Much like Seth Rogen questioning why the state of Israel exists last year, John Oliver isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers on the subject (starting around the 1:00 minute mark above). This is especially the case in light of the current situation between Israel and Palestine. Oliver tackled the subject on the heels of Israel’s recent air strikes against Hamas fighters in Gaza, where Palestinian civilians are caught in the crossfire, in many cases losing their lives and their homes. And let’s just say that Oliver is more than “deeply underwhelmed” by the Biden administration’s response, and for that matter, several previous U.S. administrations, while he addressed the subject on Sunday night.
In particular, the Last Week Tonight host was incensed by the misleading vocabulary used by the Israeli government to disguise human rights violations (including “planned expulsions”) as something altogether different. “Is it not hard to see why sanitized terms like ‘evictions’ and ‘property disputes’ rankle those who live there,” he says, as does the term “airstrikes on militants” translate as “a little disingenuous,” Oliver declared. “What you’re describing is forcing people from the homes they’ve lived for decades and killing civilians and children.”
Oliver also took great issue with Israel’s claims that a heads-up on airstrikes somehow rendered them humane. That’s a big nope to the host: “Destroying a civilian residence sure seems like a war crime, regardless of whether you send a courtesy heads-up text.” He added that such an attitude leads to a lie-by-omission, much like “Matt Gaetz Reaches Out To Florida Youth,” because “it’s missing some pretty crucial details about the exact nature of that interaction.” Further, Oliver called out Israel for their atrocities against Gaza-residing Palestinian citizens, who are “at a significant disadvantage” due to not being able to count on an “Iron Dome” of missile defense like their Israeli counterparts can do. Further to that point, there’s the whole matter of Israel Defense Forces “meme-ing” the bombing of apartments in a before-after manner.
“In general, you should probably never meme a war crime,” declared the host. He then pointed toward how Palestinians are “essentially being governed by a form of apartheid.” This makes their “life in Gaza… hard even when they’re not being bombed,” and Oliver is aghast at how “the U.S. government has implicitly co-signed on the brutally hard line Israel’s been taking.” To that end, the host dragged Biden’s recent “Israel has the right to defend itself” response, which is a word-by-word echoing of several presidents (including Obama and Trump, under whom Jared Kushner claimed to “bring peace” to the Middle East) before him. “By constantly refusing to criticize the indefensible,” Oliver said, the U.S. is enabling (and complicit within) the exponentially larger suffering of Palestinian citizens over their their Israeli counterparts.
Even though there’s no winner in the situation, Oliver urges his viewers to accept that although civilians, including children, have been killed in Israel, too, the playing field isn’t level. “Both sides are firing rockets,” Oliver pointed out. “But one side has the most advanced military in the world.” And “one side is suffering them exponentially.”