Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mustafa Barghuti on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart

So I watched it. First, it was interesting that he came accompanied with a (nice) Jewish woman activist for peace. But it came across as awkward: as if the Palestinian could not be brought before the audience without the approval and blessing of an American Jewish person. As if to say: he is OK. This one is a human being. Secondly, the tension was felt as soon as Barghuti began to speak: when a member of the audience yelled: liar. And Jon Stewart, who repudiated and mocked Rep. Wilson for yelling "liar" to Obama, treated the yelling but the audience member as a healthy or normal expression of the intensity of passions on both sides. He almost sounded: as if the words of Barghuti are equal to the rude yelling but that dude. Thirdly, Barghuti was quite rude and sexist: he would interrupt the woman as soon as she would try to talk. It really bothered me. She did not have a chance to speak. Fourthly, as is the case when it comes to Israel, Jon Stewart was not himself during the segment: he was not funny or witty, and he was nervous and felt (it seemed to me) an obligation to parrot the cliches of MEMRI and AIPAC without even intelligent review of those cliches. He said that Jews were expelled from Iran in 1948. Just like that. Fifthly, Barghuti kept repeating that his "movement" stand for non-violence. Yet, another attempt to show that he--unlike other Palestinians--is a human being. Sixthly, Barthuti was dragged into giving assurances about "the security of Israel." Here was a visitor from an occupied land invited to a TV show to give assurances to the occupying state. A theater of the absurd, for sure. Seventhly, Jon Stewart (who is usually smart and well-informed about politics) sounded as ignorant and as ill-informed about the Arab-Israeli conflict as the average American. He cracked a joke about Palestinians and Israeli, implying that all Palestinians are Muslim. At least Barghuti corrected him on that one.