Jon Stewart: I Am Not Anti-Israel

The Daily Show host Jon Stewart has addressed the July 14 segment in which he stirred up controversy by criticizing Israel’s incursion into Gaza. In the segment, Stewart lampooned the Israel Defense Forces’ practice of warning “Gaza’s residents of imminent bombing with a smaller, warning bombing, an ‘amuse-boom,’ if you will.” He then asked the audience where Gazans are supposed to evacuate. “Israel has blocked this border. Egypt blocked this border. What are they supposed to do? Swim for it?!” Stewart, who is Jewish, tells The Hollywood Reporter, “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. 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.”