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Did Oren’s iron dome of affability stop Colbert’s brilliant strikes?

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Last night Stephen Colbert did two segments on Israel, the second featuring Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who was born in NY and raised in NJ– origins that Colbert made fun of by stating over and over again that Oren is “from Israel.”

The initial reviews in our inbox said that Colbert had struck again. “My husband thought Colbert had nailed Oren and wondered whether Oren would ever come back after tonight.” “It’s horrid, but don’t stop. Colbert gets in a great last line!”

Certainly Colbert is on to the special relationship, and disturbed by it, as he makes clear in the first segment:

There is no greater friend of the state of Israel than yours truly, certainly a better friend than Barack Obama who has repeatedly snubbed our ally Israel by refusing to visit the country…

And now the greatest insult of all… now Obama thinks he can wipe out his shameful record of never visiting Israel by– visiting Israel.

My He’bros’, he doesn’t get you!…

Colbert mocks Netanyahu for all but endorsing Obama’s late opponent– whom he calls “Putz Schmuckney” — and then riffs on Chuck Hagel’s misdemeanors. Colbert’s shtik about censoring criticism of Israel is pure wizardry. “Hagel has a history of troubling statements,” Colbert says, citing Hagel’s comments on the Jewish lobby intimidating folks on Capitol Hill and his declaration, “I’m not an Israeli senator, I’m a United States senator.” Then: 

Clearly this man does not understand that when it comes to Israel there are certain things you can’t say– for instance, implying that there are certain things you can’t say. Which there aren’t! You can say anything you want about Israel, which I would, but there isn’t. So there’s nothing to be said. And how dare Hagel say it!

In Part 2, Enter Oren, and Colbert starts making fun of him, and Oren smiles and buries the Iran story, says Israel is trying to make peace with the footdragging Palestinians.

SC: How’s Israel? Chosen people still chosen?

MO: Chosen people is in the Bible. We’re the Jews. We’re the chosen ally of the United States, ultimate ally of the Untied States, you know there’s a lot of turbulence going on there right now… We have a lot of common challenges, Stephen… We’re going to try and get the peace process moving again with the Palestinians, we’re going to try to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

Colbert busts Netanyahu for endorsing Obama’s opponent: “But Netanyahu wanted the other guy, …it’s absolutely clear to anybody who’s got eyes in their skull, he wanted the other guy…… He rolled the dice the wrong way, Bibi”

To which Oren responds: “We do not, Israel does not get involved in internal politics in Israel, err the United States.”

What follows is Colbert’s way of saying, Bullshit. He leans toward Oren and cries, “You’re adorable! You’re adorable!”

Then Colbert riffs off the fact that Oren comes from Israel but sure seems like an American– “I thought you were going to pull a Captain Kirk. ‘I work in outer space, I’m from Iowa'”

Then the Iran-bait, and the nuclear weapons joke:

What about Iran, when do you guys start bombing… When does the bombing start?… Ambassador Oren, I want you to tell Netanyahu when you get back there that the Colbert Nation is behind you on this one, and if you do bomb Iran we are right behind you with just as many nuclear weapons as you admit to having.  

Well, Stephen Colbert gets the story. But Michael Oren is so smooth and unflappable and, smiling Jersey boy, that he seems to have done fine. The clueless will watch this and think, Affable Israel, our best friend.

(Hat tip Karen Platt)

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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76 Responses

  1. just on March 6, 2013, 2:25 pm

    Colbert was/is brilliant. It was great to watch; Oren was powerless to do anything other than to freeze that smarmy smile on his face, and tell lies with his All- American accent.

  2. tokyobk on March 6, 2013, 2:26 pm

    Your last point is the exact purpose of Colbert.
    We live in the Age of Snark and he is one of the masters. Everything is poked fun at nothing is serious.
    This type of appearance take pressure off of Israel, even for clued in viewers.

    • just on March 6, 2013, 2:43 pm

      I found the audience uncharacteristically quiet during this segment…..

    • on March 6, 2013, 3:01 pm

      tokyobk – It was in fact even better than the Donkey skit. For those who are hearing and understanding what is said.
      The problem is not with the show, it is with us, the audience. Rightly called “clueless”. It’s impossible for anyone who understands the words and judges based on the exact words rather than the setting and the body language (i.e. is not a moron –to use a statistically incorrect expression) to avoid getting the full message here.

      • seafoid on March 6, 2013, 3:17 pm

        He really, as the Brits would say, took the piss out of Oren.

      • tokyobk on March 6, 2013, 5:15 pm

        You are being played because you are convinced Israel is going to fall apart next week and when the majority of Americans are allowed to see things as they are they will demand America cut ties.

        Oren as you say below is a master. He is not going on any venue where he can’t do his job and diffusing pressure on Colbert wile cracking jokes is an ideal platform for him.

      • on March 6, 2013, 9:51 pm

        tokyobk – Agreed, but not because of Colbert. Because we are, to say it going against Statistics 101, WE ARE ALL MORONS.

      • W.Jones on March 6, 2013, 10:26 pm

        Good point, Toky. He went on 60 Minutes out of a desire to oppose the program running. He goes on Colbert’s show mainly to speak how he wants others to perceive the State’s policies. Colbert’s criticisms were not really that strong, IMO.

        The best and funniest IMO was whether it is possible to openly oppose the State’s policies – and whether it is possible to even ask that question.

      • seafoid on March 7, 2013, 3:30 am

        “You are being played because you are convinced Israel is going to fall apart next week ”

        Dysfunctional systems don’t collapse overnight

        “I recalled a conversation in 1991 with Professor Stanley Cohen, the eminent sociologist who died last month. We were discussing IDF human rights abuses, which Cohen worked tirelessly to expose. He turned to talk instead about his profound concern for young Israelis, specifically the brutalising effect that militarisation was having, and would have, on successive generations of young men and women. At the time his concerns seemed misdirected; on reflection what struck me was their prophetic accuracy.”

    • American on March 6, 2013, 3:09 pm

      ”This type of appearance take pressure off of Israel”..tokyobk

      Yes I think it tends to do that whether it’s by design or not. Maybe some do it that way by design and others do it because they are afraid to take on Israel seriously.
      But it often reminds me of the ziobots who use the self deprecating “JOOOOS” thing as a ridicule of critics.

  3. pabelmont on March 6, 2013, 2:37 pm

    Yes the clueless will remain clueless. They will know there’s a joke (as little kids do when their parents laugh) but they won’t know what the joke is, tho perhaps they’ll also laugh — as the audience did here.

    Next time all this has got to be more clearly drawn. For the moment, there are still many things you cannot say out loud — on mainstream national TV — about poor little Israel. BTW, how many nukes was that?

  4. seafoid on March 6, 2013, 3:20 pm

    “We are going to try to get the peace process moving again” . Sure.

  5. hophmi on March 6, 2013, 3:29 pm

    “The initial reviews in our inbox said that Colbert had struck again.”

    The 4 percenters, no doubt.

    • Cliff on March 6, 2013, 4:24 pm

      Rofl as opposed to the 30 per centers.

      Trying to bully truth with your megaphone bullshit? Fail.

    • Avi_G. on March 6, 2013, 4:55 pm

      hophmi says:
      March 6, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      “The initial reviews in our inbox said that Colbert had struck again.”

      The 4 percenters, no doubt.

      Say, what percentage do Jews make up of the US population?

      • hophmi on March 7, 2013, 12:51 pm

        Under 2%. Does it matter here? Israel has support way beyond the Jewish community.

        4% is the percentage of Americans who think the US should favor the Palestinians over the Israelis. 31% is the percentage of American who think the US should favor the Israelis over the Palestinians. So I’m guessing the people who were excited by Colbert’s parody of Republican pandering and digs at Bibi’s meddling (which they misread as somehow hard criticism of Israel) are part of the 4%, not the 31%.

      • annie on March 7, 2013, 3:20 pm

        no hops, they are probably part of the over 50% who think they should be treated equally. that’s so obvious it should go without saying. i ignored you first time around but now that you’re doubling down i couldn’t help but burst your little bubble.

      • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 3:48 pm

        @ Annie
        Yeah, ignore hophmi, as he ignored the 55% of Americans in the same poll who want their government to treat the Israelis and Palestinians the same way. In a poll, all depends on how a question is asked, and how the poll list was determined. Hophmi also ignores the fact the US mainstream media gives out no news to Dick and Jane about Israel unless it’s praising Israel or conflating Israel with America in terms of state values and interests. Interesting that Colbert did this, not the other, the Jewish guy. I’d bet most of the audience did not get Colbert’s satire, which is what Oren counted on; all he had to do is smile benignly.

      • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 4:05 pm

        OK, I just watched the two video clips in this article. Colbert clearly kicked the shit out of the Israeli-US special relationship thing in the top one. In the second one below it, with Oren–not so deft or biting, but Colbert did let in that zinger at the end, that US was right behind Israel in its attack on Iran–with the same amount of nuke bombs as Israel admits to having. I thought Oren’s performance was moronic considering what Colbert said. He was like Oren’s dummy in a comic act, which is what it was.

        On reconsidering, Colbert did a good job in these two video clips. Where’s Jon Stewart on this subject?

  6. seafoid on March 6, 2013, 3:33 pm

    Oren is the Grand Wizard of Hasbara .

    • thetumta on March 6, 2013, 8:45 pm

      No, Steven Colbert is the “Grand Wizard of Hasbara”! They’re in deep shit. Reminds me of the first time I saw SNL, back in country from Asia. Everybody in the day room that night was left questioning everything we had just been part of and then when we went back, but we went back with a different viewpoint. Nothing was said that night, nothing was discussed, but everything had changed. Things were never the same. A Tipping point, I think?

      Hej! Tumta

      • W.Jones on March 6, 2013, 10:21 pm

        I am confused what you are saying.

        Do you mean Colbert was speaking pro-State Hasb? Are you referring to the SNL closed episode on Hagel’s nomination? What do you mean by the day room and what were you part of?

      • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 4:08 pm

        @ W.Jones
        I have the same questions for thetumta.

      • W.Jones on March 7, 2013, 8:11 pm

        I don’t even know what tumta means. :D

  7. W.Jones on March 6, 2013, 3:54 pm

    “There’s one country in the Middle East that’s strong, stable, and proudly pro-American.”
    Armenia? Can a 60 year war in the Middle East be part of “stability?”

    “There’s a situation in Syria now”.
    And whose foreign policy do we have to thank for that?

    As to deciding the presidency, “Israel does not get involved in internal US policies”.
    Can you spot the keyword here?

    • wondering jew on March 7, 2013, 6:06 pm

      w. jones- How is Israel to blame for the situation in Syria? I understand that israel can be blamed for all the US support to the Mubarak regime, but Syria?!

  8. W.Jones on March 6, 2013, 4:09 pm

    Wikipedia says he is from upstate NY.

  9. Avi_G. on March 6, 2013, 4:53 pm

    Aid to Israel is on the decline, Colbert asserted.

    In Hebrew, you read the charts from right to left.

    I love it.

    Meanwhile, Michael Oren:

    “Stable, strong, democratic”.

    You know, Schmuckity, it’s easy to be “stable” when you keep destabilizing by force other countries in the region, and installing, backing and protecting Israel-friendly and Israel-serving dictators.

    It’s not a feat of Jewish ingenuity or Jewish intellect.

    As for your claim that Israel is “democratic”, like Colbert said, “You’re adorable”. Who the **** are you kidding?

    • Rusty Pipes on March 6, 2013, 9:39 pm

      Colbert telling Oren that he’s adorable is just as funny as his telling Bill O’Reilly that he admires him because Bill’s message is all about Love. After the majority of democratic delegates voted against the zionist-friendly change in the party platform (and it got covered in the MSM) and the SNL spoof of the over-the-top Hegel hearings, Colbert can assume that a good percentage of his audience understands his subtext with Oren.

      • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 4:10 pm

        @ Rusty
        Yeah, I hope you are right about that. Apparently Colbert thinks so. I hope he does more satire on Israel-US love fest.

    • hophmi on March 7, 2013, 12:54 pm

      “In Hebrew, you read the charts from right to left. ”

      A great joke. Don’t misread Colbert’s nightly parody of conservatives for hard criticism of Israel.

      Colbert told Oren he was adorable when Oren tried to suggest that Bibi wasn’t taking sides in the election. That was adorable.

      But it was not adorable when Oren called Israel stable, strong, and democratic. That was the truth, and sums up why a large plurality (sometimes a majority) of Americans sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians.

      • W.Jones on March 7, 2013, 3:54 pm

        Was South Africa democratic in the 1970’s?

      • Donald on March 7, 2013, 3:59 pm

        “But it was not adorable when Oren called Israel stable, strong, and democratic. That was the truth, and sums up why a large plurality (sometimes a majority) of Americans sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians.”

        I don’t know the names of the different logical fallacies, but I think there are a couple buried in here. First, assuming you’re right about the polls, you assume that the majority of Americans know enough about Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians to have an informed judgment. Maybe they do, but it seems doubtful. Many probably couldn’t find Israel on a map. Those who can maybe have heard that we should support Israel because God blesses those who do. Others only hear what the MSM or their politicians tell them. I never feel comfortable citing a poll which shows that the majority of Americans support my position on this or that issue, because there’s usually no good reason to think it’s a well-informed judgment. That’s true of my own opinions on some things.

        Second, the very notion that one should support Israel over the Palestinians because Israel is a strong stable democracy presupposes that if a country is a democracy it must be doing the right thing. But even the most casual examination of American history would reveal the falsity of that position. At best, democratic systems guard the rights of the people who can vote and even that isn’t guaranteed. There’s no reason why a democratic US couldn’t steal land from the Native Americans or a democratic Israel couldn’t steal land from Palestinians. And in fact that’s what happens. Democracies are no better than the people who vote in them. (Sometimes they’re worse.)

      • eljay on March 7, 2013, 5:25 pm

        >> But it was not adorable when Oren called Israel stable, strong, and democratic. That was the truth, and sums up why a large plurality (sometimes a majority) of Americans sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians.

        1. It was, at best, only a partial or a selective truth.

        2. If many/most Americans sympathize with Israel despite the fact that Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and overtly and proudly supremacist “Jewish State”, born of terrorism and ethnic cleansing and maintained and expanded by means of a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder, one can only conclude that many/most Americans are – to put it very politely – poorly informed.

      • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 4:13 pm

        @ hophmi
        Lates poll show over a majority of Americans want their government to treat Israelis and Palestinians the same way. And this is despite the fact the US main media only allows a favorable view of Israel’s conduct and policies. Imagine if the truth about Israel got out to Dick and Jane.

      • seafoid on March 7, 2013, 4:14 pm

        Israel is hardly stable. It goes from one panic to the next. The hasbara gets more shrill as time goes on. Friends desert it. Citizens look for second passports. Criticism is called antisemitism.

        Israel is not democratic. Its institutions are weak. Pogroms are back. Tut tut.

      • Avi_G. on March 7, 2013, 5:39 pm

        hophmi says:
        March 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm

        “In Hebrew, you read the charts from right to left. ”

        A great joke. Don’t misread Colbert’s nightly parody of conservatives for hard criticism of Israel.

        Colbert told Oren he was adorable when Oren tried to suggest that Bibi wasn’t taking sides in the election. That was adorable.

        Great job pointing out the obvious.

        I’m not misunderstanding the joke. I used Colbert’s line “You’re adorable” to respond to one of Oren’s lies. And I don’t need your approval to use certain phrases in certain contexts.

  10. EUR1069 on March 6, 2013, 6:05 pm

    To which Oren responds: “We do not, Israel does not get involved in internal politics in Israel, err the United States.”

    The mother of all Freudian slips, man. The Zionist boychiks finally succeeded in morphing the political structures of both countries on the executive & legislative levels to such an extent that Oren reflexively makes no distinction between the two.


    • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 4:14 pm

      @ EUR1069
      Yep. Another such slip the other day, commented on this blog.

  11. W.Jones on March 6, 2013, 6:20 pm

    A New Jersey online newspaper says he changed his name to Oren at the request of a state ministry. Personally, I think Bornstein, his original one, is a cooler name, because it feels more down to earth and has character. Not really any real reason to change it in my mind, although I understand it’s just a name. Why would they do this though?

    • Ellen on March 6, 2013, 10:47 pm

      Seems to be what most all Europeans do when they move to Israel. The new pretend identity has to be adopted.

      Netanyahu’s family were Milkwoskys and then changed to what means “God’s gift.”

      Begin, Dyan, Sharon, Rabin’s family….they all changed their names when going to Israel.

      It is part of the myth making and shedding of real identity that does not fit the narrative, I guess.

      • Kathleen on March 7, 2013, 8:45 am

        Is this true about Netanyahu’s name. Remember Bibi talking about what Netanyahu means and then pointing at some ring “my precious” and how he holds the Israeli history and goods in that ring or some nonsense like that. Bibi “the U.S. is easily moved”

      • seafoid on March 7, 2013, 11:40 am

        Netanyahu should really mean “angel of death”

        They tried to reinvent themselves with new names but they can never escape their past. It drives everything they do.
        Even the way they speak Hebrew tells us they came from Yiddish.

      • Light on March 7, 2013, 2:39 pm

        Yes, it’s true about the name. Netanyahu’s father was born Mileikowsky but changed it to Netanyahu after emigrating from Poland to Palestine. Netanyahu in Hebrew means “God’s Gift”. Humility must not have been one of his virtues.

        At one of the AIPAC conventions he babbled about an ancient ring that was found which had the name Netanyahu inscribed on it to prove his connection to the land. As others have pointed out, it would have been more convincing had the ring been inscribed with Mileikowsky . Unfortunately, most people are not aware of his former family name.

        The Israeli Ambassador, Michael Oren changed his name from Bornstein to the less ostentatious Oren which means “Pine Tree” in Hebrew.

      • Kathleen on March 8, 2013, 3:47 pm

        I think I am going to start calling BB by his real last name. Netanyahu “god’s gift” aye yi yi. At least we see where Miliekowsky picked up his arrogance from…daddy. Can you imagine changing your last name to “god’s gift” As my Grandfather used to say as he would shake his head from side to side “aye yi yi”

      • W.Jones on March 7, 2013, 9:19 am

        What do “Cohen”, Levi, and Davidson get changed to? To me, those inherited last names can have a value of tracing to the past- and in those cases traces to the ancient past. (even if some with those names only have a cultural connection) Tale for example Isaac Bashevits Singer. I enjoyed his stories as a kid about life in the old country. It seems to me it’s worth his progeny keeping the name.

        Of course, they can have any name they like.

      • Light on March 7, 2013, 2:42 pm

        Cohen and Levi are already Hebrew names so immigrants with those last names didn’t get change them.

      • W.Jones on March 7, 2013, 3:59 pm

        What about Davidson? And why not translate the meaning of Mileikowsky into Hebrew? The thinking could be that the original Hebrew got slavicized (-owsky), so one would just need to revert it to return to their roots, which was the alleged romanticized goal.

    • on March 6, 2013, 11:01 pm

      Because like all spittle-dripping crazy nationalists anywhere, Zionist lealty has to be also expressed by
      – the use of made-up, generally nonsense-names (Dov, Ran, Ping, Zev, Zov, Pong, Track, Trick…) in challenging opposition to the traditional biblical names – or names in general use among the local population (like Wladimir…)
      – the use of a made-up, better said constructed, language, using some elements from biblical Hebrew (and a pontedly Yiddish accent) and obliterating the use of the mother tongues, including Yiddish
      – the use, as in the case of Bronstein-Oren, of made-up last names, lots of examples, opposing the traditional German, Polish and Russian names.

      Three habits of which the parallels are everywhere from Turkey to India to Africa etc. Without forgetting the tradition of Englishing names when arriving to America!

    • Avi_G. on March 6, 2013, 11:25 pm

      Oren is a ‘Sabra’ name. It’s ‘more Israeli’. “Oren” is Hebrew for pine (tree).

      • W.Jones on March 7, 2013, 8:09 pm

        I think that E.European Jewish culture has a certain romanticism to it, as in the movie “Fiddler on the Roof.” I am not talking about the issues with the IP conflict, or saying that there weren’t problems before within the culture or in relations with the neighbors. You know, borscht soup and beaver hats are not really bad or demeaning at all! I happen to like the former, and when it’s cold, the latter can be pretty useful too!

  12. Kathleen on March 6, 2013, 8:47 pm

    Colbert played softball with Oren. Either his choice or he froze. I think choice. Would have been so easy to have had all of the efforts Bibi made to sway the election on a list. And would have been so easy for Colbert to have been ready for the Israeli talking points “there is no distance between the US and Israel” “we have the same interest” yada yada. Colbert could have so easily said “the US and Israel are so similar. Both stole land from native peoples, pretended they did not exist while systematically exterminating them. Both or our countries love to attack people before they have done anything to us, ignore the International criminal court, the UN. Both countries seem to love to torture” SO MUCH IN COMMON.

    But the very worst thing Colbert did was allow Oren repeat the falsehood “Iran threatens Israel weekly and want to wipe Israel off the map” Colbert shout have been ready for that one and shut it down or at the very least have said sounds like you are describing Israel who threatens Iran weekly. Could not believe Colbert allowed him to repeat that bs. So disappointing. Ok he poked some fun at the “chosen people” hooey. Colbert played softball.

    Colbert knows how to play hardball
    Colbert Correspondent dinner roast of Bush

    • kalithea on March 6, 2013, 10:19 pm

      I AGREE.

    • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 4:19 pm

      @ Kathleen
      Yeah, I thought he did a pretty good job on hasbara in the top video shown here, but not very well on the second, with Oren, lower video here. He pulled punches he’s clearly capable of doing. Perhaps Colbert will do better poking fun at this subject next time? He has at least done more than Jon Stewart…

  13. Kathleen on March 6, 2013, 8:58 pm
    • Rusty Pipes on March 6, 2013, 9:45 pm

      Off-Topic: Thanks for your comments on the Syria segment on today’s Diane Rehm show. Good to see that you weren’t the only one who was not only appalled by her panel but by her screeners’ policies with callers.

      • Kathleen on March 7, 2013, 8:25 am

        I am relentless over there. Used to get through on a regular basis as well s others who challenged the mainstreams views and hooey. All three panelist on Syria (aye yi yi Dennis Ross) had the very say opinions. No diversity of opinion at all. Infuriating. Years ago Diane and team had Flynt Leverett on…no more. She even had Prof Cole on. No more. The guest never once brought up what the Leveretts often bring up that 50% of Syrians support Assad, that the US has no real idea who the Syrian rebels are. Former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer has written that they are Al Qeada affiliates I think both of the Leveretts and Cole have said the same. That the thousands of Syrian being killed and displaced would not be happening without the funding of the US and others. So fucking absurd that Robin Wright said something about all of us stuggling with the “moral issue” of these deaths. What a crock of shit Dennis Ross, Hillary Clinton, Kerry etc do not give a rats ass about the Syrians lives. They all supported that bloody invasion of Iraq. Ross more than the other two but Kerry and Clinton gave the Bush administration the pass. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people are dead, millions displaced never hear Diane Rehm or any of the other MSM talking heads dig down into those numbers or barely mention them. Crocodile tears over the deaths in Syria…total hogwash. I first discovered the Project for a New American Century’s website in 2000 as well as becoming aware of Richard Perle and the Wurmsers plan for the middle east for Netanyahu…that is the path we are on. Knock out Iraq, Syria and if they can Iran. Has nothing to do with saving lives has everything to do with U.S. and Israel’s control over the region

        I think the new screener over there is from the American Enterprise Institute or Aipac. The old screener Dorie allowed a diversity of callers and comments through. No longer. The Rehm show is narrowing their scope not expanding.

    • ToivoS on March 6, 2013, 11:12 pm

      Kathleen those are good links.

      First to HufPo. What struck me about this one was in the comments. I looked at about 30 of them. It was over whelmingly critical of Israeli fans. There was only 2 or 3 that tried to defend the racist reaction. I remember a few years back when HuffPo first came on line that comments critical of Israel were banned (well mine were banned but I did notice that those that got through were quite proZionist). That policy has changed. I think HuffPo realizes that it is a business and that banning its customers is not good business. Very positive development whatever reasons are driving these changes. I do think that the hasbara brigades are getting a little fatigued trying to defend the indefensible.

      The Blumenthal video is entertaining as usual, but interviewing a bunch of very drunk Zionist is an easy target. It is true that alcohol lowers inhibitions and he is letting us see a side of the Zionist that most of us would not prefer to witness. But it does illustrate, if any more illustration is needed, that racist Zionist really do hate President Obama. Why oh why is he agreeing to visit such a horrible country. I still cannot see anything positive from his trip to Israel.

      • Kathleen on March 7, 2013, 8:55 am

        Toivo you are right about Huff Po. There has been an evolution over there. I too had the experience of not having comments criticizing Israel going up and there was a lot of inconsistency. No links to Mondo, Informed Comment, IAEA reports etc would be allowed through. Now that is not the case. Still a headline about the Oscars will hold that front and center spot for a full day and if a headline about the I/P issue even makes it front and center will be there for a few hours if that. But there has been movement.

        One the other hand at the Rehm show they have narrowed their guest list and any challenging questions of their narrow guest list.

        Washington Journal still wide open. They are not letting the Camera group to intimidate them. Although they seldom have guest on who represent serious opposing views on Israel, Syria, Iran etc

      • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 4:27 pm

        @ Kathleen
        Very few callers into CSPAN WJ get to voice their objections to Israeli conduct or US support of it, in any discussion context. If they do get on, they are always cut short, and the host does not pursue the matter with the guest, ever.

    • on March 7, 2013, 12:05 am

      Well, duh. What did he expect playing in a team named, to all practical purposes, “Sturmabteilungen”? Next time he’ll ask someone who knows beitar.

  14. chris o on March 6, 2013, 10:31 pm

    I will give Oren credit for appearing on the Colbert Report. No doubt he just wants to push his line of Greatest Ally Ever, but still most politicians and Diplomats – with good reason – won’t touch Stephen Colbert with a 10-foot pole.

    • Kathleen on March 7, 2013, 8:35 am

      Oren had to have more than an inkling that he would gain traction. Another supreme opportunity to fuel the all ready manipulated perceptions of the American public about Iran. He had to figure he would take a few mild hits “chosen people still chosen.” Worth it for him to have the time to throw in the “Iran threatens us weekly and wants to wipe Israel off the map.” Just exactly what Israel does “threatens Iran weekly” with attacks.

      The neocons have been everywhere the last 10 years repeating the “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” hooey. This is dangerous language that is being repeated… Everywhere. To the point they did not even have to do it any longer Terri Gross (who does it the most) Diane Rehm, Scot Simon, Robert Siegel, Rachel Maddow, Christiane Amanpour, Charlie Rose etc etc do it for them. The only time I have heard this false neo con translation of what the Iranian President said challenged was when Flynt Leverett who was a guest on Charlie Rose say to Rose after he repeated it “that is not what he said” Rose shut up and listened. Not sure whether Rose ever repeated it again. Colbert allowed Oren to repeat this dangerous and inflammatory line to a public ready to eat that stuff up

      • chris o on March 7, 2013, 11:51 am

        I love how Israel wants nothing more than to wipe the Iranian regime off the map and they are taking action to accomplish that. Same with Hamas. So of course, they have to flip the script and become the victim, as Hamas and Iran scramble to survive.

        One talking point that gets me and all the main journalists parrot is the endless allegation of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. If I understand correctly, the US intelligence community in its NIE says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not resumed it. The intel community has reiterated this finding recently. But it is down the memory hole, an inconvenient truth that must not be mentioned. So we constantly hear about the need to attack Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program. Aarrghh.

      • Kathleen on March 7, 2013, 4:15 pm

        Masters at flipping the script. But of course no one calls them out on the MSM. No one Oren has been allowed to go on like that on NPR over and over and over again. No challenges

      • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 4:31 pm

        @ Kathleen
        Yeah, Oren figured he could repeat the big lies, no matter what Colbert said, or how he joked, and those lies would stick since they’ve all been repeated endlessly, while Colbert’s jibes would be barely understood by the audience. If he thought otherwise, Oren would not have gone on the show.

  15. kalithea on March 6, 2013, 11:36 pm

    Uhh, I guesssss when there’s so little honesty regarding Israel and Zionists on the American stoopidtube and everyone here is soooooooo starved for THE TRUTH, and hey, I get that, BUT you get excited about meagre morsels of nothing and turn them into practically a full-course meal! Isn’t that a form of manipulation; at the least self-deception?

    And isn’t it also the ultimate dishonesty on Colbert’s part to make people believe this is a new departure when in fact it’s just the same patronizing bullshet wrapped in a few chuckles to humor and appease the liberal mass?

    Forgive me for speaking my mind here, but this article DOESN’T CHALLENGE; IT STROKES THE STATUS QUO; there’s nothing groundbreaking and earthshattering about this Colbert/Oren encounter or tete-a-tete, there’s NOTHING to seeee here.

    Don’t chase breadcrumbs; DEMAND MORE, like Charles Dickens’ Oliver: MORE PLEASE!!! That’s gutsy, not this. Don’t even say: well, it’s better than nothing; when clearly this spectacle of Oren being teased, tickled or jabbed a little by Colbert insults our intelligence and demeans the gravity of what Israelis/Zionists are up to and the suffering they’re causing! Expect more; demand more and reject having your intelligence insulted with more empty banter. This “bassturd” Oren should squirm under a hot grill of ridicule a la Ricky Gervais.

    Quit being satisfied with nothing new when clearly you’re left starving for MORE PLEASE!

    You’re basically praising…repackaged mediocrity. Hey, it’s my opinion, hopefully it deserves to be at least “seen” if not heard; you know what I mean…

    • Kathleen on March 7, 2013, 11:13 am

      “meager morsels of nothing” Colbert “are the chosen people still chosen” or what ever he said. Then Colbert allows Oren to pull all of the same lines out of his hat “the US and Israel have so much in common” in regard to security. Oren “Iran threatens us weekly and wants to wipe Israel off the map” with no response from Colbert. He could have said really? “I thought that was what Israel does weekly” and then covered his ass by saying “rightfully so” or some cover his ass trick. Colbert played softball and it was a “meager morsel of nothing: Colbert knows how to slash and burn. He have heard him do it many times to less risky guest

      • Citizen on March 7, 2013, 4:35 pm

        @ Kathleen
        Yep. Colbert did as much as he could without risking his career. That’s what all honest influential folks do in America. This translates to more status quo re anything Israel, and at US expense.

  16. kalithea on March 6, 2013, 11:55 pm

    And to punctuate my previous opinion with a lighter note: when you come from HP to this site; it’s like you graduated from high school to university.

  17. calm on March 7, 2013, 7:31 am

    In Canada, yuh can’t view the embedded video. But, it is available to watch on-line here:
    The Colbert Report
    March 05, 2013

    • Sumud on March 7, 2013, 8:48 pm

      Same in Australia but by using a free VPN such as Hotspot Shield you can easily trick the media servers into thinking you’re in the US and the video will play.

  18. Kathleen on March 7, 2013, 8:50 am

    Colbert “we have so much in common” We like to steal other people’s lands, eliminate their history, attack other countries who have not attacked us” “both of our nation’s think we are better than anyone else” “Ignore international laws” “love to torture prisoners” Oh yes we have so much in common. But the big difference is the U.S. pays for your crimes and your crimes continue to undermine your own national security as well as the U.S.’s

  19. pabelmont on March 7, 2013, 9:25 am

    For another take on this colbert celebration of Israel, here is emily Hauser at the daily beast/openzion. Sample:

    “Setting aside that rather arresting image however, if I had to narrow my sheer delight down to one thing, it would be this: Oren, for all his status and (one imagines) fancy dinner parties, has clearly chosen to take on the teachings of America’s most humble pundit and thoroughly embody the Colbert Creed of Truthiness: truth that’s from the gut, not books! Truth that (if I may quote the American Dialect Society of January 2006) reflects “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true”!

    Thus, for instance, Oren was able to look you (the very Prophet of Truthiness!) straight in the eye and say “Israel doesn’t get involved in internal politics in the United States”—even though you had already gone to the metaphorical tape and reminded him of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s open support for President Obama’s competitor in the last elections (what was that guy’s name again?). ”


    “And then—oh glory!—Oren’s performance as a Truthiness Acolyte shone out even above the tests you set for him! (They were just tests, right? You don’t really want people to use the eyes in their skulls?) “The Iranian leaders are every week threatening to wipe us off the map,” Oren said, “if they get these nuclear weapons.”

    As a dual American-Israeli citizen, I can assure you: this is what the Israeli government feels to be true—it’s the concept Israel prefers to talk about rather than the facts that are known to be true! The facts, those silly, annoying things, tell us that Iran’s leaders don’t actually talk about building or using nuclear weapons. They talk about nuclear power, because if they talked about building weapons, U.S. bombers would likely take off for Tehran tomorrow. “

  20. sky7i on March 7, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Nearly 10,000 likes on Colbert’s FB page, more than 5 times the number of likes that his other recent posts have generated. Decent discussion too.

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