Your friends going bonkers on Instagram are one thing, celebrities hoping to solve the humanitarian crisis through petitions are another, but Oliver really took offense to a montage of clips from Newsmax and Fox News harping on the fact that Palestinians in Gaza were responsible for voting in Hamas to represent them in the first place.
Oliver also felt we needed to know who Jesse Watters is, in particular. Watters, 45, has moved up the Fox News ranks from man-on-the-street interviews for The O’Reilly Factor, to hosting a weekly show, to co-hosting the channel’s popular roundtable, The Five, to inheriting Tucker Carlson’s primetime hour.
“He’s a lot like Tucker, except he’s less charismatic, way dumber and with somehow even more of an I’ve-killed-someone-during-a-fraternity-hazing-accident-vibe, which is really saying something,” Oliver said, adding: “Because look, it is true that Gazans did at one point elect Hamas but if you think that makes them all complicit in war crimes their government commits, then boy, do I have bad news for you about decades of U.S. foreign policy.”
Oliver said Gaza’s election requires asterisks—since Hamas hasn’t held an election since 2006, most of Gaza’s population is so young they’ve never had a chance to vote, and when Hamas won by a mere plurality, their leader Ghazi Hamad (who now takes credit for the Oct. 7 attacks) pitched the party as more moderate, supporting democratic pluralism in interviews leading up to the 2006 election.
“And look, even if all Palestinians in Gaza did support Hamas—which they do not—the relentless bombings of civilians there would still be abhorrent,” Oliver said. “Collective punishment is a war crime. But the fact is there is much more criticism of Hamas in Gaza than Americans in general and these dipshits in particular (on Newsmax and Fox News) are willing to admit. Palestinians in Gaza are not a monolith. And nor, importantly, are Israelis.”
Oliver reminded viewers how Benjamin Netanyahu has fought to maintain power, how family members and hospital staffers have chewed out Bibi’s government officials in the past month, and how a series of Hamas bus bombings only helped him get elected in the first place. His current cabinet is also stocked with far-right extremists, including his minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was convicted on at least eight charges (among them supporting terrorism and racism).In addition, the government’s finance minister refuses to acknowledge Palestinians as people and supports illegal West Bank settlements in an attempt to smash Palestinians’ hope for their own state.
“I don’t have a solution for peace in the Middle East,” Oliver said, “And even if I did, which again, I don’t, this really would be the worst voice in which to relay that message. But it does seem to me personally that a ceasefire does have to be the first step.”
While rallies around the world call for a ceasefire, world leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden are unable to say the word. And yet even the Israeli families of the hostages still kept by Hamas in Gaza also are calling on their government to stop bombing and start focusing on bringing their family members home.
“Any conversation around this has to begin with empathy, or we’re just fucked,” Oliver said, adding later: “We know that dehumanizing people leads to violence. We know that violence leads to even more brutality and destruction. And we know that, crucially, breaking that cycle is unfortunately going to require leadership significantly different than the ones currently in place.”
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