John Oliver
John Oliver REUTERS/Monica Almeida

US comedian John Oliver accused Israel of "war crimes" and "Apartheid" during his show 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' Sunday night.

“One side has suffered over 10 times the casualties, something which speaks to both the severe power imbalance at play here and how that often gets obscured by how we choose to talk about it,” Oliver said.

Oliver described the Israeli military actions over the last week as "just wrong."

“Israel has a so-called Iron Dome,” he said, “so the point is, this isn’t tit-for-tat. There is a massive imbalance when it comes to the two sides’ weaponry and capabilities. While most of the rockets aimed toward Israeli citizens this week were intercepted, Israel’s airstrikes were not. They hit their targets, including a house in a refugee camp, a building housing the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, and [a] 13-story office and apartment building. And while Israel insisted that there were military targets in that building and they destroyed it as humanely as possible, even warning people to evacuate it beforehand, destroying a civilian residence sure seems like a war crime, regardless of whether you send a courtesy heads-up text.”

“In general, you should probably never meme a war crime,” Oliver added. “The fact is, the citizens of Gaza don’t have an Iron Dome to protect them the way the citizens of Israel do. It’s one of many ways they’re at a significant disadvantage.”

“They’ve been living under a suffocating blockade for 14 years, and in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Palestinians are essentially being governed by a form of Apartheid—an assessment echoed by both international and Israeli human rights groups,” Oliver accused. “Life in Gaza is hard even when they’re not being bombed, and the U.S. government has implicitly co-signed on the brutally hard line Israel’s been taking.”

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