Last night on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the host seemed willing to take a chance on a not-so-funny comedy skit for the sake of delivering a strong political message. On an episode when the Jewish host racked up more Yiddishisms than normal (Brian Williams later attempted his own Yiddish too), Jon Stewart showed some shocking footage of Hamas-sponsored children’s cartoons containing centuries old anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Through a hole in a public restroom wall, Jon Stewart operated a Hasidic bagel puppet with a kippah on its head. He reviews Hamas children’s cartoons spewing hatred and delivers a political message noting how “they wonder why this conflict is so intractable and hope so fleeting.” The Daily Show staff must have had some fun turning the conclusion of a Scooby Doo episode into an anti-Semitic cartoon in which the head of programming was old man Hitler who would have gotten away with the crime “if it hadn’t been for those meddling Jews and their talking bagel.”
There was really nothing very funny about the bit, but Jon Stewart was able to forgo a few minutes of humor for a chance to do what organizations like MEMRI and CAMERA do every day — inform the public about the messages of hate that Hamas directs to Palestinian children through the medium of television cartoons.
What made Jon Stewart decide to do a skit like this? After all, it was an unusual segment for Comedy Central’s Daily Show. My guess would be that he might be trying to appease his large pro-Israel following after a show this past Fall in which he appeared overly critical of Israel. As CAMERA documents on their website: “In a segment dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Stewart hosted Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti and anti-Israel agitator Anna Baltzer. Barghouti presented a familiar narrative of Palestinian grievances of the kind often heard. But it was the pairing with Baltzer that sparked indignation among many viewers. Fortunately, the segment’s producers edited out much of Baltzer’s misinformation about Israel, making the version that was broadcast substantially less objectionable than the original taping.“
The Huffington Post reported on Jon Stewart’s attempt to get some laughs from the serious subject of Hamas propoganda: “In a segment geared toward children, a shocked Jon Stewart rolled clips of Hamas cartoons that depict Jews and Israelis as evil, blood-drinking psychopaths. Even Stewart’s “Story Hole” partner, Dr. Bagelman was appalled, as each clip left the two with their jaw (or bagel slice) dropped. Bagelman, a stale Hasidic bagel “thrust through a rest-stop hole in a bathroom wall,” recognized that the blatantly anti-Semitic cartoons were most likely Hamas’s retaliation for his old kids show, “Jewby Doo.”
Here is the segment from the February 2, 2010 episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: