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Jon Stewart plays ‘Let’s break a deal’ with AIPAC

on 39 Comments

Jon Stewart knocks it totally out of the ballpark in this recent episode of the Daily Show. He skewers AIPAC, congress and Israel over AIPAC’s proposed Iran sanctions legislation, and then some. He kills!

Bonus a Lindsey Graham imitation to die for– and then a photo of all the senators threatening to vote for more Iran sanctions appears on screen. Stewart questions why would Democrats vote for them? Cut away to lobby stalwart Jane Harman providing the answers:


Harman: A lot of them haven’t read it .

Stewart: Really, they haven’t read it yet? Well that’s never slowed them down before. Why? Why are the Dems really voting for this?

Harman: But I also think ah that with ah ah big parts of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States being against it, the country of Israel being against that’s ah a stiff hill to climb.

Stewart: Oh well that makes sense “The senators from the Great State of Israel are against it and we don’t want to go against the senators from the Great Sta..” wait a minute that’s not in our country that’s a whole other country entirely. Why do we have to listen to them? I mean Israel is our ally and I guess Iran is pretty provocative….

He goes off, and rips into Israel reading off Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s recent gaffe accusing John Kerry of operating from an incomprehensible obsession and a sense of messianist fervor.  The whole thing is priceless. Jon is a national treasure.

(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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39 Responses

  1. Naftush on January 16, 2014, 2:52 pm

    Except that AIPAC has been largely mute. But to acknowledge that would be speaking fact to narrative….

    • seafoid on January 16, 2014, 3:12 pm

      Jesus Christ. I think there is definitely scope for a network comedy about a troupe of failing hasbaradim .

      • Krauss on January 16, 2014, 4:16 pm

        Not sure why Annie felt this segment was a slam dunk. While it was funny, here are some of the things Jon papered over, probably on purpose.

        1. AIPAC was portrayed as wanting to sabotage the deal, that’s true, but he never went into why and what outcome they want – war. This is a huge deal. He kind of portrayed it as “oh they just want to make life tough for Obama”, instead of making the country go to war, which would be the desired outcome of AIPAC. But he not only sidestepped but mischaracterized the issue.

        2. By failing to talk frankly about AIPAC’s and by extension Israel’s intentions, he also finished with a kind of “oh look at them, both so childish”. The implication being that both are ultimately responsible for the sabotage of the agreement.

        Jon again did his own little hasbara. Rouhani did his speech to appease hardlines in Iran, something even AP wrote in their news story about the speech, it’s hard to think that Jon would be uninformed about this.

        He can’t quite bring himself to say that Israel wants a war, and Iran does not, and a war carried out by American troops and military might, on behalf of Israel.

        But he can’t whitewash Israel’s intentions either so he tries to blame both sides even if just one party wants the war. This is a tiresome tactic. And it’s dangerous, too, because it keeps the American people misinformed. The impression you get is “oh those two, so immature” when in actuality Iran has been trying to deal with the issue through diplomacy and negotiations while Bibi has blown up – publicly – on numerous occassions and openly goaded to the world that he wouldn’t hestitate to strike Iran.

        Also, note the timing. Jon came out when it was safe to come out, when the entire progressive media had turned. Where was he a week ago, when it mattered much more?

        It was funny, but that’s because Jon’s been doing this for decades, but politically it was cowardly both on timing but especially on substance, by trying to blame both sides equally for trying to damage the deal and trying to portray AIPAC’s quest to destroy sanctions as an inconvenice to Obama rather than a march to war for the nation.

      • Citizen on January 16, 2014, 5:40 pm

        @ Krauss
        Yes, the often self-described Jew, Jon Stewart is a fake, phony, a lightweight. Compare the much more earnest Goy, Chris Hayes, spelling it out for even the blind to see:

      • seafoid on January 17, 2014, 8:39 am


        That is a really good video. A must-see

      • Xpat on January 17, 2014, 8:43 am

        @ Krauss.
        Jon Stewart lost me a few years ago when he had Pevez Musharraf on his show to promote a new book. The value of this piece is that since he is a lightweight – and a successful one – it means that AIPAC no longer rules the mainstream.

      • seafoid on January 16, 2014, 6:06 pm

        Israel is so ripe for comedy plucking . So much of the discourse about Israel is simply ludicrous. The bots have the money and they buy the best lipstick but no matter how many times I see the pig walk I still can’t imagine it as a woman.

        There was more joke treatment of Israel in the US media last year than the year before. The trend is our friend.

        Lindsey Graham is such a caricature of a politician.

      • Denis on January 16, 2014, 6:37 pm

        Krauss: Where was he a week ago, when it mattered much more?
        His winter break?

        In trying to understand Stewart’s softball approach, you are missing a basic point: Comedy Central = Redstone. He can only go so far or they’ll replace him with John Oliver.

      • TheWatcherWatching on January 16, 2014, 10:12 pm

        John Stewart is Jew his loyalty is to the tribe. If want a real slam dunk we need a non Jew going after them one who’s not joking doing it in a serious manner someone that will go after them with a sledgehammer, not with a feather duster. People listen to this and think the whole thing is a joke, we don’t need comedians

      • Citizen on January 17, 2014, 1:19 pm

        Chris Hayes did a fairly good job of naming the culprits , even though he works for the same boss as Chris Matthews. Go figure. Stewart? Well, he’s has to say something or lose his credibility as a killer of sacred cows. Again, he’s a lightweight; he’s actually PEP.

      • Theo on January 18, 2014, 1:07 pm

        Jon Steward always ticles my funnybone and I find him funnnnnnny!
        In my opinion he reaches more people with his funny way to present a situation than a “non jew” who may just bore his listenners to death, therefore I welcome all jews who have the guts to displease Israel and its agents and vassals in the USA!

      • ziusudra on January 17, 2014, 3:10 am

        Greetings Krauss,
        Very well written.
        Comedic personages like JC & J.Leno & others just can’t get that deeply into it like Chromsky & Finkelstein. It is just not their bag.
        They have to keep it light, but they still get the message across that Zionistan & both parties of politicians are de bad guys!
        PS It moves me positively that JC is Jewish.

      • NickJOCW on January 17, 2014, 4:56 am

        Krauss, I don’t believe it is quite as simple as that. Any diplomatic progress between the US and Iran will diminish Israel in the area generally and could more immediately threaten the current coalition and therefore is to be resisted by all means. Iran and Israel are like the well with two buckets, as one rises the other must descend. This is a worse prospect for Israel than an external attack because while the US and others are sworn to defend Israel’s security there are no such undertakings about its reputation, and both Palestine and the UN conference on a nuclear free Middle East zone are queuing to get back on the world’s agenda.

      • Denis on January 16, 2014, 6:29 pm

        Jesus Christ . . .? Did he leave a comment, or is that the rhetorical Jesus Christ?

        The difference between annie’s take on the JS piece and the zionist H’Po’s take is telling.

        Ross Luippold at the H’Po embeds a clip of part of the piece but Hulu won’t play in Canada so I don’t know if comments on Israel/AIPAC are edited out or not.

        But they are certainly edited out of the text description of Stewart’s main points. Luippold notes Stewart’s surprise that Democrats would support sanctions, but Luippold paraphrases Stewart’s explanation as: “difficulties caused by various interests in the Middle East.” No names named, not Israel, not AIPAC, not even (the rhetorical) Jesus Christ.

        H’Po, AOL . . . maybe they should have a little BDS comin’ their way.

    • Citizen on January 16, 2014, 5:28 pm

      @ Naftush
      That’s pure baloney. AIPAC wrote the bill to sabotage the Iran Deal & transfer US war power to Israel. And the subject bill includes all of AIPAC’s agenda.

    • Shingo on January 16, 2014, 8:24 pm

      Except that AIPAC has been largely mute.

      It might seem that way to those with their heads in the sand.

    • on January 17, 2014, 1:06 am

      WOW! WOW! WOW! and more WOW!
      stews a little too hyper for my taste but it was explosive nonetheless. but i didn’t quite understand the end when the video, i can’t get it to replay, had the iranian pres with words like the worlds superpowers have come under the power of iran something…
      what was that all about?

    • Citizen on January 17, 2014, 4:43 am

      AIPAC wrote the damn bill and everybody in congress knows it, and they support it on their web site, so exactly where and when has AIPAC been mute on the subject? Not to mention all AIPAC’s Paks and drone media back the bill.

    • annie on January 17, 2014, 1:07 pm

      AIPAC has been largely mute.

      AIPAC numero uno mouthpiece is sen. mark kirk and you can hear him loud and clear. even when he was completely out w/a stroke the lobby was speaking thru him via richard goldberg, his chief of staff. if you pay attention, we cover all this stuff.

      and don’t miss ahmed moor’s Israeli Knesset member seeds anti-Palestinian legislation in Congress

      he quotes haaretz

      Known as the Kirk Amendment, after its sponsor, Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), considered one of Israel’s strongest supporters in Washington, the bill conceals within its 150-plus words a fierce battle between Republican legislators and the State Department over the United States’ relationship with UN institutions. . .

      What is not common knowledge in the Beltway is that the Kirk Amendment got its start in the Jerusalem office of MK Einat Wilf (Atzmaut ), who toiled for months, together with AIPAC lobbyists and Kirk’s staff, to promote the change.

      Last September, as the Palestinians prepared their unilateral bid at the UN, Wilf met with representatives of the pro-Israel lobby in Israel. “I asked them why they weren’t doing anything about UNRWA,” Wilf says, adding: “The answer I got was that figures in the Israeli government had blocked such moves in the past.” . . .

      After Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Ron Dermer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign-policy adviser, gave their approval to Wilf’s efforts, she returned to AIPAC staffers and also approached Steven J. Rosen, a former foreign policy director for the organization who now works for a Washington think tank, to get things rolling on Capitol Hill.

      In April Wilf and Rosen met with Kirk’s deputy chief of staff, Richard Goldberg. Kirk is recovering from a stroke he suffered a few months ago, and Goldberg is promoting the senator’s legislative efforts.

      After a preliminary draft of the bill was worded, AIPAC officials went on board in an attempt to pass it, holding meeting with many of the senators on the appropriations committee in an attempt to sway them into supporting the legislation.

      most nyt/msm iran stories, carry the most inflammatory quotes by mark kirk. i kid you not. for example take james norths story up today: Elephant waddles through room. ‘NYT’ doesn’t see it

      Kirk, the Illinois Republican who is the other lead sponsor, said he was counting on elections pressure to spark action.

      “My hope is that, as we get towards midterm elections, members are going to want to be on record being against giving up billions of dollars to Iran,” Kirk said.
      can you hear aipac? that’s called professional framing. of course, we do not give billions to iran or ‘give up’ billions. but ‘give up’ implies it’s costing us money which americans don’t like. so it’s a psychological twist on words without blatantly lying.

      anyway, i hope that was instructive. and of course kirk is lead sponsorof the iran bill, so heck yes we can hear the lobby, loud and clear. let me know if you need more examples.

  2. CloakAndDagger on January 16, 2014, 2:57 pm

    That quote from the Iranian premier doesn’t feel right to me. If true, then it is a very misguided attempt to quell political forces in Iran that are opposed to the deal, but its public airing in a tweet read by the whole world is “unhelpful”.

    It would not surprise me, however, if this was a “false flag tweet”, and (speculatively speaking) some nameless malicious adversaries may have hacked his twitter account. It just doesn’t fit with my image of this otherwise sensible leader brashly raising the hackles of the very people he has been negotiating with, but, humans are not infallible.

    Something smells in Denmark.

    On the brighter side, it is with great satisfaction that I view the entire Israeli machinery being exposed to the American public on a daily basis these days. If the comments section of mainstream blogs like Yahoo! News or Huffington Post (ugh!) are anything to go by, there is a very widely awakened citizenry that is aware of how Israel is bullying our electorate into funding them as well as sending our children to wars on their behalf. Jon Stewart is widely watched here and abroad. In fact, (sadly) a large number of people get their news solely from Stewart and Colbert. This is starting to make a difference in public perception.

    I think great things are about to happen in this country, in fact, the dam is on the threshold of already breaking – and it is about f**king time!

    • ritzl on January 16, 2014, 3:42 pm

      @C&D- One of the best parts of the video was when Stewart announced the deal with Iran and applause ensued.

      It didn’t look like he was expecting that to be an applause line, so it was probably spontaneous, i.e. what you said.

    • annie on January 16, 2014, 5:35 pm

      i think it was a snark c&d. i didn’t bother googling it but if he tweeted that it would be headline news.

      • CloakAndDagger on January 16, 2014, 7:43 pm

        @annie – it was reported here:

        But, it was really for internal consumption:

        President Hassan Rouhani has praised a landmark nuclear deal struck in Geneva as a victory for Iran, telling a crowd it in effect meant the “surrender” of western powers to his country’s demands.

        His comments were part of the moderate Rouhani’s efforts to bring around hardliners who claim the deal tramples on Iran’s enrichment rights.
        Speaking on Tuesday in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, Rouhani said the “Geneva deal means the surrender of big powers before the great nation of Iran”.

  3. mijj on January 16, 2014, 3:23 pm

    still perpetuating the fiction of Iran chasing a Nuclear Weapon.

    the US wouldn’t be sending money to Iran, it’d unblocking Iran’s access to its own money.

    /tut tut .. honesty is so hard to do.

  4. DICKERSON3870 on January 16, 2014, 4:12 pm

    Jon Stewart really captures the essence of Lindsey Graham.

    . . . Every man wants to be a macho man
    To have the kind of body always in demand
    Joggin’ in the mornings, go man go
    Workouts in the health spa, muscles grow
    You can best believe me
    He’s a macho man
    Glad he took you down with anyone you can
    Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey

    Macho, macho man
    I gotta be a macho man
    Macho macho man
    I gotta be a macho . . .

    • DICKERSON3870 on January 16, 2014, 4:30 pm

      . . . If you like adventure
      Don’t you wait to enter
      The recruiting office fast
      Don’t you hesitate
      There is no need to wait
      They’re signing up new fly boys fast
      Maybe you are too young
      To join up today
      But don’t you worry ’bout a thing
      For I’m sure there will be
      Always an Air Force JAG Corps
      Protecting our dear Homeland

      In the Air Force
      Yes, you can fly the seven continents
      In the Air Force
      Yes, you can put your mind at ease
      In the Air Force
      Come on now, people, make a stand
      In the Air Force, in the Air Force JAG Corps
      Can’t you see we need a hand
      In the Air Force
      Come on, protect the Homeland
      In the Air Force
      Come on and join your fellow man
      In the Air Force
      Come on people, and make a stand
      In the Air Force, in the Air Force, in the Air Force (in the Air Force JAG Corps) . . .

  5. Citizen on January 16, 2014, 5:31 pm

    Jon Stewart is a Jewish lightweight. Let’s talk the heavyweight Goy, Chris Hayes, who directly attacked the GOP & handful of Democrats who are pushing the bill to sabotage the Iran deal & transfer US war power to Israel:

    • piotr on January 18, 2014, 2:20 am

      Stil, you have to watch weathervanes to see where the wind is blowing.

      The fact is that the Lobby is split. The largest names in the major Jewish organizations (or is it Major Jewish Organizations?) are for piling more sanctions and unreachable prerequisites for the deal with Iran, but now an increasing number of highly ranked Jewish politicians are supporting Obama.

  6. Kathleen on January 16, 2014, 6:29 pm

    JS Sanctions relief..unfreezing assets “we can’t even send money to Iran without making it look like we are bombing them” Uh that is Iran’s money that they are going to get access to.

    Jon is a national treasure especially after he and his writing team started drilling Aipac periodically and criticizing Israeli leaders which they did not do for over a decade. Always knew if they ever decided to go after Aipac and Israeli leaders the way they have gone after other national leaders they would do it better than anyone.


    • Citizen on January 17, 2014, 4:51 am

      The Iranian tweet must be a hoax twitter account. And yes, we’re not sending them money, just unblocking a very small piece of Iranian money. Otherwise, the skit was very good. Harmon, the spy for Israel, mentioning AIPAC-Israel by name, hemming and hawing it out… That was great, especially with Stewart’s follow up re the US state of Israel being actually a foreign country. And he smacked that a-hole Graham!
      When ever that guy opens his mouth I want to puke. He’s just a sickening traitor.

      • CloakAndDagger on January 17, 2014, 5:46 pm

        No it wasn’t a hoax. See my post above.

  7. chet on January 16, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Baby steps — Richard Cohen, Chris Davis (MSNBC) and now Jon Stewart.

    Let’s see what happens in the MSM during the AIPAC convention in March.

  8. James Canning on January 16, 2014, 7:39 pm

    Very funny. I should think Zarif would laugh, or will laugh. (Iranian FM)

  9. Tuyzentfloot on January 17, 2014, 9:12 am

    I appreciate Jon Stewart’s opinions, they’re worthwile. But I don’t expect much from him on I/P, both because his ideas on this aren’t that good, and because he’s got responsibility. He can cover for others who stick their necks out but won’t take too many risks himself. It’s easier when you only have to think about consequences for yourself.

    The way he handled the joke about the Iran provocation that really was an Israeli provocation was diplomacy, or rather, CYA. He could have stopped after realizing that the source of the quote was Israeli, but he had to follow up by throwing in an iranian quote to balance things out, just to end up with a bland conclusion.

    Very conscious of adverse repercussions that.

  10. pabelmont on January 17, 2014, 9:38 am

    Two things about comedy. [1] It was once a way-up for people from minorities, as was sports. Lot of Jewish comedians in the day. Nowadays it is (also) a place of honor. [2] Hollywood (in effect) joshing AIPAC is lovely. Especially if you “buy” the ethnic assertion often made about Hollywood. (I include TV in the concept of “Hollywood”.)

    And, of course, MSM dissing AIPAC is something we want to see more of.

    • Tuyzentfloot on January 17, 2014, 1:37 pm

      It was once a way-up for people from minorities, as was sports. Lot of Jewish comedians in the day.

      Lot of Jewish sportsmen in the day.

  11. Philip Munger on January 18, 2014, 12:46 am

    Neither the link to the Jon Stewart segment at the head of this post, nor the Chris Hayes segment linked to above by two commenters appears to be working. I checked for them – to forward to Mark Begich’s campaign chairwoman – three hours ago, and now. Didn’t work then, don’t work now.

    I’ll check again in the morning.

  12. Talkback on January 19, 2014, 6:00 am

    I wish we had a Jon Stewart in our country.

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