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Jon Stewart hails progressive Bill de Blasio — ignoring AIPAC fest

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On The Daily Show Monday, Jon Stewart hosted NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to celebrate his “non-stop…. ultimate 24-7-job” and “progressive” goals, but sadly ignored the scandal over how the new mayor privately described “my job”: defending Israel.

Stewart puffed up the mayor’s liberal rep, supporting de Blasio as he “hails the end of NYPD stop-and-frisk tactics and outlines his plan for universal pre-K access” and his plans to tax the wealthy, all to audience applause.

Stewart: “You’re coming in and turning everything upside down.”

de Blasio: “I don’t wear the Che Guevara t-shirt at work….I’m blessed to have a strong mandate from the people to make real progressive change….The great threat to our society is inequality.”

Stewart elides the reason de Blasio’s toil is “24-7”: slurping up to AIPAC on January 23, he said a big part of “my job description” was standing up for Israel, but after hours, off the public calendar.

Stewart doesn’t ask the Che Guevara mayor why he pledged fealty to AIPAC’s brand of neoconservativism, proclaiming, “We take inspiration from Israel for how it has stared down terrorism and kept moving forward.”  Stewart doesn’t query why the mayor ditched all liberal lines that night. As reporter Sally Goldenberg revealed,  “Two attendees [to the AIPAC meeting] even joked that he never once used the word ‘progressive,’ a mainstay in most of his public speeches.” Stewart doesn’t even inquire about de Blasio’s response to the 58 principled Jewish New Yorkers who reproved de Blasio, declaring that AIPAC “does not speak for us,” but “for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters.”

Stewart, rather than request that de Blasio explain his hypocrisy, zings lame shots at the mayor that actually defend him from others’ gripes.  Satirizing charges that slow snow removal was part of a vendetta against the rich, Stewart razzes de Blasio: “What else could we do to the Upper East Side?”  Trite banter ensues: “locusts,” laughs de Blasio. “Gonna go Biblical?” retorts Stewart.

The comic lobs his standard meant-to-be-disarming ethnic in-joke, jabbing “my people–I call them ‘MishYorkers–it’s older Jews,” quipping with mock-solemnity, “I find them [sic] to never complain about…anything.”  [1:38].  I wondered whether Stewart’s self-deprecating knock at wealthy Jews was an unconscious charade, shielding AIPAC donors by offering up an expose of another foible of the tribe–even as Stewart hints at peril in the racist stereotype.   

But then why was that bit yanked from Part 1 of the visit on the website yesterday?–Especially after much discussion of the chuckles about locusts here and here? Hm, curiouser and curiouser: the “locust” clip’s now restored here:  [1:40].

In any event, Stewart moved on, poking fun at de Blasio: “This is unacceptable, sir.”  And “This” is not de Blasio sucking up to AIPAC after shooing a reporter away.  No, it’s: “Bill de Blasio was caught on camera eating pizza with a knife and fork” [1:06]. So the comedian’s swiping at the kerfuffle over the mayor’s table manners.  But when Stewart follows up with excruciatingly-predictable byplay about why a pol must never grab pizza with a pie server, he only proves Karl Rove, Lee Atwater, and every other corny con-artist right: chump-voters fall for anyone who eats like a “real” man.

However Stewart praises de Blasio with fake damns, he doesn’t answer the urgent question.  How can the mayor be progressive if he vows that “elemental to being an American” is devout support for an ethnocracy?  I bet Jon Stewart’s audience would cheer independence from any right-wing foreign regime.

Susie Kneedler

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9 Responses

  1. American on February 7, 2014, 1:33 pm

    ‘ I wondered whether Stewart’s self-deprecating knock at wealthy Jews was an unconscious charade, shielding AIPAC donors by offering up an expose of another foible of the tribe–”

    Stewart’s charade is not inconscious. Stewart is a Jewish chauvinist and a full fledged tribe member. His ‘jokes’ are a tactic to make a serious subject like AIPAC and the Jewish-Israeli-First crowd into a ‘joke’..something ‘laughable’ and not to be taken seriously by the public.
    Cant believe anyone has ever been fooled about what Stewart is and what his game is.

  2. Blownaway on February 7, 2014, 2:10 pm

    John Stewart has done a pretty good job of skewering the pro Israel AIPAC wing generally. It’s jot his job to take this on exclusively …it’s always been a sad commentary on “real” news that Jon Stewart is the exemplar of journalism

  3. chet on February 7, 2014, 2:12 pm

    An absolute given — should Jon Stewart have chosen, over these past years, to have focused his wit and satire on aspects of the I/P situation, that there would have been a significant dent in the MSM wall of silence with respect to those topics.

    He has not done so — Why? — Corporate ownership and muzzling? Unconditional support for the tribe?

    Whatever the reason(s), his silence has been a major disappointment

  4. James Canning on February 7, 2014, 2:49 pm

    Maybe Stewart will address the issue (of grovelling before Aipac,by the new mayor) at another time?

    • The JillyBeans on February 7, 2014, 3:36 pm

      I suspect Jon Stewart will address it when the boycotts become a deafening reality in the US. Right now it’s just EU and ignorable. If it starts to take hold of American businesses and American civilian life, he’d be pressed to address it to avoid an obvious bias and hypocrisy, if he wants to be seen as an American first.

      I do respect that it’s hard for Jon Stewart to take the step to publicly criticize the Jewish and Israeli community. Because while you can self criticize privately, to do so publicly would provide an field day for true anti-Semites. Case in point the “quenelle” gesture started by anti-zionist Dieudonné. If you look up the images on a search engine for “quenelle” you will see the vast majority are purposely anti-Jewish in nature, dwarfing even the quantities of the images of oval fish cakes.

  5. Justpassingby on February 7, 2014, 5:09 pm

    stewart is like beinart, naive and useless.

  6. Justpassingby on February 7, 2014, 5:10 pm

    stewart is also making a an anti-iran movie that will be released in 2014 I think, so he probably loves aipac.

  7. Susie Kneedler on February 7, 2014, 6:56 pm

    Thanks, All, for great insights.

    I hold Stewart to a higher standard than the corporate news-crew: his own. I was sorry I couldn’t cram in a contrast between Stewart’s trenchant five-minute riff on NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s shenanigans–“The Closer,” earlier in the episode–with his dive on de Blasio. For they’re perfect foils. Stewart hilariously compares Christie’s dubious avowals of innocence in the GWBridge-traffic nightmare with how the governor outed himself as a “petty, vindictive bully” in his “high school character-assassination” of David Wildstein: [5:15].

    The highlight, though, is Stewart’s “disappoint[ment],” in traditional reporters’ commentary [10:00]. He builds suspense by feigning bloodlust over the journos’ reaction to Christie’s puerile malice: “I can’t wait to see the media tear into this!,” cutting to rapid-fire clips of seven reporters intoning that we must wait and see. Stewart then wails in comic outrage, “Wait and see?!,” whispering in mock-horror, “Who are you people?”

    That’s of course what we here keep asking Stewart himself: “Who are you, Jon?” That’s why I choose not to label Stewart’s motive–either in covering for de Blasio or in the past: bc I can’t be sure. But I’m haunted by that question, too. So I comment on what Stewart omits, knowing that we’re all free to imagine what we want.

    The poignancy of the skit on Christie, though, is when Stewart moans, “If this measured-approach thing catches on, I’m out of a f-bleep-ing job!” But the dominant-news’s failures are precisely why Jon Stewart has a job, and I’m sad he falls down on it here.

    There again, part of Stewart’s problem is a different double standard, as when he confides: “I can’t help but be disappointed. Not in the government–I expect that to be corrupt–but in the news media.” I expect integrity from both–as well as from Fake News–, bc I believe the public deserves it. And cynicism about both only sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy that we’ll never reform either. So, I call out to Jon Stewart: Please tell the same truths about PEP Dems like de Blasio + Neolibs, and the Israeli government + its lobby, as you do about Neoconservative Repubs like Christie. Thanks.

  8. bilal a on February 8, 2014, 7:03 am

    waiting for Jon Stewart to discuss: ‘Finishing 48’, prower plan, max b discusses here:


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