed, it’s becoming an oppressor. Because that will deteriorate a society as quickly as being oppressed. And that’s a real danger. That’s a part of this movie: the cost of oppression to the Iranian government because that is a perversion of authority. It’s going to be a problem.
The difference is, in my mind, that the west trumpets Israel as an ideal Democratic society.
And then you look and say, “A thousand more acres in the West Bank? Why?” But I agree with you. I find it fascinating and troubling.
Read the full interview with Jon Stewart  about Rosewater, opening Nov 14.
Source URL: https://portside.org/2014-11-22/jon-stewart-criticism-his-coverage-israel
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