Gaza: Strip Maul

Transcript of “Strip Maul,” The Daily Show, 5 January 2009

Jon: 2009, nothing but hope and change — we’re back, baby — let’s do this thing.

Air Assault 2009 begins in the Middle East with Israel raising the stakes on its all-out assault on Gaza.


Jon: (removing hair piece) Yea, man.

Well normally I like to ease back into these things, but I guess I have a job to do; you know it’s probably just a little skirmish — you know — happens all the time in the Middle East, right?  A little seasonal culling of the missile surpluses, you know.  You got the 2009 missiles coming in, gotta make room in the silos. Tonight Israeli tanks and infantry cross the border into Gaza shortly after nightfall. . . 8 days of air strikes, artillery, and naval bombardment. . . Israelis admit that this could take a long time. . .

Jon: (removing another hair piece) I got that one put on in St. Luke’s.  It was actually a hospital, I woke up with it.  I don’t really know why.

What the hell, man?  We left here in December and everything in the Middle East was fine.  I remember one fellow feeling particularly optimistic.

News Clip (12/5/08): Israel Invades Gaza — Missile Tov!

Bush: While the Israelis and Palestinians have not yet produced an agreement they have made important progress; they have laid a new foundation of trust for the future.

Jon: Do you know anything?  Do you have any idea?  What are you talking about?

By the way, I’m not an architect but I find that when you are laying a new foundation (sound of bomb exploding), don’t make it out of C4 — it’s really unstable for a foundation material.

Now obviously if my memory serves me, I believe that the truce between Hamas and Israel only expired about 2 weeks ago.  It’s not like Hamas lobbing missiles is an unusual and new occurrence.  Why does Israel feel they have to act so strongly right now?

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News (1/4/09): They did it now because they wanted to clean the slate before the new administration came in — despite Obama’s, you know, statements about his support for Israel, he’s still an unknown entity to them — and they knew they had unrelenting support from the Bush administration.

Jon: I get it.  Israel isn’t really sure if the new administration is gonna allow them carte blanche in the bombing department, so they’re getting it in now before the January 20th Hope and Change deadline.

Time’s running out — it’s like a civilian carnage Toyotathon.

You know I am sure a lot of countries don’t know how their relationship will change with the United States.  Probably a good time for them to check things off their f***k-it list.

Saudi Arabia — they could cease oil production completely.  By the way it’s that easy — see how the world likes that.

Who knows how Obama will feel abut North Korea’s nuclear arsenal — can they afford not to launch them?

I know, personally I’ll be starting that baby-fighting ring I’m guessing Obama is against.  That’s right, I’m starting a baby-fighting ring.  Under the Bush administration, I received a tax break to start it.

Hamas’s continued insistence on firing rockets into Israel and Israel’s continued insistence on the soul-crushing segmentation and blockading of Gaza is a very complex situation.  Obviously both sides of the complex situation are vigorously championed by American politicians.

Bush (1/5/09): I . . . err . . . understand Israel’s desire to protect itself. . .

Sen. Harry Reid (D), Majority Leader (1/4/09): I think what the Israelis are doing is very important. . .

Mitt Romney, Former Massachusetts Governor (1/4/09): Israel has no choice but to take military action. . .

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), Kentucky (1/4/09): The Israelis are doing the only thing they can possibly do to defend their population. . .

Gov. Jon Corzine (D), New Jersey (1/4/09): The missile firing into Israel I think brought a proper response from ah . . . the Israelis. . . .

Jon: See — it’s the Mobius strip of issues — there’s only one side.

And as always even the analogies flow one way.

George Will, Newsweek (1/4/09): All Americans know what we would be doing if rockets where landing in San Diego from Tijuana.

Jon: Yay!  We’d open them up and pull out the tequila and hookers.  Am I right, people?  It’s a friggin’ Tijuana rocket — can’t go to spring break — they’ll just fire it to you.

Gov. Mark Sanford (R), South Carolina (1/4/09): It is inconceivable to me that if missiles were coming out of Cuba into South Florida that we wouldn’t respond.

Sen. Harry Reid (D), Majority Leader: If this were going on in the United States from Vancouver, Canada into Seattle — would we react?  Of course we do.

Jon: First of all, I don’t believe Canada has missiles with the range to hit the United States.

They could try throwing them.  Come on, kids — someone phrase this in a way that will really bring it home!

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D), New York (1/4/09): Let me just phrase it for you — something that’ll bring it home.  If you’re in your apartment and an emotionally disturbed person is banging on the door screaming, “I am going to come through this door and kill you” — do you want us to respond with one police officer, which is proportional, or with all the resources at our command?

Jon: I guess it depends if I forced that guy to live in my hallway and make him go through checkpoints every time he has to take a s**t.

But then again by removing him by force — as long as you really believe that there will be no more crazy people left in New York — ok — but obviously it’s not the way the new year was supposed to start.   For more we go to Baby New Year.

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Jewish Voice for Peace says,

On The Daily Show‘s January 5 “Strip Maul” segment, Jon Stewart did what few American television personalities have dared to do: he criticized Israel’s campaign against Gaza, making it clear that bombing will not bring peace for Israelis or Palestinians.  He mocked the one-sided response of U.S. politicians by calling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the “Mobius strip of issues because there’s only one side!”  He’s sure to get thousands of complaints, so send Jon a letter of appreciation and then ask all your friends to watch this segment.

BTW, Lynn Pollack of Jewish Voice for Peace calls attention to Rabbi Brant Rosen’s 28 December 2008 blog entry (“Outrage in Gaza: No More Apologies,” Shalom Rav):

The news today out of Israel and Gaza makes me just sick to my stomach.

I know, I can already hear the responses: every nation has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its citizens.  If the Qassams stopped, Israel wouldn’t be forced to take military action.  Hamas also bears responsibility for this tragic situation. . .

I could answer each and every one of these claims in turn, but I’m ready to stop this perverse game of rhetorical ping-pong.  I don’t buy the rationalizations any more.  I’m so tired of the apologetics.  How on earth will squeezing the life out of Gaza, not to mention bombing the living hell out of it, ensure the safety of Israeli citizens?

We good liberal Jews are ready to protest oppression and human-rights abuse anywhere in the world, but are all too willing to give Israel a pass.  It’s a fascinating double-standard, and one I understand all too well.  I understand it because I’ve been just as responsible as anyone else for perpetrating it.

So no more rationalizations.  What Israel has been doing to the people of Gaza is an outrage.  It has brought neither safety nor security to the people of Israel and it has wrought nothing but misery and tragedy upon the people of Gaza.

There, I’ve said it.  Now what do I do?

See, also, Carla Marinucci, “In U.S., War of Words over Gaza” (San Francisco Chronicle, 10 January 2009).