A quick-fire joke about Israel’s vaccination rollout on US comedy show Saturday Night Live has caused uproar and demands for an apology.
In a parody of a news report, one of its actors joked that Israel – which has had the quickest rollout of any nation – has only been vaccinating its Jewish citizens.
“Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population, and I’m gonna guess it’s the Jewish half,” cracked “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che to a chuckling audience.
The single-line joke has been met with condemnation from Jewish groups that say it is anti-Semitic and referred to an ancient trope that Jews are responsible for plagues.
The American Jewish Committee has launched a petition and is demanding “Saturday Night Live” apologize for a joke that suggested Israel is only vaccinating Jewish citizens.
“On February 20, during NBC’s Saturday Night Live, Michael Che accused Israel of vaccinating only its Jewish citizens,” the citizens said in a statement. “The claim is categorically false: every Israeli, regardless of religion or ethnicity, is eligible for the COVID vaccine, and more than two thirds of Israel’s Arab citizens over 60 have already been vaccinated.”
“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. In the Middle Ages, thousands of Jews were burnt at the stake after being blamed for the Black Death and accused of protecting only themselves. In the 20th century, the Nazis accused Jews of spreading disease and seized on that falsehood to justify imprisoning Jews in ghettos and carrying out the mass murder of European Jewry.”
“Words have consequences, and Jews are at risk when a major American TV company joins with those who claim Israel is favoring only a portion of its citizens in its admirable efforts, praised by Dr. Anthony Fauci and others, to vaccinate all of its residents.”
It's all fun and games until you start promoting antisemitic myths, @NBCSNL.
Every Israeli citizen—Jewish and Arab, Muslim, Christian, of any or no faith—is eligible to be vaccinated; 2/3 of Israel's Arab citizens over 60 already have been.
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) February 21, 2021
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)