Jon Stewart strikes again

on 39 Comments

Once again, Jon Stewart leads the way in pointing out America’s exquisite hypocrisy in the Middle East. John Oliver joins Stewart in an info-mercial-like skit advertising America’s special “Freedom Packages,” designed for each country in the Middle East based on its levels of resources and America’s friendliness with its dictator.

The surprising part comes at the end, when Stewart once again dares to point out the elephant in the room with a fine-print disclaimer that parodies those of designer drugs: “Freedom packages may cause America to experiences unintended consequences including but not limited to: Inflammation of local or ethnic tensions. Strengthening of one or more of America’s traditional enemies. Current allies becoming future enemies who one day use American-supplied rocket launchers against us. Jobless, unmarried 19-year-old men with dynamite underwear may wish to take out frustrations on freedom package suppliers. If you experience an insurrection lasting over four months, seek diplomatic attention immediately. Offer not valid in West Bank or Gaza.

Jon Stewart is not perfect by any means. But he’s further ahead and less fearful than any other well-known pundit I know of. And he’s arguably the most influential source of news in the country among people with brains, decency, and a sense of humor. This can only be a good thing.

Pamela Olson’s book Fast Times in Palestine, a non-fiction novel of life in the Holy Land, will be published next month.

39 Responses

  1. Bill in Maryland
    March 22, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Excellent- thanks so much Pamela for highlighting this.

  2. fuster
    March 22, 2011, 2:04 pm

    Kathleen, you wienie-roaster, come and get happy.

    • Kathleen
      March 22, 2011, 3:56 pm

      Bet Oliver wrote this skit. But of course Stewart and team have to let it get by. Taking steps..

      Palestinians get the “bantustan package” while more of their land gets stolen by illegal Israeli settlements.

  3. hophmi
    March 22, 2011, 2:09 pm

    It’s not clear what this means in context, but whatever floats your boat.

    It isn’t especially true, either. The State Department has said plenty of things publicly about both places, maybe not what you’d want, but they’ve definitely taken a position.

    Please let me know when you’ve decided to turn away from racism and support self-determination for both peoples in the Holy Land.

    • Chaos4700
      March 22, 2011, 2:31 pm

      “Seperate but equal” was a crime against African Americans and its a crime against Palestinians. Your right wing racist state isn’t going to last. The road to Jerusalem cuts through Praetoria.

    • Kathleen
      March 22, 2011, 2:43 pm

      Yeah he has only been on air for 16 or so years. And has been willing to go after almost all other issues and world leaders but not the I/P issue. Not Israeli leaders, not the I lobby although this has been changing on his program. As I said “better late than never” But let’s not pretend that he is some pioneer on this issue. Total hooey.

      Will not be roasting Stewarts wienie as much as I have been but will continue to brow beat him on the internet and elsewhere if he continues to pretend that all issues are on the table on his show which has not been the case. Although as I have said there has been a shift the last several years.

    • Kathleen
      March 22, 2011, 3:58 pm

      “The State Department has said plenty of things publicly about both places, maybe not what you’d want, but they’ve definitely taken a position. ”

      Yep they sure have said plenty of things. The same limp hogwash for decades. Have done absolutely nothing

    • RoHa
      March 22, 2011, 7:44 pm

      “support self-determination for both peoples in the Holy Land.”

      I’ll support self-determination for all the people in the Holy Land, but not for “peoples”.

      • Jim Holstun
        March 22, 2011, 9:34 pm

        This is a crucial point. The Enlightenment held that PEOPLE had rights; the reactionary degradation of the Enlightenment under late-Romantic thinkers like Herder held that PEOPLES had rights–i.e., rights to sovereignty in a land, to subordinate other peoples and people, and expel them if need be. Rights for people leads to democracy; rights for peoples leads to ethnic cleansing.

      • robin
        March 23, 2011, 4:14 am

        Extremely well-said, Jim. Thank you for making an essential point so concisely.

  4. Kathleen
    March 22, 2011, 2:19 pm

    Pamela “Once again, Jon Stewart leads the way in pointing out America’s exquisite hypocrisy in the Middle East. ”

    Pamela you can spin Jon Stewarts finally beginning to dip (a few of us have been hammering him for years now) his toes into this critical issue the way he has on so many other international issues anyway you want. But you are spinning, blind. He has held back for decades

  5. DICKERSON3870
    March 22, 2011, 2:20 pm

    RE: “If you experience an insurrection lasting over four months, seek diplomatic attention immediately.” – Jon-Jon (Stewart, not Kennedy)

    MY COMMENT: Yes, priapism is a real killer!

    P.S. On the other hand (so to speak), I recall reading about a study that found a correlation between the increasing sales of Viagra® in the US and a contemporaneous decline in the sales of guns in the US over a few years following the introduction of Viagra® to the US market. Go figure (if you have a free hand to do so).

    • Pamela Olson
      March 22, 2011, 2:37 pm

      That wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Sexual frustration can be channeled in unhealthy ways, to say the least.

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 22, 2011, 2:55 pm

        RE: “Sexual frustration can be channeled in unhealthy ways” – Olson

        MY REPLY: Tell me about it! I never would have guessed (lol). Although I do seem to remember the Freuds (Sigmund, and daughter Anna) mentioning something about this. And then there was Oedipus, of course. And Narcissus. And Lindsey Graham. And the “Marquis”. And der Führer(s). Just to mention a very few.

        P.S. NOTE TO PHIL: Have you checked your bandwith lately? Your site is very slow. Or is my bandwith the problem? “Enquiring mimes want to know!”

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 22, 2011, 3:19 pm

        RE:“Sexual frustration can be channeled in unhealthy ways” – Olson

        MY REPLY: This reminds me of a “Witticism” from a few years ago (the early years at Mondoweiss) when ‘you know who’ and his deranged cyber alter ego (since banned by Phil) were comparing the sizes of their respective Israeli-made guns (firearms) and crowing about how the wrong people had better not show up at their front doors. Really sick stuff. Ziocaine® should never have been approved by the FDA! Or, was it “grandfathered” in?

        P.S. Phil, I don’t mean to get personal, but Mondoweiss’ bandwith sucks!

  6. Kathleen
    March 22, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Hope these links pop over
    Jon Stewart compares settlements to terrorism, and gets laughs in the process
    by Pamela Olson on March 10, 2011

    Jon Stewart and warmongering Bill Kristol

    link to

    link to

    Jon Stewart David “axis of evil” Frum Now remember Frum wrote most of Bush’s lying speeches and totally supported the invasion of Iraq and helped in a big way promote that invasion)

    link to
    link to

    Jon Stewart with Condi “mushroom cloud” Rice
    link to

    Jon Stewart/Don “WMD’s in Iraq” Rumsfeld
    link to

    Jon Stewart with Chris Matthews
    link to


    Jon Stewart and Chris matthews
    link to

    Report this comment

  7. Citizen
    March 22, 2011, 2:59 pm

    The last few seconds of the Big Pharma parody skit:
    “Offer not valid in West Bank or Gaza.”

    I wonder if any American comic will ever tackle this subject with more than this rock bottom hence nearly virtual throwaway line. I guess a half a century or so is not yet long enough to take some big potshots at such a long-standing enthroned inconsistency and expect to have a somewhat profitable career as a satirist.

    • Philip Weiss
      March 22, 2011, 3:05 pm

      smart citizen, agreed

      • Pamela Olson
        March 22, 2011, 3:33 pm

        He seems to be poking little holes, though. Testing the waters. And there doesn’t seem to be much blowback, because that would just publicize his excellent (if understated) barbs.

        Hey, I’m a glass half full kinda girl. Keeps the ulcers away.

        I also tend to think carrots (praise) works better than sticks (browbeating). Resentment, like sexual frustration, can be channeled in dangerous ways…

        Incidentally, I’m reading Richard Forer’s book Breakthrough, in which he transitions from a clamp-minded Zionist to a passionate advocate of Palestinian human rights. He didn’t begin to change his mind until someone approached him in a respectful way and respectfully suggested a few sources that might contradict some of his beliefs.

        I know how hard it is to be ‘respectful’ to people who treat others as sub-human garbage. But just something to think about. People are people, and many are capable of genuine change.

      • Citizen
        March 22, 2011, 6:30 pm

        Hey Pamela, ever try to reason and give sources about the I-P situation with a self-described Christian who believes God gave the holy land to the Jews, anybody against the Jews is against God, and Islam is determined to rule over the infidels right here in the good old USA? I’ve tried it with some from my old high school. They wish me well and hope and pray I will someday see the light. You couldn’t budge these well-meaning Jack & Jill’s next door from their considered opinion/belief with dynamite. Their name is legion.

      • Pamela Olson
        March 22, 2011, 9:22 pm

        I said many. Not all. When I saw a Zionist kid heckle Rachel Corrie’s parents when they spoke at Stanford several years ago, I realized there were some people whom reason would just never reach. Heck, just trying to talk to my dad’s side of the family (they watch Fox News religiously) is an exercise in futility.

        But still, I have some hope and faith in the general decency of human beings. It takes a lot of effort and a huge amount of disinformation to brainwash people so thoroughly. And every generation comes in new — there’s always a possibility, however slim it might seem now, that some future generation will be raised right. And the transition has to take place one breakthrough at a time. (I used to be a fundamentalist Christian, you know.)

      • Lydda Four Eight
        March 23, 2011, 3:18 am

        here is the thing citizen, Christian fundies don’t listen to anyone but those who pass their heresy tests. they’re not going to listen to the Left and progressives b/c their worldview completely silences/ shuts off arguments of anyone that is red flagged “theologically”. on the other hand there are some fundies who have come out of this spell/ fog and are doing good to shed light on the dark corners of fundy thinking/ worldview.

      • Arnon Shwantzinger Too
        March 23, 2011, 8:32 am

        Israeli cable company HOT started airing Comedy Central in Israel this year. While I was excited to see Stewart saying he has not spoken out against the settlements a few weeks back, this one makes me kind of sad.

        As an Israeli, watching this, all I see is that the offer is not valid in the West Bank or Gaza. That’s it. It’s just a statement of fact. It’s not a critique. It’s not satire. It just is. Almost tautological.

        Stewart and Oliver express a position on other American interventions in the Middle East. They open the debate, poke holes. But they close the door on Gaza, the West Bank and Israel/Palestine as a whole. The Israeli audience can rest easy.

      • Kathleen
        March 23, 2011, 10:31 am

        “I also tend to think carrots (praise) works better than sticks (browbeating). ”

        Praise is nice of course. Specifically after the individual actually makes a move.

        Stewart and team are clearly serial “browbeaters” . Some of us who have been pounding them not only believe they have been seriously hypocritical…interesting to see if they could take some of their own medicine. They have gotten a pass on this issue for years. Healthy and effective to call them out.

        I don’t believe Stewart and team would have moved without the browbeating that some have been directing their way for quite a few years now. They were clearly complacent in this area. Either too chicken shit or Pep’s (progressive except for Palestine). Some movement.

        Interesting way to approach this issue. Neither Stewart or Oliver can be specifically targeted for saying “offer not valid in the West Bank or Gaza” A third party the announcer of the fantasy show.

        Safe for Stewart to point to Irans alleged issues but not safe for him to directly say “offer not valid in the West Bank or Gaza”
        Former CIA middle east analyst and Bush 43 official Flynt Leverett (Race for Iran)and Professor Juan Cole (Informed Comment) have said that the elections in Iran were as legal as ours.

    • Kathleen
      March 22, 2011, 3:39 pm

      Dylan Ratigan and Glenn Greenwald awhile back went way out of line on the I/P issue. They wiped up Cliff Mays endless list of lies with facts Would put money on it that Dylan Ratigan was hammered. (at the Salon site) He has not had Glenn Greenwald on since

      Cliff May vs. Glenn Greenwald (and Dylan Ratigan) on MSNBC (Update)

      Hey and even Keith Olbermann stepped out of the box when he had Ambassador Peck ( he had been on one of the ships) on after the executions on the Mavi Marmara.

      Keep pushing them

    • Kathleen
      March 22, 2011, 3:44 pm

      Carlin never even went there and I would have put a bet on him entering that territory when he saw the doors opening.

      All of his video clips of “we love war” and “who owns us” sure apply now. Well always really.

      Carlin is one of my gurus.

      The issue for me with Stewart is that so many people idolize him as if there have not been and continue to be “sacred cows” on his program. He promoted himself this way. He attacks Ahmadenejad but lets Netanyahu alone.

      The show is opening up a bit. But Pamela’s assertion that he is leading the way is just a bunch of hogwash

      • Pamela Olson
        March 22, 2011, 4:35 pm

        I should clarify: He’s leading the way among the moral and intellectual Lilliputians who pass for pundits in this country. The full-sized people are way ahead of him, obviously.

      • Citizen
        March 22, 2011, 6:36 pm

        Good clarification, Pam. I think Kathleen’s right about George Carlin–if alive, he’d be there right about now. Another Irish-American still alive and all over TV is Kathie Griffin. You can still see regular repeats of one of her early HBO specials where she comes right out and says she will joke about anybody but the Jews–that’s a no-no in the biz. Of course Sarah Silverman has, but first, she’s a loudly self-declared Jew, and second, her stuff is adolescent potty-mouth stuff or cute absurdities for infantile shock value about the Holocaust. Carlin was the highest sort of comedian, a regular philosopher of a higher order he was.

  8. maximalistNarrative
    March 22, 2011, 7:03 pm

    It interesting how often I am challenged here to explain my views but I am censored when I do. Clearly the comments policy does not prohibit the laying out of international law?

    I repeat: I wish the US had the moral clarity to stand up for the Jewish rights to our ENTIRE Land of Israel. The United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, and others, are bound by the Doctrine of Estoppel, which is codified into international law. Plainly this means it is illegal for the US to keep it’s embassy out of Jerusalem and moreso these countries are legally required to recognize Israeli Sovereignty over our lands in Aza (Hebrew word) Nablus (Not an Arabic name, comes from Neopolis, roman name to try to erase the Hebrew name Shechem), Jerusalem, (our eternal capital) and Beit El!

    Am Yisrael Chai!

    All you haters can go camping with nasrallah in his cave.

    • annie
      March 22, 2011, 7:40 pm

      Plainly this means it is illegal for the US to keep it’s embassy out of Jerusalem

      lol. you crack me up.

    • fuster
      March 22, 2011, 7:46 pm

      not having comments published is par for the course, Maximalist, but this mess of yours is hardly worth reading.
      this crap is even dumber than Entropic Wisconsin’s stuff.

    • RoHa
      March 22, 2011, 7:47 pm

      I think you should stop taking those pills. They’re clearly not doing you any good.

  9. chris o
    March 22, 2011, 10:47 pm

    First and foremost, it must be noted that Jon Stewart is a comedian and his show airs on Comedy Central. To really get into the weeds as to whether his political stand is correct misses the question, namely, Is it funny?

    I think Jon Stewart is great. He makes me laugh a lot, and think sometimes, too. Luckily, we generally share a world view, but as with anyone, not on everything. But there is no reason he should be the chosen one, a martyr for the Palestinian cause (forgive the religious imagery) especially since nothing in his past would show him to be that type of person. He’d rather be an entertainer. And an excellent one, albeit a little too juvenile but hey, you got to have that young audience.

    This bit here is pretty funny with its biting mockery of US foreign policy. There is some low-hanging fruit with Libya and Bahrain and Yemen for that matter all happening at the same time. And the last line on Gaza/West Bank is quite devastating. Reading it before viewing it really gave the line punch: “Offer not valid in West Bank or Gaza.” But it did slip by pretty quickly on the TV.

    • eGuard
      March 23, 2011, 2:05 am

      Probably he put it in as a sort of, uhm, small print. You know, insurance and legal stuff, to be used later on just in case.

    • Kathleen
      March 23, 2011, 10:33 am

      This “Stewart is a comedian” comment is a distraction. Stewart uses this excuse himself when he is called out on attacking some issues and not others. Specifically his or his team mates “sacred cow” issues.

      Stewart is far more than a “comedian” He knows it, the public knows it and so do you.

  10. Pixel
    March 23, 2011, 1:51 am

    GREAT STUFF!!! Thanks, Pamela!

    On top of the last line – the punchline – you gotta love the crotch-bomber!

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