Stephen Colbert Blasts Benjamin Netanyahu for Gaza Attack on World Central Kitchen Workers: ‘You Are Responsible’ | Video

In an unusual “Late Show” segment, the CBS host says the Israeli leader’s defense of “this happens in war” means he should “consider ending the war”

In an unusual moment for late night, “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert spent his post-monologue segment dedicated to the Israeli army drone attack that killed seven members of Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen and criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Despite the difficult subject matter, Colbert still managed to find moments of humor while taking it on.

Colbert began the segment by explaining that it’s his show, and they can “talk about whatever we want. You know, my name’s on the building, nobody asks questions.” However, he noted they have a “self-imposed mandate” to “talk about what everybody’s talking about.”

“And today, what everybody’s talking about is something that’s pretty hard to talk about, and that’s Israel and Gaza,” Colbert said.

The late night host laid out the background of Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and “the horrible inhuman cost of this conflict.” He noted that he was sure there were disagreements in the Ed Sullivan Theater itself about the war and the best path for Israelis and Palestinians to “achieve a peaceful and prosperous future.”

He added, “But I hope there is one thing we can all agree on: human beings should have food and water,” to cheers and applause from the crowd.

Colbert turned to the specific news of the day, naming the workers killed in a drone airstrike by the Israeli army and asking how this happened.

“Despite the fact that World Central Kitchen coordinated their movements with the Israeli military, and the team was leaving a warehouse in central Gaza after unloading shipments of food, they were hit by multiple precision Israeli drone strikes,” Colbert explained, citing news reports from CBS News, NPR and the Washington Post. “They were riding in three vehicles, including two armored cars carrying the World Central Kitchen logo on the roof.”

Colbert noted that Netanyahu had “claimed it was a mistake, but he wasn’t exactly apologetic.” He followed that with a clip of Netanyahu calling what happened “tragic” and adding that innocent people being unintentionally killed is something that “happens in wartime.” Colbert disagreed with the justification.

“Nothing just happens,” Colbert said. “You are responsible. If your answer is, ‘This happens in war,’ then maybe consider ending the war.” The audience cheered for the notion.

The entertainer explained that the thousands of innocent people who have been killed since the war in Gaza began include more than 200 aid workers. Colbert then turned to what World Central Kitchen means to him personally.

“Many of you know, the World Central Kitchen is near and dear to my heart. It was founded by our friend Chef José Andrés to bring food to hungry people after natural disasters and in war zones,” Colbert expounded.

He then turned to Andrés’ guest essay in the New York Times released Wednesday in the wake of these deaths, titled “Let People Eat.” Colbert quoted the piece, which noted that the charitable organization was founded “on the simple belief that food is a universal human right. It is not conditional on being good or bad, rich or poor, left or right. We do not ask what religion you belong to. We just ask how many meals you need.”

The organization has delivered 43 million meals in Gaza during the conflict and 1.75 million in Israel, Colbert noted, citing a Spectrum News report. At which point, Colbert reached his first punchline of the segment.

“They get in there with the food, and they do the job. They’re like Seal Team Doordash,” Colbert quipped, before tagging that with, “Oh, you better tip.”

Colbert went on to note that World Central Kitchen has suspended its operations in Gaza following the airstrike, threatening to heighten the levels of hunger and malnutrition in Gaza to a level one U.S. agency called “unprecedented in modern history,” according to a Rolling Stone report.

The late night host’s tone turned more hopeful as he went on to share Andrés’ call for Israel to open up more land routes for humanitarian aid, quoting from the essay, “We know Israelis. Israelis, in their heart of hearts, know that food is not a weapon of war.”

“That’s right. Food is not a weapon,” Colbert said, “except, of course, for Taco Bell’s big beefy five-layer burrito.”

The surprise turn into another joke included a graphic of the dubious food item, to which Colbert added a play on the quick Mexican restaurant’s tag line: “Live más … for now.”

Colbert summed up on the situation, noting that WCK is “just trying to do good.” He added, “I mean, they literally made a documentary about WCK called ‘We Feed People.’ The only way that could be an evil organization would be if that sentence ended with ‘… to People!’”

The host pointed out that Israel isn’t the only side that has targeted the group’s aid workers. “But instead of being welcomed, they have been attacked by the IDF, and Hamas has hauled members of their team in for interrogation,” Colbert said.

Colbert concluded the segment by making an appeal to the audience for donations to the group. “So whatever you think should happen in Israel and Gaza, I hope we can all agree that people should be allowed to eat. And if you would like to make a donation that would go toward the peaceful nonpartisan enterprise of allowing humans to have their most basic needs met, please think about donating to World Central Kitchen.”

He shared both its web address and an onscreen QR code, finishing up by stating, “Do something radical: Feed people.”

You can watch Colbert’s full, emotional segment in the video at the top of this story.


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