Live comedy show Saturday Night Live has come under fire for jestingly suggesting that Israel is only vaccinating its Jewish citizens, on television. Following the insult, the American Jewish Committee is floating a petition, demanding the showmakers to apologize for the insensitive comment.
On the recent episode of Saturday Night Live, Michael Che, the co-host of SNL’s news parody, “Weekend Update,” said, “Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population, and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.” This statement sparked a furor over its lack of accuracy and blatantly anti-Israel nature.
Reacting to this, the American Jewish Committee’s petition said on Sunday, “Saturday Night Live’s ‘joke’ isn’t just untrue — it’s dangerous, a modern twist on a classic anti-Semitic trope that has inspired the mass murder of countless Jews throughout the centuries.” The AJC in the petition posted online on Sunday referred to the ancient libel that Jews are responsible for plagues. The petition will now be delivered to NBC, the live comedy revue’s broadcaster.
Meanwhile, Israel’s envoy to Washington also called on the show to apologize. “I’m a big fan of humor but, perpetuating anti-Semitism is just not funny,” Gilad Erdan said Sunday on Twitter. “Your ‘joke’ is ignorant — the fact is that the success of our vaccination drive is exactly because every citizen of Israel — Jewish, Muslim, Christian-is entitled it. Apologize!”
As it stands, this controversy has sparked out of Israel’s refusal to extend its coronavirus vaccination program to West Bank Palestinians, along with delaying the delivery of vaccines to Gaza Strip Palestinians and for not being as power-packed in its vaccination outreach to Arab Israelis as it is to Jewish Israelis.
But, this being said, the truth of the matter is that prior agreements and international law make the Palestinian Authority responsible for West Bank Palestinian vaccinations, and it allowed the delivery of the Gaza vaccines after a short delay. Israeli officials have acknowledged a lag in delivering vaccines to the Arab sector and have blamed it on the Palestinians over skepticism about taking the vaccine.