Jon Stewart Calls AIPAC ‘Elders of Zion’

This is pretty interesting. Jon Stewart took on AIPAC last night, and the shameless pandering of the presidential candidates, in a 5 minute sketch. This would never be happening but for Walt and Mearsheimer. The secret's out. Now everyone can make fun of the Israel lobby. Stewart calls them the "elders of Zion." Anyone else says that it's antisemitic. Or is it? The problem with the term "elders of Zion" is that it truly does describe AIPAC. They're old, and they're Zionist. Money quote in the sketch is when Stewart airs clips of each candidate saying something critical of Israel. Silence each time. "You can't say anything remotely critical of Israel and still get elected president," he says. Which is funny, he adds, because in Israel they have lots of criticism of Israel.

You're gonna have to wait for my piece in The American Conservative to get my full take (hey, they're paying me), but Stewart's jibes, along with Dana Milbank's, demonstrate that it's coming to an end for AIPAC. It's a decadent organization. The continual insistence by politician after politician that they love Israel is so shallow that it raises the question of when they're all going to feel safe enough to turn on AIPAC, and maybe Israel too.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Beyondoweiss, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East

{ 19 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Todd says:

    How courageous of Jon Stewart! He's done his share of Arab and "anti-Semite" bashing over the years, as well as playing the righteous Jew. He's just going with what he thinks is the tide. Hell, I remember when he claimed to be Catholic.

  2. Glenn Condell says:

    ' it raises the question of when they're all going to feel safe enough to turn on AIPAC, and maybe Israel too'

    Throats are being cleared at last, and not before time. When the levee does break, it will be a floodtide that informed observers will be (a) glad about, as the Jewish cabal angle was getting dangerous, and (b) disgusted by, as politicians and other major public figures, silent while it seemed prudent, scramble to get aboard the bandwagon.

  3. Peter says:

    Let's just not forget that Stewart is Jewish and as such has a much easier time saying these things. Stephen Colbert, on the other hand, had to be a bit more circumspect in his interview of Pat Buchanan
    link to comedycentral.com

  4. A bit schticky, but he really hit home in a few passages. Bravo to him. It does take guts.

  5. Jim Haygood says:

    "The problem with the term 'elders of Zion' is that it truly does describe AIPAC. They're old, and they're Zionist."

    Jon Stewart should have invited Phil to be his straight-man sidekick. The line quoted above, delivered deadpan, would have brought the house down.

    Isn't there some medication — 'Preparation Z' or something — to help these debilitated senior citizens?

  6. Richard Witty says:

    The word "elders" confers religious authority. The term as applied to Jews cannot be separated from the maliciously false "protocols". It is an insulting usage of the term, even when used sarcastically.

    And, it is insulting for Phil to use age as the descriptor of "elder".

    And, it is true that the insulting would not have occurred without Walt/Mearsheimer.

    The goal of discussion of AIPAC should be to encourage Jews to think independantly of rumoring, to actually make their/our own judgements of Obama.

    To the extent that verbal snipering from the left or left/right enters the discussion, the question of "which side are on?" becomes the only question asked, not the gamut of questions necessary for good judgement.

    The majority of Jews will not be swayed to vote for McCain on the basis of the sole question of Israel.

    Obama's positions are confident for a Zionist. Obama's positions are confident for an American patriot and for a humanist.

    McCain's positions are not confident for a humanist.

    What does Buchanon think? Will he vote for McCain? Ron Paul?

    Or are they going to take the principled position of jumping republican ship on Israel, Iraq, Iran, and hold their noses and accept universal health care, generous funding of education, actual application of regulations on the books, restoration of capital gains, dividends, and estate taxes?

  7. Todd says:

    "Let's just not forget that Stewart is Jewish and as such has a much easier time saying these things. "

    Why should Jews find it far easier to criticize Israel or other Jews? I know that you are just being honest, but isn't it time to end the thought and speech codes regarding race and ethnicity?

  8. American says:

    I am not jewish and I criticize the US zionist and AIPAC and Israel all the time. Not to mention our corrupt gentile Israeli politicans as well.

    The American tradition of calling a spade a spade trumps the jewish tradition of calling everyone in the world anti-semites.

  9. David says:

    (1) Dear God, Philip, is there anything that you don't credit to Walt & Mearsheimer? Dana Milbank has long been an equal opportunity critic of politics in Washington. See, for instance, this column on AIPAC that he wrote back in 2005, before W&M published on the "Israel Lobby."

    link to washingtonpost.com

    (2) "The Daily Show" made a joke at Obama's expense. In fact, he criticized Israel at the AIPAC meeting by calling for a halt to new settlements.

    (3) Here's what an AIPAC lobbyist had to say about Walt and Mearsheimer:

    "With minimal original research, the professors started off with a conclusion and proceeded to gather supporting material to reinforce their views, even when contradicted by the facts. Most perniciously, they argue Jews and the pro-Israel lobby helped push the Bush administration into a catastrophic war in Iraq.

    Not only did the professors hand AIPAC another lucrative fundraising campaign theme, but they also enhanced the image of its power, painting it as the colossus astride the Capitol that swats critics like harmless gnats and intimidates any challengers. In a town where even the perception of power is power, they performed an invaluable service for AIPAC."

    Keep up the good work, Philip! By constantly exaggerating the influence of the "Israel Lobby," you have helped enhance the prestige of AIPAC.

    link to jewishsf.com

  10. Charles Keating says:

    RE: ""With minimal original research, the professors started off with a conclusion and proceeded to gather supporting material to reinforce their views, even when contradicted by the facts."

    I would amend this standard criticism of any historian or other quasi-myth-maker by substituting "when contradicted by the facts" to "when contradicted by some facts."

    So, what's new?"

  11. Charles Keating says:

    Where is the AIPAC-sponsored tome contradicting W & M? Curious people want to know, so we can judge if it is more objective than W & M's Israel Lobby book.

  12. antisemite says:

    "The word "elders" confers religious authority. The term as applied to Jews cannot be separated from the maliciously false "protocols". It is an insulting usage of the term, even when used sarcastically.

    And, it is insulting for Phil to use age as the descriptor of "elder".

    And, it is true that this new exclusively insulting term under insulting would not have occurred without Walt/Mearsheimer."

    Let me see, Richard W., if I understand that correctly? "Elder" can be used in all societies for their elder members, like e.g. in Native American or Canadian circles as a term of respect for age and wisdom. (True that is connected to religion. But I love the term and would very much like to secularize it for elder "wise" men and women)

    But you suggest that under no circumstance can it be used in connection with Jewish people, since there it can only be read as a reference to the Protocols. So the world society has to agree to use a different terms in referring to Jewish elders?

    So Russian/Ukrainian/German/French extreme right wing fakers can determine our usage? Since the idea of a Jewish "secret" cabal of elder Jewish men meeting on the Jewish graveyard in Prague at night comes from a chapter of a German 19th century adventure novel by Hermann Goedsche aka Sir John Retcliff with the title: Biarritz, chapter: "The Jewish cemetery in Prague", and may have inspired the Ukrainian fakers of the Protocols (and/or a French source) and WAS NOT written by M/W. But anyhow they are the ones to blame that from now on "elders" can't be used in connection with Jews, in spite of the fact that they nowhere wrote about a cabal or a cabal of "elders"?

    This is a very interesting argument. Do you think you will get majority support for that? Including support for blaming it on M/W?

    Will you alert us, when the neologism enters dictionaries?

    link to google.com

  13. Peter says:

    Todd wrote:
    "Why should Jews find it far easier to criticize Israel or other Jews? I know that you are just being honest, but isn't it time to end the thought and speech codes regarding race and ethnicity?"

    What I meant was that if a gentile would say these things he or she is liable to come across as anti-Semitic, while a Jewish person is not. Same thing with black people using the word "n*gger": they can do it, white people cannot. I agree with you that some codes should be ended, but not all. It is granted that Israeli lobby and Israel in general should not be shielded from constructive criticism by pseudo-political correctness or fear of sounding anti-Semitic.

  14. Glenn Condell says:

    'So the world society has to agree to use a different terms in referring to Jewish elders?'

    Don't worry about Richard, he's the sort to set limits on goy usage of all sorts of terms. I recall him solemnly telling some commenter or other that he was out of line using 'tribal' when talking of Jews, yet he used it himself a few threads later. What's said bothers him, but who says it seems to trump even that.

  15. Michael Ackerman 'Brooklyn to Boca' says:

    Kudos to Jon Stewart. He is now achieve a level smarminess on par with Bill Mahre.

  16. Dave says:

    Richly ironic and siamying is the combination of posters that one sees here as well as everywhere else the word "Jew" is mentioned: 1) The vile anti-Semites who take every opportunity to show how much they hate Jews and to espouse their conspiracy theories about Jews, 2) self-hating/traitor Jews who applaud the anti-Semites (these morons provide the comic relief; they typically say things like "right on!" or "Way to go!". What a bunch of suicidal maggots.), and 3) a few honest decent people who try to talk sense, but are drowned out by the hatred and nonsense that defines our world.

  17. Dave says:

    Richly ironic and siamying is the combination of posters that one sees here as well as everywhere else the word "Jew" is mentioned: 1) The vile anti-Semites who take every opportunity to show how much they hate Jews and to espouse their conspiracy theories about Jews, 2) self-hating/traitor Jews who applaud the anti-Semites (these morons provide the comic relief; they typically say things like "right on!" or "Way to go!". What a bunch of suicidal maggots.), and 3) a few honest decent people who try to talk sense, but are drowned out by the hatred and nonsense that defines our world.

  18. Gary says:

    Dave, I couldn't have stated it more succinctly…Kudos to you! Couldn't agree more. Perhaps, the self-hating Jew, Jon Liebowitz, will one day harken back to those memories of being the lone Jew in his class in New Jersey and understand why millions of Jews currently reside in Israel. Perhaps one day he will travel to Israel to witness first hand and see the dynamic, democratic society that exists.