Jon Stewart Perfectly Nails What's Wrong With How We Talk About Israel-Palestine


Jon Stewart knows what it's like to try and discuss the conflict in Gaza.

The Daily Show

If you have friends who are passionate about the subject, or if — God forbid — you've ever mentioned anything about it on Facebook, you can probably relate. It can seem impossible to have a genuine discussion among what feels like endless shouting and sloganeering.

The toll: While it can be hard to take the shouted arguments seriously, it doesn't make the situation any less serious. The death toll has climbed past 500 in Gaza, including many Palestinian civilians. Two Irsaeli civilians and 25 Israeli soldiers are also dead.

Even mainstream U.S. newspapers, a bastion of relatively straight newsgathering, are having framing issues:

The conflict: Israel's ground offensive has focused on densely populated areas, which has put more civilians in those areas at risk. Israel blames Hamas, though, for keeping its soldiers, weapons and tunnels in those areas and potentially telling residents to ignore warnings of upcoming IDF threats.

Stewart is no stranger to the subject; as The Daily Beast notes, in 2007 he took on the 22-day Israel-Hamas battle that left 700 civilians dead. In 2012 he attacked the media for their need to declare a "winner" in the conflict.

In conflict and war, of course, there's never a flawlessly virtuous side. The obsession with picking a winner ties into why so many of us seem to treat the situation like a sporting event, with a favorite team that can do no wrong and a rival that can do no right. But when a Red Sox-Yankees series ends, it's still only baseball. Whenever this offensive ends, we'll have hundreds of deaths and still no end to the shouting.