An Israeli television host used the final episode of his late-night show to sharply criticize the country’s treatment of Palestinians, comparing settlement efforts in Gaza and the West Bank to South Africa’s apartheid era.
Assaf Harel, the host of the nighttime comedy show “Good Night With Assaf Harel,” used his final monologue to condemn Israelis for their “amazing ability to ignore what’s happening mere kilometers away.” The show wasn’t renewed for another season and ended this month.
If you look at our life from a bird’s-eye view, we’re doing pretty great. Really. Great weather, great food, great people, great beaches. It’s not so bad here, in general. And that’s exactly the point, that we’re doing great, but there are a couple of million people that we’re responsible for, and they’re in a horrible state. Infrastructure, food, health care, education. Millions who are living in abject poverty. Gaza is on the verge of plague, hours on end without electricity or water. Israel controls everything that goes in or out ....
Ever since the right-wing took power, more and more voices are warning of apartheid. Are you kidding? Apartheid has been here for ages. Ages. It’s just that we’re on the good side, so it doesn’t really bother us.
The video has spread across social media and comes at a crucial political time for the region. After years of a chilly relationship between Washington and Israel, U.S. President Donald Trump has indicated he is firmly on the side of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli government first tested that relationship in January, when it approved an expansion of settlements in the West Bank, flouting a bloc of 70 countries that warned such a move would put the two-state solution in danger.
Amid all of this, it is unclear where the peace process stands. Trump made headlines several weeks ago when he seemingly abandoned decades of U.S. foreign policy moving toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, just a day later U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said America was “absolutely” committed to the two-state solution.
The developments have emboldened Israel’s radical right. Some right-wing Israeli officials called Trump’s statement the beginning of a “new era” and said “after 24 years, the Palestinian flag is lowered and the Israeli flag is put in its place.”
Harel lambasted such rhetoric and challenged Israelis to look beyond their borders and end the oversight of ongoing struggles in Palestinian territory.
Israel’s most impressive innovation, more than any high-tech project or Rafael weapon, is our amazing ability to ignore what is happening mere kilometers away to our neighbors, a whole people, transparent, like it doesn’t exist.
On one side the extremists kill, and on the other side the “extremists” talk. On one side the extremists burn people alive, and on the other side the extremists demand human rights.