Jon Stewart Explains Why Criticizing Israel Doesn’t Make Him a ‘Self-Hating Jew’

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If you have been paying attention to the Israeli War on Gaza then you realize that two things are true in the presence of Israeli Nationalists:

1. Criticize the State of Israel if you are not Jewish and you will be called “antisemitic”.

2. Criticize the State of Israel if you are Jewish and you will be called a “self-hating Jew”.

Comedian Jon Stewart has smashed these nationalist talking points over and over again. Now Stewart, a Jewish late-night comedy host, who’s birth name is Jonathan Leibowitz, is back to confront the rhetoric that he is a “self-hating Jew” for criticizing Israel.

“Look, there’s a lot of reasons why I hate myself — being Jewish isn’t one of them,” Stewart explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “So when someone starts throwing that around, or throwing around you’re pro-terrorist, it’s more just disappointing than anything else. I’ve made a living for 16 years criticizing certain policies that I think are not good for America. That doesn’t make me anti-American. And if I do the same with Israel, that doesn’t make me anti-Israel,” he continued.

Stewart said further that “You cannot outsmart dogma, no matter what you do. If there is something constructive in what they’re saying, hopefully I’m still open enough … to take it in and let it further inform my position. But I’m pretty impermeable to yelling. As soon as they go to, ‘Your real name is Leibowitz!’ that’s when I change the channel.”

About the author: M.B. David is the author of several scholarly works on Middle Eastern politics, history and religion, such as People of the Book: What the Religions Named in the Qur’an Can Tell Us About the Earliest Understanding of “Islam” as well as the recently published Sci-Fi novel Sleeper Cell 2240: Memoires of the 21st Century Interplanetary Revolution. He is currently working on his doctorate, writing a dissertation focused on the non-profit Hashlamah Project Foundation and associated global study circles.

Isa Abu Jamal, Eli Khalil and Ari Simeon contributed to this report.

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