The Progressive Clown vs. The Apoplectic Conservative Radio Host On Gaza: Jon Stewart, Funny But Irresponsible…Mark Levin, Uncivil But Right

Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” riff on the Gaza conflict was praised to the skies by anti-Israel pundits, like MSNBC’s Cenk Uyger and the Daily Beast’s Dean Obeidallah as providing some kind of much needed moral clarity. In truth it was exactly the opposite, with the Obeidallah column unintentionally showing exactly what’s wrong with Jon Stewart.

Knowing that a disturbing number of Millennials (and an even more disturbing number of ignorant, impressionable older viewers who should know better) see the comedian as a truth-teller, Stewart makes no allowances in his comic routines for that fact. He intentionally encourages the idea that he is a legitimate pundit, then retreats to the convenient bunker of “Come on! I’m a comedian! Don’t take me so seriously!” when he is called out for lazy, misleading and biased—but funny! commentary. (Stewart criticizes Democrats with approximately the frequency of a lunar eclipse, which would be just fine for a comedian who didn’t pose as an objective critic of American politics.)

The Gaza bit was a classic example of Stewart at his irresponsible, cynical—but funny!— worst. He intentionally—oh, just for laughs, mind you, because Stewart never has a political agenda!—misrepresented the Gaza bombing and the conduct of Hamas and Israel as an instance of deadly bullying by Israel, which, in Stewart’s carefully manipulated false narrative, is in no danger whatsoever from Hamas, but is killing civilians nonetheless. The “smoking gun” was Stewart’s false claim that the only way Israel was warning civilians that a bombing was imminent was with “warning bombs,” a lie that was shown to be such in the very same segment, which referred to warning phone calls to endangered Gaza households. (Israel has also been dropping leaflets.) Stewart highlighted the “warning bombs” because they are funny, you see. I’m sure that would be his answer to any criticism. Did he mention that warnings or not, Hamas has directed civilians not to seek cover from the attacks? No, of course not…that’s not funny. Did he mention the provocation for the Israeli assault, the constant bombardment of Israel by Hamas? The tunnels into Israel to facilitate terrorist kidnappings? No…that’s definitely not funny. Did he educate his young, cynical audience about Hamas intentionally attracting bombs to civilian areas by placing missiles and arms in hospitals, schools, and residential areas? Did he even point out that Gaza’s civilians intentionally placed a terrorist organization, which has pledged to destroy Israel, in charge of its government, and is getting exactly, precisely what it voted for? Come on! Who would laugh at that?

In short, Jon Stewart, a smart man, intentionally misled his audience, knowing that it would be misled, and played directly into the Hamas propaganda strategy of seeding anti-Israel sentiment world-wide. Thus the eruption of Twitter hashtags supporting Hamas and condemning Israel on Twitter, sent by passionate young citizens and celebrities whose knowledge of history and the Palestinian-Israel conflict is based on reckless jokes.

Mark Levin is also smart. He is a voluble, caustic, occasionally whimsical conservative lawyer, author and talk show host on the far rightward end of the spectrum of such radio fare. He attacked Stewart’s Gaza bit on his radio show in typical Levin fashion, which is to say excessive and uncivil, making accurate points but undermining them with lines like “I don’t trust Jews who change their names! There, I said it!!” (Stewart is really Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, and so what?) This is swell stuff for the red-meat right-wing crowd Levin preaches to, but below-the-belt rhetoric–and that’s Levin all over.

He was more circumspect—a bit—when he appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. A right-wing radio host appearing on another right-wing radio host’s show on Fox News is the exact equivalent of a tree falling in a forest when nobody is around as far as reaching the audience poisoned by Stewart’s bias, but nevertheless, Levin was spot on, saying,

“I watched this segment on the Internet, and the disinformation and the propaganda he was putting out in the form of jokes was outrageous.And I would just tell Mr. Stewart that it really doesn’t take a lot of courage to criticize Israel and trash Israel. It’s done all the time. It’s done by Israel’s, quote, unquote, “neighbors.” It’s done in Europe right now, where Jewish stores and so forth are being burned down and there’s riots. It’s done in Boston and New York, where the police have had to come out and protect pro-Israeli rallies and so forth. So you’re not really a tough guy. You’re not really cutting-edge.

And the fact of the matter, Mr. Stewart, is that if Hamas had the weaponry that Israel had, nuclear weapons and other weapons, Israel would cease to exist. And if Israel wanted to take out whole communities in Gaza, or the whole Gaza strip, they could do so in about 30 minutes. And it doesn’t.

This is the only country I know of that has thousands of missiles rained in on it, missiles coming from Iran through Hezbollah to Hamas, a country that agrees to a cease-fire that was negotiated by Egypt and the Arab League, and still has to tolerate these attacks…. it is morally clear. That’s why those who now pretend there’s a moral equivalency or moral relativism are absolutely fools. And they’re to be ignored or to be shamed.

The fact of the matter is, Israel’s not at war with Egypt because Egypt isn’t shooting missiles into Israel. It’s not at war with Jordan. Jordan’s not shooting missiles into Israel. It’s not a war with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s not shooting missiles into Israel. Israel waited and waited and waited, missile after missile after missile, and even after this cease-fire, it agreed to it, and then it warned Hamas, you continue this, you can see we’re building up our ground troops. This is the only country I know that’s not allowed to win. If they don’t wipe out Hamas and the Hamas missile sites, it’s never going to end.

And I would like to educate Jon Stewart and his clapping seal studio audience to let them know Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas also was part of the PLO. The PLO’s history goes back to the mufti, goes back to the Third Reich, the Final Solution. Read up, Ivy League boy! Try and figure out exactly what’s going on before you cut your stupid jokes!”

Levin was wrong about Stewart in one respect: he’s not an Ivy Leaguer. The rest is correct, however.

And it’s not funny.

__________

Sources: Washington Post, Daily Beast, Fox News

 

10 thoughts on “The Progressive Clown vs. The Apoplectic Conservative Radio Host On Gaza: Jon Stewart, Funny But Irresponsible…Mark Levin, Uncivil But Right

  1. Your first 2 links go directly to the youtube video rather than the respective articles you mention.

    Good article. I don’t think Stewart is likely to acknowledge any responsibility for palestinian civilian deaths on the part of Hamas though.

  2. I have stopped watching Jon Stewart for his never ending berating of anyone that does not appear to be a weak innocent put upon minority. Levin on the other hand may be bombastic but he backs up his statements with historical perspectives. He gives no quarter to any hypocrite or political party. Yes, he is far right but only from a Constitutional originalist’s perspective. He throws no more red meat to his followers than any other radio host left or right except perhaps NPR – I think they are just high.

    I want to preface the next paragraph that I believe that war is a negative sum game and both sides lose when it becomes necessary. War is not glamorous or high adventure. It kills and dismembers people. It tears apart families. In short, it destroys lives. It is also something that sometimes needs to be undertaken when one side wants to wipe out any opposition to its political or power agenda.

    If we examine why the conflicts to which the US have been embroiled since 1960 lasted more than a decade each we might see a recurring pattern: our soldiers must follow limited rules of engagement while the opposition does not; the opposition does not dress in identifiable uniforms making it difficult to know who is the good guy and who is the bad; and news reports show all opposition casualties as civilian deaths because they are not in uniform. If you want to win in a street fight you better take the gloves off. The whole idea of a proportional response is what leads to protracted engagements. You hit me, I hit you back and no more. The winner is the one with the most people to sacrifice.

    Today marks the eighteenth day of the ground offensive in Gaza. President Obama should simply state that Israel can do what ever it desires to protect itself against any aggressor or take preemptive action against any nuclear threat and we will back them up. If he does that, this situation will resolve itself quickly. We might even improve our negotiating position with Iran. I am much more likely to trust that Israel will not to go on a campaign to eradicate an entire people that it simply does not like.

    Imagine what the our citizens would say if it were our civilians that had to face rocket fire every day. I bet they would feel the same way they did on 9/12/01.

    • The same applied to Vietnam and the Iraq War. Go in, win, and don’t pull punches. The limited, kinder, gentler war is madness, and needs to be abandoned as ultimately doing more damage, not less.

      • That’s very, very true, Jack. Israel shouldn’t have to take this sort of thing. However, the savages tend to strike when they sense weakness. When a nation doesn’t strike back, immediately and hard, they keep right on attacking. It’s a lesson as old as history. And, as General MacArthur said so well, there is no substitute for victory. The western world still hasn’t brought itself to appreciate the wisdom of those words. BTW: I loved Levin’s comment about “clapping seals”! These leftist rent-a-mobs are easily obtainable, it seems. They must have a casting agency.

    • “If we examine why the conflicts to which the US have been embroiled since 1960 lasted more than a decade each we might see a recurring pattern: our soldiers must follow limited rules of engagement while the opposition does not; the opposition does not dress in identifiable uniforms making it difficult to know who is the good guy and who is the bad; and news reports show all opposition casualties as civilian deaths because they are not in uniform. If you want to win in a street fight you better take the gloves off. The whole idea of a proportional response is what leads to protracted engagements. You hit me, I hit you back and no more. The winner is the one with the most people to sacrifice.”

      I’m trying to work up a good discussion on this, but it’s very long at this point, so to summarize:

      1) Our notion of how war should be fought is a very recent one, derived from a millennium of balance of power conflicts in Europe that combined with the tempering effect of a unifying religion (conveniently Christianity) led to a situation where war never would be total war despite the attempts to get there.

      2) Total war did occur when technology was able to bridge the gaps that the competing powers never could bridge in the millennium leading up to it – sometime around 1914.

      3) 1914 started the end of the European way of war and 1945 ended it in the world. Only Europe would still espouse it, all others reverted to their older vicious wars. Except America. We still embraced it, and being the only world power (except briefly the USSR) we would inevitably be drawn into conflicts against those who don’t espouse our culture’s way of war.

      4) To which I say we are fools. In war, give to those the way they give and as quickly as possible.

      5) Your commentary on drawn out wars and their internal opposition – it doesn’t help with the conveyors of reporting on a war are ideologically sympathetic with the opponents in the war. Treachery.

      6) Since the rest of the world reverted to tribal and more vicious attitudes towards war, because to them the only rule is “win or die”, we shouldn’t be surprised by the wars we are stuck in. We should only be annoyed that we are hamstrung by our own 5th columnists who hate our political system.

      7) The winner is not the group with the most people to sacrifice. The winner is the side that believes in victory the longest…the goal of warfare being to make the other side no longer believe in what they are fighting for (typically by killing them).

      • The worst possible kind of war is an extended battle of attrition. It’s also the toughest kind of war for a free nation to raise, as that nation’s citizens become rapidly disillusioned and begin to listen to the subversives’ clamors for withdrawal. Adversarial tyrannies know this.

  3. Almost as obnoxious and infinitely more subtle is the Onion in its quiet running interference for leftist sacred cows.

    The most recent subtlety:

    Israel’s, Hamas’ Disregard For Palestinian Life Aligning Nicely

    Of course, I still cracked the forbidden smile.

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