Saturday Night Live is being criticized for a joke by Michael Che during the show’s most recent broadcast that suggested the State of Israel is only offering the coronavirus vaccine to Jews.
The joke came in the “Weekend Update” segment, when Che announced: “Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half their population. And I’m gonna guess: it’s the Jewish half.”
“Fake news” reports that Israel is not providing vaccines to Palestinians or Arabs have become the newest staple of anti-Israel propaganda.
Jewish leaders have pointed out that the false accusation repeats themes of antisemitic blood libels dating to the medieval era, when Jews were falsely accused of poisoning the surrounding populations.
Israel is, in fact, providing vaccines to its Arab citizens, who form roughly 20% of the total — though some are reluctant to take them.
Israel has prioritized its own citizens in vaccination, noting that the Palestinian Authority has authority for the health care of its own residents, and that the Palestinian government chose to purchase Russian vaccines instead of the American-made Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called false claims about Israel’s coronavirus vaccination program a “blood libel,” according to the Jerusalem Post:
Erdan told the Security Council that “according to the international agreements, the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the healthcare of its own population – just as it is responsible for their education system.”
The PA, he explained, “informed Israel they intend to purchase vaccines from the Russian government and Israel has announced it will facilitate their transfer. These are the facts.”
“Anyone who joins the Palestinian campaign of lies either doesn’t know the facts or is motivated by politics or antisemitism,” the ambassador said.
David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, accused Che of spreading an “antisemitic lie”: