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World Why Michael Che's 'SNL' joke about Israeli vaccinations sparked a debate about anti-Semitism

01:45  23 february  2021
01:45  23 february  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com.au

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" Saturday Night Live ' s " Michael Che is getting dragged for what some are calling an anti - Semitic joke . ' SNL ' Michael Che Called Out Over Jewish Joke Critics Blast Him for Anti - Semitism . They say Israel ' s vaccination rollout is being distributed equitably, regardless of gender, race, or religion

Anti - Semitic # SNL ' s Michael Che said, " Israel vaccinated half it' s population and I'm gonna guess it' s the Jewish half." Um, factcheck: Israel vaccinated 43% of Arab population but has trouble convincing them to be vaccinated . Among the Bedouin population, the metric was as low as 20 percent. The difference is partially explained by unequal access to healthcare – one can see why a Bedouin nomad roaming the Negev Desert could find it difficult to get to a hospital for their shot. But the progress was there, and two weeks later, almost 60 percent of elderly Israeli Arabs had received at least one

Colin Jost, Michael Che standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che during 'Weekend Update' on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che during 'Weekend Update' on Saturday, February 20, 2021.
  • Michael Che's 'Weekend Update' joke about Israel's vaccination rollout caused an uproar online.
  • Several Jewish advocacy groups called on Che and 'Saturday Night Live' to apologise for the joke.
  • But others said that criticising Israel is not inherently anti-Semitic.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Michael Che's joke about Israel's vaccination rollout on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend sparked tense backlash online as several Jewish organisations called on the NBC show to apologise.

"Israel is reporting that they have vaccinated half of their population, and I'm gonna guess it's the Jewish half," Che said late Saturday night during "Weekend Update," the satirical broadcast news segment on "SNL" he hosts alongside Colin Jost.

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Che claimed Israel was vaccinating 'the Jewish half' of their population. The American Jewish Committee and StandWithUs are among those demanding an apology from Saturday Night Live and Michael Che . ' Saturday Night Live ' s " joke " isn't just untrue—it' s dangerous, a modern twist on a classic antisemitic trope that has inspired the mass murder of countless Jews throughout the centuries,' said a petition circulated by the AJC. Israel recently agreed to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel .

Che claimed Israel was vaccinating ‘the Jewish half’ of their population. The American Jewish Committee and StandWithUs are among those demanding an apology from Saturday Night Live and Michael Che . ‘Unsurprising coming from SNL as they have a long history of antisemitism ’, tweeted former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind. ‘But Michael Che or whoever wrote that ‘ joke ’ is obviously also ignorant of fact that Israel has Arab citizens who’ve received the vaccine according to the same qualifications as Jews! @nbcsnl is the joke !’

On "Weekend Update," Che and Jost share real news headlines with comedic punchlines. Because it is satire, these lines are frequently factually inaccurate and offensive to some. But the joke from Che â€" no stranger to cracking controversial jokes during his "SNL" segment â€" inspired swift backlash.

Critics said Che's joke promoted dangerous stereotypes about Israel and that the joke was anti-Semitic, while others celebrated the joke for calling out the Israeli government, as millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza await vaccination.

Insider previously reported on tensions in the American Jewish community, where many are divided politically, particularly concerning Israel.

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“ Saturday Night Live ” and star Michael Che are under fire from critics for a joke they claim was anti - Semitic . “ Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population. I’m going to guess it’ s the Jewish half,” the Weekend Update correspondent cracked Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon, the topic was trending, with many accusing Che and NBC of bias, and others coming to his defense. “Unsurprising coming from SNL as they have a long record of antisemitism ,” posted former state Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

' anti - Semitic ' joke about Israel ' s vaccination program on SNL . At least two Jewish organizations are demanding an apology from Michael Che after a joke he made on Saturday Night Live this Delta Airlines is banning over 450 “ anti -maskers;” I wrote to them and told them to add me to the list.

A spokesperson for "Saturday Night Live" did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The joke criticised the Israeli government over its treatment of non-Jews

Religion is not a factor in Israel's vaccine eligibility plan; Che's joke criticised the Israeli government's treatment of non-Jewish people living in Palestinian territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has said it is not the country's responsibility to vaccinate people living in the Palestinian territories. The "disparity" between Israeli vaccinations and Palestinian vaccinations has already "set off a roiling debate," The New York Times reported.

The Palestinian Authority, which is responsible for Palestinians in the territories, has accused the Israeli government of blocking vaccine shipments to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,Reuters reported.

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“ Saturday Night Live ” and star Michael Che are under fire from critics for a joke they claim was anti - Semitic .“ Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population. I’m going to guess it’ s the Jewish half,” the Weekend Update correspondent cracked Sunday morning.The vast majority of Israel ’ s population — 74 percent — is Jewish, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. Vaccination rates of Israeli Arabs are much lower than Jews in the country, partially due to distrust of the government in the Arab community, according to a January article.

for his ' anti - Semitic ' joke about Israel ' s vaccination program on SNL UK Daily Mail ^ | February 22 At least two Jewish organizations are demanding an apology from Michael Che after a joke he ' Israel is reporting that they've vaccinated half of their population,' Che says as he sets up the joke .

The World Bank said in a report on Monday that the Palestinian vaccine plan was short on funds and urged Israel to donate excess vaccine doses to the Palestinian-occupied territories.

Many have criticised the joke and called it 'anti-Semitic'

The controversy comes as anti-Semitic incidents increased in the last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League and the United Nations. Many critics of Che's joke invoked the history of Jewish people being blamed for mass deaths and the spread of disease.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations, a nonprofit that consists of dozens of Jewish organisations, condemned the joke in a statement Sunday.

"We find the use of age-old antisemitic tropes on last night's episode of Saturday Night Live to be deeply troubling. It is particularly painful for this to occur at a time when antisemitic incidents, some resulting in death and injury, are at record highs," the statement said. The organisation referenced the way Jewish communities have been blamed for some COVID-19 outbreaks.

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The statement continued, "Saturday Night Live's ill conceived 'joke' adds to the heap of lies and conspiratorial allegations surrounding the Jewish people and COVID-19 that recalls medieval accusations of Jews being responsible for disease and plagues."

Gilad Erdan, Israel's ambassador to the US and the UN, said in a tweet that the segment was "ignorant" and called on "SNL" to apologise. "I'm a big fan of humour but, perpetuating antisemitism is just not funny," Erdan said.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC), a Jewish advocacy group, started a petition "calling on NBC to retract its outrageous claim and apologise immediately."

Anti-Semitic tropes about Jews circulated throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, with some still existing in different forms today. The blood-libel conspiracy theory, which alleged that Jews kidnapped and murdered Christian children, provides the loose basis for the far-right QAnon conspiracy-theory movement. Jews were also blamed for the spread of the Bubonic Plague, also called the "Black Death," leading to mass killings of Jews.

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Avi Mayer, the managing director of global communications for AJC, said in a tweet that given this history, Che's joke wasn't "funny at all; it's dangerous."

Marianne Williamson, the former Democratic presidential candidate, said in a tweet that she "cringed" during the segment. "Enough that the Israeli govt does is worthy of legitimate criticism; lying about what they do is just as bad," she said.

Some celebrated the joke for calling out the Israeli government

Following the controversial joke (and intense reaction), many activists and advocacy groups celebrated Che for the joke and criticised the criticism itself.

Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish advocacy group seeking an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, said in a tweet, "They say there's a grain of truth to every joke, but this SNL one has 5 million â€" the 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who have yet to receive vaccines."

Rohan Talbot, an advocacy manager for Medical Aid for Palestinians, said that Israel has "singly ruled" over Israel and the Palestinian territories, but "has guaranteed vaccine access to only one half of this combined population."

In an essay for Haaretz, Joshua Shanes, an associate professor of Jewish Studies and the director of the Arnold Centre for Israel at the College of Charleston, said that Che's joke "wasn't antisemitic at all."

The charge of anti-Semitism is "commonly tossed at critics of Israeli behaviour," Shanes writes. "Pointing out Israeli systemic discrimination against non-Jews is not antisemitic."

A war is being waged against academic freedom in Britain .
The accusations of anti-Semitism against David Miller aim to silence pro-Palestinian voices on university campuses.For over a decade, Miller has done research on the increasing public attacks on the Palestine solidarity movement, as well as the surveillance and securitisation of Muslim communities as a result of the so-called “war on terror”. It is notable that the accusations of “anti-Semitism” levelled at him arise from a lecture he gave on the Zionist movement’s involvement in promoting Islamophobia, a well-known fact among scholars who study the Palestinian question.

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