NBC's flagship satirical television show, Saturday Night Live, cancelled the airing of a controversial skit lampooning the confirmation hearing of Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel, but uploaded the skit to the internet.
The skit prompted criticism from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and from Israel advocate Mark Langfan, among others.
Foxman told The Daily Beast the sketch was “overdone and overdone and overdone. It focuses on the issue of Israel to such a ridiculous extreme that we do become concerned because there is a claim out there that America’s a tool of the Israelis.”
It makes no difference, he said, that SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels and many of the show’s writers and staffers are Jewish. “That doesn’t excuse their insensitivity and their playing on stereotypes and selling stereotypes and [en]forcing stereotypes,” he said.
NBC and SNL offered no response on Monday to Foxman’s complaint.
In the six-minute sketch, Hagel is grilled by senators Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, John McCain and Bernie Sanders, who compete with each other to show their slavish devotion to Israel. The John McCain character demands to know if Hagel would perform a sexual act with an animal if Binyamin Netanyahu told him to, and refuses to confirm him as Secretary of Defense when he answers in the negative.
Pro-Israel advocate Mark Langfan went further than Foxman, stating unequivocally that the sketch was anti-Semitic, because it "makes the U.S. senators look like Israeli senators who are prisoners of the 'Jewish lobby.'"
In addition, he said, it is racist, because it "makes the black U.S. Republican senator look like he just got off a farm and portrays him as a total rube. For SNL it's kosher to excoriate a black Republican senator only because he's Republican."
Asked by Arutz Sheva if mocking the power of the pro-Israel lobby is not legitimate satire, Langfan explained:
"Not when the satire actually perverts the true fact that Hagel looked like the idiot with his answers on 'containment' that had to corrected by his handlers with a corrective note. If they attacked a black Democratic congressman like they attacked a black Republican senator, there would be outrage. The black senator was only attacked because he was a Republican. That's disgustingly racist.
The airing of the skit on television was cancelled, Langfan said, "because they might have realized how putrid and lurid the skit was."
The sketch, which contains the offensive reference mentioned above, has been placed on an anti-Israeli Youtube channel.