The American Jewish Congress is not laughing at incoming “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, and members are none-too-pleased with Jon Stewart for handing over the reins to “a sexist anti-Semite.”
The AJC circulated a letter on Tuesday, asking recipients to sign a petition to stop Noah from inheriting the Comedy Central program. Their beef lies within a series of old Twitter jokes made by Noah, which AJC President Jack Rosen called “sexist, anti-Semitic” and “crude humor.”
“How can one of the world’s most admired Jewish comedians leave his legacy to a sexist anti-Semite?” Rosen asked in writing. “That’s why we’re calling on Jon Stewart: Rescind Trevor Noah’s Daily Show contract.”
At the time of this posting, Rosen’s petition had zero tweets and 75 Facebook shares.
Last week, the Anti-Defamation League was more temperate in discussing Noah’s 140-character jokes.
“We hope he will not cross the line from legitimate satire into offensiveness with jokes calling up anti-Semitic stereotypes and misogyny,” National Director Abraham H. Foxman said. That was about as harsh as the group got, wishing Noah luck otherwise.
For his part, Noah just asked that his character not be judged by a “handful of jokes that didn’t land.”
Here is a sampling of tweets that the American Jewish Congress took exception to: “South Africans know how to recycle like Israelis know how to be peaceful.”
And: “Messi gets the ball and the real players try to foul him, but Messi doesn’t go down easy, just like Jewish chicks.”
The American Jewish Congress describes itself as “the leading global Jewish advocacy organization. With offices across the United States and around the globe, and partnerships with Jewish communities worldwide, AJC works to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and to advance human rights and democratic values for all.”
Below is Rosen’s full letter (boldface and links are original to the AJC):
Last week, Comedy Central announced that South African comedian Trevor Noah would replace Jon Stewart as host of the Daily Show. A series of alarming jokes about women and Jews in Noah’s Twitter feed has since cast doubt on that choice.
How can one of the world’s most admired Jewish comedians leave his legacy to a sexist anti-Semite?
Do sexist, anti-Semitic jokes really represent the comedy institution that Jon Stewart has spent the last decade building? Is this crude humor something that fans of the Daily Show will be receptive to? We don’t think so.
That’s why we’re calling on Jon Stewart: Rescind Trevor Noah’s Daily Show contract.
Jack Rosen, President
American Jewish Congress