Jon Stewart’s comic segment on Israel gets Arab Twitter applause

Observers hailed Stewart mocking the inability to criticize Israel in a media environment generally sensitive to the topic

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Jon Stewart’s recent segment mocking the difficulty to criticize Israel in the American media has garnered support among social media users and media commentators in the Arab World.

In the Daily Show segment aired on Monday, Stewart was abruptly interrupted by four of the show’s “correspondents” whenever he mentioned the word ‘Israel.” They made loud pro-Israel remarks, forcing Stewart to shift the discussion to Hamas.

The video, which is widely viewed on the internet, was ‘starred’ on Twitter more than 530 times.

Middle East social media users shared the video on both twitter and Facebook, some describing it as “brilliant” and “awesome.” Several journalists shared the video on twitter, saying it displayed what it is like to report on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Danny Gold, correspondent for Vice News tweeted: “Jon Stewart nails what it’s like reporting on Israel/Palestine”

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef tweeted that this was not Stewart’s first time to take “this stand,” attaching a link to an older video of him criticizing Israel.

Dalia Ezzat, a Middle East observer, shared Stewart's video on Twitter saying: "Reposting because Jon Stewart nails it. What happens when you criticize Israel."

Egyptian blogger, the Big Pharaoh, also shared the video tweeting that he could relate to Jon Stewart. “People will attack you if you criticized Israel or Hamas,” he added.

Gino Raidy, a blogger in Lebanon, shared the video, branded it as “brilliant.” He said the video addressed the issue that discussions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are often “black or white.”

“I hope it leads to more pragmatic and less ideological discussions” he told Al Arabiya News.

According to Raidy Jon Stewart’s Jewish background might have given his segment on Israel increased popularity among Arab internet users.

Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah wrote that Stewart has made it “okay to care about Palestinian suffering.”

Raidy equates the violent eruption of Stewart’s colleagues to what happens on social media when Israel or Hamas are criticized.

The segment was a response to criticism Stewart attracted for another segment on Israel’s military offensive into the Gaza strip. In the earlier segment, Stewart mocked the discrepancies between the military capabilities of the Israelis and Hamas.

One American radio host called Stewart a “self-hating Jew” and a “knee-jerk idiot.” “Self-hating Jew” was one of the slurs jokingly thrown at Stewart by his disgruntled colleagues.

The episode that triggered staunch criticism of Stewart brought attention to the plight of the people in Gaza, where Israel’s offensive has killed more than 700 Palestinians.