The popular comedy show “Saturday Night Live” is under fire for a joke that suggested Israel is vaccinating only its Jewish citizens against COVID-19.
“Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population, and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half,” said Michael Che on this past Saturday night’s show.
The joke sparked outrage by Jewish groups which have demanded that the show apologize.
Former New York State assemblyman and head of Americans Against Antisemitism tweeted, “Unsurprising coming from SNL as they have a long record of antisemitism.”
“But Michael Che or whoever wrote that ‘joke’ is obviously also ignorant of fact that Israel has Arab citizens who’ve received the vaccine according to the same qualifications as Jews!” he added.
Activist and former spokesman Avi Mayer tweeted, “It's all fun and games until you start promoting antisemitic myths, SNL.”
“Every Israeli citizen—Jewish and Arab, Muslim, Christian, of any or no faith—is eligible to be vaccinated; 2/3 of Israel's Arab citizens over 60 already have been.”
The American Jewish Committee, meanwhile, began circulating a petition asking the program to apologize for the joke.
“Saturday Night Live’s ‘joke’ isn’t just untrue — it’s dangerous, a modern twist on a classic anti-Semitic trope that has inspired the mass murder of countless Jews throughout the centuries,” the AJC said in the petition posted online on Sunday and which will be delivered to NBC, which broadcasts the show.
Arthur Stark, Chairman, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said in response to the SNL sketch, “We find the use of age-old antisemitic tropes on last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live to be deeply troubling. It is particularly painful for this to occur at a time when antisemitic incidents, some resulting in death and injury, are at record highs.”
“The State of Israel’s successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign is a model for the entire world. More than a fifth of Israel’s population is non-Jewish, and all Israelis – Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike – along with Palestinians living in Jerusalem, are participants in the vaccine rollout. The vaccine is equally available to the entire population of Israel, regardless of gender, race, or religion,” they added.
“Saturday Night Live’s ill conceived ‘joke’ adds to the heap of lies and conspiratorial allegations surrounding the Jewish people and COVID-19 that recalls medieval accusations of Jews being responsible for disease and plagues. NBC should know better, and must not only stop spreading harmful misinformation, but take action to undo this damage caused by propagating Jew-hatred under the guise of comedy.”