Jon Stewart can’t touch Roger Waters’s Palestinian work with a bargepole


On Monday night, Jon Stewart’s show was nervy, as usual. It ran a wonderful piece savaging CNN for gutting investigative journalism. It made fun of griping about Obama’s almost all-white-male braintrust. It quoted Paul Krugman calling Stewart “lazy” for mocking his trillion-dollar coin idea– and Stewart copping to his ignorance of economics. 

And it featured Roger Waters, the segment above. Stewart introduced Waters by speaking about his politics:

“Every time I see you, you, the archetypal rebellious rock-and-roller are just out there doing good for the world– and I wanted to thank you for that.”

What is Waters doing? Well, the 12/12 benefit for Sandy victims. And he’s helped form a band of 12 wounded veterans at Walter Reed hospital. Not a word about Palestine.

This is Roger Waters who electrified the United Nations General Assembly 6 weeks ago. For Waters, the Palestinian issue is central: Waters was a juror on the Russell Tribunal for Palestine a month before his U.N. speech, he held a concert for Palestinian kids, he called for tearing down the security/apartheid wall. You would think it deserves a syllable from old Stewart– especially in the context of sending up others’ failures in truth, justice, and the comedic way.

That said, this is on Roger Waters, too, for self-censorship. And it may be that Jon Stewart and he decided to salute Waters’s work for Palestine in code. Stewart couldn’t address this directly — too upsetting to the corporate leaders — but wanted to offer tacit moral reinforcement. And so when Stewart asked Waters, “What keeps it [the song ‘The Wall’] fresh for you?” Waters responded with this inspiring, humble statement:

“The version of ‘The Wall’ I’m doing now differs from the one that I did in 1979-1980.. [It] is far more universal in its message. It’s no longer about that miserable self-serving sniveling little Roger that we all hated all those years ago…. It’s more about [what you referred to at the start] the rebellion that is trying to understand the world and if possible help people occasionally. One does have empathy for people who are in trouble.”

A beautiful statement about an artist’s maturity, and all about Waters’s work for Palestine. Just don’t say the word. 

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10 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    January 16, 2013, 5:02 pm

    Jon Stewart “nervy as usual” with the exception of the Israeli Palestinian issue and Israel’s leaders, illegal settlements. Well his show and writers have dipped their toes in to this critical issue the last few years. And when they do it has been incredible. On the mark. Just noticed for decades how Stewart would make fun of Iran’s leaders, the Pope etc etc and never ever touch Israel’s leaders etc.

    Amazing that Waters did not take the opportunity and add to his list of good works his work for the Palestinians. Wonder if someone asked him not to. He is so focused on this issue surprising he did not bring it up.

    Glad you did not spin Stewart as having been edgy on the I/P issue. He has been part of the better late than never crowd but let’s not create a myth around that

  2. Mayhem
    January 16, 2013, 5:18 pm

    You guys need to realise that access to The Daily Show videos is not available to those who don’t have the privilege of living in North America. The condescending message I get when I try to go there is “at least you have kangaroos and boomerangs”.

  3. Susie Kneedler
    January 16, 2013, 7:06 pm

    Do either of these links work for you?:

    (YouTube had it last night:, but the site now says:
    “This video contains content from Viacom, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
    Sorry about that.”)

  4. DICKERSON3870
    January 16, 2013, 7:12 pm

    RE: “Every time I see you, you, the archetypal rebellious rock-and-roller are just out there doing good for the world– and I wanted to thank you for that.” ~ John Stewart (speaking to Roger Waters)

    A MID-WINTER EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, sponsored by the makers of new Ziocaine Über-Xtreme®: It’s guaran-damn-teed to blow your effing mind!™

    “. . . Home
    Home again
    I like to be here
    When I can

    When I come home
    Cold and tired
    It’s good to warm my bones
    Beside the fire

    Far away
    Across the field
    Tolling on the iron bell
    Calls the faithful to their knees
    And hear the softly spoken magic spell”
    ~ Pink Floyd, “Time”

    Pink Floyd: Time [VIDEO, 06:39] –

  5. dbroncos
    January 16, 2013, 10:19 pm

    No doubt Daily Show producers set the agenda as per what was discussed between Stewart and Waters. Speaking in “code” about I/P is preaching to the choir.

  6. kalithea
    January 17, 2013, 11:22 pm

    Waters is a courageous, classy guy; Stewart…not so much.

  7. dionissis mitropoulos
    January 18, 2013, 8:59 am


    Roger Waters’ anti-Israel activism represents The Dark Side of him.

    And he has added another brick in the wall of anti-Israel discourse.

    But this can only mean that, even though we don’t need no education, he certainly does (on Israel issues).

    I will not pollute the forum any further i just called to say hello you.

    Your Zio-supremacist friend


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