Israel’s answer to “Saturday Night Live” is pulling no punches in taking aim at American college campuses, as satirists work to make a grieving and angry Israeli public laugh again. A viral sketch from the country’s leading satirical sketch show has gained huge traction, racking up over 17 million views online.
The show, “Eretz Nehederet,” which means “A Wonderful Country,” is watched by about 30% of Israelis who own television sets, and its latest skit takes direct aim at college campus protests in America.
“Everyone is welcome right now — LGBTQH,” says student Keley, co-host of the fictitious “Columbia Untisemity” student news program, a parody of students at Columbia University.
“H?” inquires co-host and fellow student, Wordle.
“Hamas!” Keley responds.
The two students can then be seen tearing down posters of kidnapped Israelis, with one declaring “Jews make the world dirty,” but quickly noting “I’m not antisemitic, I’m racist fluid.”
The two hosts proceed to interview a fictitious Hamas spokesperson but fail to notice that the spokesperson is leveling homophobic slurs at them.
The show’s executive producer, Muli Segev, spoke to CBS News in Tel Aviv and said he was motivated to write the sketch after seeing social media footage of American students tearing down posters of Israeli hostages.
“We saw the videos from the streets of young people tearing down posters of the hostages, you know, some of them children,” he said.
“It’s horrifying, it’s such a hateful thing to do. These guys are supposed to demand (the hostages’) release, if they call themselves moral people,” Segev said Thursday.
As CBS News, there has been a dramatic spike in both antisemitism and Islamophobia on American college campuses over the past month.
The uptick comes in the aftermath of thethat Israel says left more than 1,400 Israelis dead, as well as on the Islamic militant group, which has left more than 10,800 people dead in a heavily bombarded Gaza, 68% of whom are women and children, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
For his part, Segev said the show did the sketch in English in an effort to reach an American audience and start a more nuanced conversation online.
“It’s a very complicated conflict. It’s not this, you know, Israel is evil and Palestinians are victims. It’s much more complicated than that and it’s OK to be pro Palestinian,” Segev observed.
“I’m not saying Israel hasn’t done anything wrong, but the one-sided way (many on U.S. college campuses) perceive this conflict is amazing,” Segev remarked.
He created “Eretz Nehederet” more than two decades ago and points out it’s stayed on the air through several difficult periods.
“We’re always on the air no matter how harsh the reality is because we believe that comedy and laughter is the best cure for anxiety, and we have that a lot here,” Segev told CBS News. “So one of the ways to cope with the harsh reality is to laugh about it. … That’s a very Jewish thing to do!”