Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed “Saturday Night Live” on Thursday for an “outrageous” joke about his country’s COVID vaccine distribution and the “false” suggestion that Jewish citizens were prioritized for vaccination.
“This is just outrageous,” Netanyahu said during an appearance on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”
“In fact, I brought vaccines and went especially to the Arab communities — the Arab citizens of Israel — and vaccinated as many as we can,” he added, “I must have gone to half a dozen Arab communities already, talked with the mayors there, brought the leaders, brought the doctors there, Arab doctors.”
On the Feb. 20 “SNL” episode, “Weekend Update” co-anchor Michael Che joked, “Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population. I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.” Watch the segment in question here.
According to the Associated Press, Israel began allowing the Palestinian Authority to deliver the first coronavirus vaccines to the Gaza Strip just the previous week.
Last week, the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League criticized that “SNL” for what it called an “offensive” joke — and added that this was not the first time the show has “inappropriately used Jews as the punchline.”
“Saturday Night Live’s ‘Weekend Update’ is known for sharp criticism and public takedowns, but Saturday’s deeply offensive joke about Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination process not only missed the mark, but crossed the line — basing the premise of the joke on factual inaccuracies and playing into an antisemitic trope in the process,” said CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement posted to Twitter at the time.