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Trevor Noah, next ‘Daily Show’ host, is no fan of Israeli attacks on Gaza

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When South African comic Trevor Noah was announced as Jon Stewart’s replacement at The Daily Show, the very first question for a lot of us was, What are his views on Israel/Palestine? And soon the Jewish Telegraphic Agency unearthed this crack on Noah’s twitter page five years ago, not long after the attack on the Gaza flotilla:

Later, rightwing media suggested that Noah has a “Jewish problem,” meaning he’s anti-Semitic, because he has made Jewish cracks on twitter over the years, lame Jewish shtik of the sort that Jewish comics like Sarah Silverman make all the time. Pajamas Media speculated that Noah wouldn’t last another day.

Well, good news, today Comedy Central stood by Noah. Per the New York Times, its statement read in part: “Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included.”

In that Times piece, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League says that he welcomes Noah, but lay off the Jewish shtik.

We hope he will not cross the line from legitimate satire into offensiveness with jokes calling up anti-Semitic stereotypes and misogyny.

Noah’s real offense may be that he laid a finger on Israel. As Jamie Weinstein of the neoconservative Daily Caller wrote in a piece titled, “Is New ‘Daily Show’ Host Trevor Noah Anti-Israel?,” the tweet above “does seem to suggest that Noah believes Israel is an inherently belligerent country.” Gosh, is that possible? Israel had just killed nine unarmed Turks on a humanitarian boat bound for Gaza, in international waters.

Noah has obviously followed Gaza attacks. The JTA also unearthed the following post by Noah when he attended/observed a rally against the Gaza slaughter last summer. By the way, that onslaught killed 2100-2300 Gazans, among them 500 children. More than 70 Israelis were killed, almost all in uniform.

Trevor Noah instagram post

Trevor Noah instagram post

We welcome Noah too. Jon Stewart was always too careful/cute about the conflict for our taste. Noah is more likely to solidify a cultural trend: more and more young Democrats, women and people of color are taking a very dim view of the belligerent actions of the so-called only democracy in the Middle East.

Thanks to Peter Voskamp.

Update: The story made the national news last night, with NBC featuring a tweet to Noah from Rosanne Barr conflating anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel: “U should cease sexist & anti semitic ‘humor’ about jewish women & Israel.” NPR has also covered the story, noting Noah’s jokes about overweight women. Culture critic Eric Deggans called on Noah to assure viewers that he isn’t “a sexist anti-Semite.” Deggans:

Noah has also said his mother’s half Jewish, and Jon Stewart often jokes about his own Jewish heritage on “The Daily Show.” And it seems in popular culture we’ve accepted this idea that people who are part of a minority group can make fun of that group in ways that outsiders can’t. But it also doesn’t seem that Trevor Noah has publicly identified much with being Jewish, and there’s nothing in these controversial tweets that indicates he’s making fun of himself or sees himself as part of Jewish culture.

 

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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33 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    March 31, 2015, 6:00 pm

    RE: Noah’s real offense may be that he laid a finger on Israel. As Jamie Weinstein of the neoconservative Daily Caller wrote in a piece titled, “Is New ‘Daily Show’ Host Trevor Noah Anti-Israel?,” the tweet above “does seem to suggest that Noah believes Israel is an inherently belligerent country.” Gosh, is that possible? ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Not only is it possible, but Likudnik Israel’s (i.e., Revisionist Zionism’s) “Iron Wall” policy (partly funded by the U.S.) IS IN FACT inherently belligerent! ! ! Belligerence is the very essence of it.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Iron Wall (essay), as of 12/09/13]:

    [EXCERPT] . . . [Ze’ev] Jabotinsky argued that the Palestinians would not agree to a Jewish majority in Palestine, and that “Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”[1] The only solution to achieve peace and a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, he [Ze’ev Jabotinsky] argued, would be for Jews to unilaterally decide its borders and defend them with the strongest security possible. . .

    SOURCE – http://web.archive.org/web/20131209232359/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Wall_%28essay%29

    ENTIRE ‘IRON WALL’ ESSAY: “The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs)”, By Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1923 – http://www.marxists.de/middleast/ironwall/ironwall.htm

    P.S. ALSO SEE: “The Ethics of the Iron Wall”, By Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1923 – http://www.jabotinsky.org/multimedia/upl_doc/doc_191207_181762.pdf

    • JLewisDickerson
      March 31, 2015, 6:40 pm

      P.P.S. I can’t help but wonder whether Goodluck Jonathan’s loss in Nigeria’s presidential election had anything to do with his having backed out (under intense U.S. pressure) of supporting Jordan’s UN Security Council resolution (in December of last year) on the future of Palestine. If so, it is truly a case of “just desserts” (no matter what Grammar Girl says)!
      Nigeria’s abstention deprived the resolution of the nine votes needed (it only got eight), thereby making it unnecessary for the U.S. to use its veto once again in support of Likudnik Israel.~ http://www.juancole.com/2015/01/defeat-resolution-palestine.html

  2. Kay24
    March 31, 2015, 6:02 pm

    I am glad Phil wrote this article. Right now there is some kind of backlash to this Jon Stewart replacement, and knowing how the zio press loves to attack anyone who will criticize Israel, Trevor Noah is a marked man. Either he may have to compromise and assure them he will (like most media personnel) keep off the criticism of Israel to save his job, or gracefully withdraw because of the pressure (Jewish groups), and accusations of anti-semitism even false ones, go far in this country.

    As I mentioned before, Noah has lived, breathed, and knows apartheid policies when he sees it, and if he calls Israel out on it, or speaks negatively of it’s on going crimes, those who control the media are not going to be happy. They want mindless puppets that can be jerked around, and cannot utter a single negative word about Israel/Jews.

    Isn’t it strange that when it comes to Islamaphobia and criticism of Muslim nations, the Muslims are always reminded about “free speech”, but when it comes to criticism of Israel/Jews, well, no one ever brings the word “free speech” up? Then it is “anti-semitism”.

    • Krauss
      March 31, 2015, 6:14 pm

      Jon Stewart couldn’t have retired faster. He was craven to Israel until the very end.
      It was very clear that the attacks got to him and he ultimately cared much more about Jewish acceptance than about Palestinian lives.

      That may sound harsh but I think it’s correct.

      When Bibi went full-out in the election campaign, Jon Stewart was trying to find all the buttons to press in order to draw attention to the GOP. Oh, they’re just like us!. It’s basically a reverse “shared values” propaganda piece. Oh, don’t you worry, liberal America, Bibi is their Bush. They’ll get their Obama soon.

      They won’t.
      But Stewart won’t be around to tell them and I’m thankful for that.

      The best show host as of right now is doubtlessly Mr. Oliver. Still disappointed that he is so meek on Israel. I think he does it out of deference to his Jewish friends. Don’t blame him, you gotta get along with your friends, but still an issue. The guy is obviously a very moral human being but he won’t touch Israel. Cowardice.

      • Citizen
        March 31, 2015, 7:03 pm

        The Goldstone syndrome.

      • Kay24
        March 31, 2015, 7:18 pm

        Jon Stewart has on occasion criticized Netanyahu/Israel, but it is kind of swift and the subject changed faster. Every one seems afraid of losing their jobs by criticizing Israel, and will toe the line to keep it. When have we ever heard anyone in the media, refer freely to the occupation, and suggest that perhaps those rockets keep coming into Israel as a protest to that decades long occupation, or that Palestinians have a right to be mad because of that, and the on going theft of land? In la la zio media world, there is no occupation nor theft of lands. Free speech becomes a victim whenever it comes to criticism of Israel.

    • Doubtom
      April 1, 2015, 11:49 pm

      Stranger still, in my opinion, is how a group representing barely 2% of the population can have such an effect on the nation, where it can control what gets aired in our media. Think about it!
      It’s called ‘organization’ and the jews pay attention to organization before all else. An utterance on the West coast in the morning, can result in a reaction before noon on the East coast. They’re NOT everywhere,,, they’re just in all the right places.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 2, 2015, 3:31 am

        and the jews pay attention to organization before all else.

        hmm, not all of them. while ‘they’ may represent barely 2% of the population, they don’t act in unison. think about what 2% of the 2% can do. it only take a very few to control the masses. and most american jews are part of the masses, just like the rest of us.

  3. Joe Catron
    March 31, 2015, 6:05 pm

    “Israel had just killed nine unarmed Turks on a humanitarian boat bound for Gaza, in international waters.”

    That’s technically true, but we shouldn’t forget that the toll eventually rose to ten.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/05/24/363917/victim-of-israel-raid-on-marmara-dies

    Or nine plus Furkan Doğan, a Turkish-American, if you’re counting citizenship, rather than ethnicity.

  4. Krauss
    March 31, 2015, 6:05 pm

    I listened to a podcast where they interviewed the guy when I heard the rumors. He was very positive about the UK, even if he comes from a non-Anglo family. He particularly praised them on race relations.

    I think that is probably going to be key to the ongoing UK/US alliance. I personally never really bought into the whole military aspect of the special relationship. Young people will identify on emotions and values. How can a young minorities like Trevor identify with a state like Israel versus one(s) like the UK or Australia?
    That’s what counts. People don’t care just how many soldiers America’s allies sent into a doomed and illegal war. That only counts for the pathological beltway crowd.

    It turns out you don’t need family history in a place to feel kinship towards it.

    As for your predictions, I sure hope you’re right, but the immediate effect may be somewhat of a chill. He has ADL’s top bigot Foxman’s foot on his neck and a willing media. It’s not just neocons who are slamming him, JTA/Haaretz and even the NYT ran a piece with dark undertones.

    If we’re going to see a change of direction, I’m assuming it’ll take a few years as he will settle in. Either way, it’s coming alright.

  5. Jenin Younes
    March 31, 2015, 6:35 pm

    I am really excited about this. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that he/Comedy Central don’t end up being intimidated by the zionists into forcing him to step down.

    • just
      March 31, 2015, 11:09 pm

      I’m excited about it, too! I don’t think that CC will succumb to their kvetching. I also think that Mr. Noah has the mettle to deal with much more than the average gent.

      It is Comedy Central, after all.

      :-}

    • just
      March 31, 2015, 11:13 pm
  6. Bumblebye
    March 31, 2015, 7:00 pm

    I’ve heard him on bbcR4, which often showcases new comedy, he was one of the few who impressed me. Unfortunately the prog is no longer available! But I looked it up, saw his pic (for the 1st time – I don’t do tv), followed the link to his wiki page and discovered he claims his mum is half Jewish. As with many people, maybe that small connection thru relatives led him to noticing where others may not, and the South African background led him to the critical stance he dares to hold.

  7. pabelmont
    March 31, 2015, 7:03 pm

    No Jewish shtik? Aww, I think Jewish jokes are very funny. But I also like Polish jokes and shudder to think that there may be Poles nearby when I tell one. Same with viola jokes and nearby viola players (hard for me because my partner is a viola player).

    OK, NO ETHNIC JOKES! And that means that no Jewish comedians can tell Jewish jokes either, because if they can tell them (and can they ever), then so should anyone else (even in NYC they cannot pretend that there is no-one in the audience other than Jews), otherwise the right to tell Jewish jokes is turned into ethnic property, cutting out lots of comedians and just plain funny people. Have I told you the one about the viola-playing Polish rabbi? So, * * *

    • johneill
      March 31, 2015, 11:27 pm

      but for some reason jokes about muslims get a hearty slap on the back, even (especially) if the punchline is: ‘that’s not a camel, that’s my wife’.

    • RoHa
      April 1, 2015, 5:42 am

      Viola players need a viola player’s state where they can be safe from this continual discrimination and persecution.

      • larick
        April 1, 2015, 5:06 pm

        They could get the concert master to get permission for an open meeting to insult the conductor. That would distract everyone from them selling all the violins, pocketing the proceeds, and re-populating the violin chairs with viola players. If anyone complained, they were obviously always anti-Violists all along.

  8. DaBakr
    March 31, 2015, 7:16 pm

    I wonder if a conservative comedy network could ever flourish in the US? And FoxNews doesn’t count

    • just
      March 31, 2015, 10:56 pm

      They really don’t do funny. I wonder why, sometimes.

      Interesting viewpoint in Haaretz several days ago:

      “Why we’ll never see a Jon Stewart or John Oliver in Israel

      Oliver’s goal is not just to entertain, but also to present an opinionated, reasoned, unapologetic view, whose liberal agenda is obvious. Israeli television doesn’t have even one show like this

      Leftists in Israel display embarrassing enthusiasm whenever leading satirists on American TV make any mention of the political and diplomatic situation here. Every time one of them talks about the goings on here, my Facebook feed is immediately flooded with delighted, admiring shares.

      This smacks of provincialism. For the dwindling number of Israelis with a universal viewpoint, who feel emotionally closer to New York, Los Angeles, London and Berlin than to Ashdod, Yeroham and Acre, what seems banal, vulgar and common on [Israeli satirical TV shows] Eretz Nehederet and Gav Hauma, appears high quality and prestigious when it comes from America. But it also points to a huge hunger for a certain kind of satire that Israeli television deliberately excludes.

      Take John Oliver for example. Like his mentor Jon Stewart, he sits for half an hour presenting, in a satirical air, an opinionated, reasoned, unapologetically biased statement, whose liberal agenda is obvious. He doesn’t come merely to entertain. He comes to convey a piercing message in an entertaining tone. There’s a difference.

      Israeli television doesn’t have even one show like this. No opinionated, controversial Israeli journalist has been given the scope of freedom of speech that comes even close to Oliver’s. You won’t find any such thing on content providers Hot or Yes and certainly not on the other channels.

      I deliberately called Oliver a “journalist.” Stewart is also a journalist. They are journalists with comic skills. Journalists who use humor as their main work tool. But they’re not comedians. A comedian intends to make you laugh. A journalist like Oliver uses humor to convey a researched, well-argued message. A funny journalist is immeasurably more dangerous to the government than a comedian. None of Israeli television’s channels have one funny journalist like that. And if there ever is one (there won’t be, but let’s assume for the sake of argument there is), he won’t be a leftist. Because the television chiefs are afraid of the rightist majority’s anger. That’s bad for business. In this industry, “Tel Avivian” is a four-letter word.

      Stewart and Oliver don’t teach us anything about Benjamin Netanyahu, but they do teach us something about freedom of speech. When Jon Stewart called the applause for Netanyahu in Congress “the longest blowjob a Jewish man has ever received” there was no Lior Shlein [Israeli comedy show host] beside him to balance him…..

      …… The format is simple, and yet you won’t get to see it in Hebrew. Satirical research is something that arouses people to think. It influences. It changes opinions. The captains of Israeli TV don’t want to deal with such a headache.”

      http://www.haaretz.com/life/movies-television/.premium-1.649094

      In the full article he claims that Oliver has an obvious “liberal agenda”. If being funny and giving a hoot about justice makes one worthy of the “liberal” or “leftist” label, well then, ok.

      • RockyMissouri
        April 1, 2015, 10:54 am

        Just: Thank you for an excellent comment.

  9. yonah fredman
    March 31, 2015, 8:20 pm

    Jon Stewart is the most prominent critic of Israel in American show business today (this side of Mel Gibson). His replacement by an unknown is NOT going to help the anti Israel movement in the short range.

    • just
      March 31, 2015, 9:00 pm

      “Unknown” to you. He’s funny, he’s smart, and he’s talented.

      I welcome the change. Change can be a good thing, especially in these increasingly racially- charged times.

      I think I’ll give him a chance.

  10. just
    March 31, 2015, 8:47 pm

    What could be wrong with guy named Noah?

  11. tokyobk
    March 31, 2015, 9:52 pm

    Not surprisingly the Africans writing about him are more interesting than most in the West, and better able to handle him as a complete human being, not as a good or bad token. I think he was hired in part as the first, and being slammed or praised by white liberals within the same dyad. In fact his commentary has been both sharp and crude. I wish him the best including on being able to comment on Israel/Palestine and race and gender relations as he sees fit.

    https://medium.com/matter/admit-it-your-fave-is-problematic-2dfa692f557b

    http://fusion.net/story/112600/trevor-noah-is-funny-but-hes-no-jon-stewart-south-africans-say/

  12. chris o
    April 1, 2015, 1:49 am

    Phil, what’s with the plural “our”: “Jon Stewart was always too careful/cute about the conflict for our taste.” Not mine. Sure, I prefer Chomsky or Glenn Greenwald on Israel, but Jon Stewart was just fine. He was harsh. Better than anyone else on the boob tube, perhaps.

    And you always do this. Trevor the savior. Chris Matthews the savior. I doubt Trevor will not go an inch beyond what Jon Stewart did, baring unforeseen circumstances. And I just hope he doesn’t hold back.

  13. amigo
    April 1, 2015, 7:47 am

    This is slightly OT but couldn,t find anywhere most appropriate to put it.

    http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-Can-the-ICC-go-after-settlements-as-war-crimes-395777

    Some of the lies in this article !!.

    1,

    ” Legal considerations aside, the PA reportedly will delay pushing forward with the ICC as part of an informal deal with Israel to receive its custom tax revenue which Israel was withholding and general diplomatic pressure may prevent the Palestinians or the ICC from moving any real cases forward. ” .

    Did n,t the Palestinians deny this two days ago.I believe Annie dealt with this.

    2,

    “Baker argued that the issue of complimentarity, that the ICC cannot get involved on an issue unless the national courts are unable or unwilling to investigate the issue, could be raised.”

    Since when did Israel carry out a credible investigation that follows the normal legal process.

    3,

    “He stated that Israel as a general matter holds to the settlements legality and does not build on private Palestinian land.” Baker

    We all know that Israel has built settlements on mostly Private Palestinian land.Somebody wrote a report on that some years back.Cannot recall her name.In any event , the net is replete with reports on these crimes.

    4,

    “Moreover, in those cases where Israel does build on private Palestinian land, the Attorney-General and the High Court of Justice review cases and return the land to the Palestinians if they prove their case. “baker

    Sure they do , but try proving your case if you are a Palestinian arguing it in a zionist kangaroo court.

    There is lots more of this propaganda in the article.No pay wall so read it and cringe or preferably , just laugh.

  14. pdidy4322
    April 1, 2015, 8:09 am

    trevor noah makes fun of all races religions sexes including himself and if the jews are uncomfortable with it it shows their insecurities as a nation due to their atrocities that they have conducted throughout history

    • yonah fredman
      April 1, 2015, 11:17 am

      atrocities throughout history. what before zionism? killing kids for their blood for our matzas. squeezing rent money from our slums? sounds like we’ve got another great contributor to anti Jewish sentiment here. welcome, hater.

    • larick
      April 1, 2015, 4:01 pm

      “Throughout history”? Zionism claims to represent Jews, but not all Jews agree, and less Jews in US even know what crimes Israel has committed. “all are responsible some are to blame”…What other crimes are you referring to, rather than a blanket accusation? Killing Jesus, “biblical” stories? And “insecurities”? Again, do you find it surprising that people who have always been a small minority and have been occasionally oppressed might feel “insecurities”? I assume this dialogue is about information as well as personal preferences or blanket stereotype prejudices, so please clarify.

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