Jon Stewart and Anti-Semitism

I've been accused of anti-Semitism twice, and I still bristle.

The first was after the Buchanan presidential run of '92, which I supported, and which triggered an ugly whisper campaign in Hollywood suggesting an anti-Semitic streak lurking under the hood. The second time, 10 years ago, was a frontal attack. I had conducted a teleconference, involving a dozen or more journalists, to unveil the results of a study conducted by the Parents Television Council involving Hollywood and religion. I learned about an hour later that Lynn Smith of the L.A. Times was working up a story suggesting I'd made anti-Semitic remarks.

I called her to explain exactly how she was taking my words out of context; how the teleconference had been taped, and would validate that position unequivocally; and which comments had been heard by a dozen of her fellow journalists who probably would like nothing more than to make that accusation except none would since it was false.

Smith finally agreed with me and told me she'd expunge the offensive passages from her story — and then ran them as the lead in the front page the following day. After I unloaded on her, and provided her editor with the evidence of her rank dishonesty — Lynn, are you reading this? Care to sue? — the paper ran a retraction, though an apology was in order, and she should have been fired.

Tom Oliphant, the liberal columnist for the Boston Globe and a true gentleman, once remarked on the subject, "The only thing uglier than the charge of anti-Semitism is the false charge of anti-Semitism."

Enter Mark Levin, perhaps the strongest supporter of Israel on the airwaves today. He is being tagged by the left as anti-Semitic — for defending Israel.

In a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart is painting himself as some kind of loyal critic, neither anti-American or anti-Israel, even as he singles America and Israel for mockery. In a piece that ran in July he summarized Israel's strategy in its war against Hamas as "tastes great, more killing." He ridiculed the idea that Israel has warned Gazans to evacuate before air strikes. "And then, at that point, what are Gazans supposed to do? Evacuate to where? Have you seen f—-ing Gaza? Israel has blocked this border. Egypt has blocked this border. What are they supposed to do? Swim for it?"

But where is the humor here? Ask Israelis if they think this is funny. Bombs are raining down on Israel every day, hundreds of them some days, courtesy of an radical organization funded by a radical Muslim nation committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. The Gazans elected a terrorist group, Hamas, to run their territory. The Hamas charter calls for the elimination of Israel and the murder of the Jews. According to Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, "The Hamas credo is not just anti-Israel, but profoundly anti-Semitic with racism at its core. The Hamas Charter reads like a modern-day 'Mein Kampf.'"

So Levin responded by broadsiding his fellow Jew, calling this comedian a "clown" and branding his humor "putrid." He is correct. Had he been around at the time, would Stewart have ridiculed the Jewish condition under Adolf Hitler? Some would consider that scenario preposterous, even insulting. And yet the Nazis shared the same goals with Hamas. If it is beyond the pale to find humor in the one, why is it permissible with the other?

Amazingly, some on the left are circling the wagons around Stewart. He is hailed by leftists like Muslim comedian Dean Obeidallah as the man who "made it OK to care about Palestinian suffering." Obeidallah still adores Stewart blaming Israel in 2009 for a "civilian carnage Toyotathon" in Gaza.

And what do they think of Mark Levin for attacking Stewart? John Amato at the leftist website Crooks and Liars drops the nuclear weapon, he thinks. "It's OK, Mark. We don't trust anti-Semitic radio hosts." (When Sean Hannity interviewed Levin about this issue, he too was labeled anti-Semitic by another leftist group.)

The left adores Stewart for mocking everything vaguely smelling like Western civilization, and his attacks on Israel further the narrative. Where are the Jews who should be appalled? Levin is a lonely, courageous figure in what should be a political uproar. He doesn't deserve these attacks. He deserves a standing ovation.