Israel’s answer to “Saturday Night Live” is not up for grabs on American college campuses, as satirists work to make a grieving and angry Israeli public laugh again. A viral skit from the country’s leading satirical sketch show has gained massive traction, garnering over 17 million views online.
The show “Eretz Nehederet,” which means “A Wonderful Land,” is watched by about 30% of Israelis who own television sets, and its latest skit takes direct aim at protests on college campuses in America.
“Everybody’s welcome right now — LGBTQH,” says student Keley, co-host of the fictional “Columbia Untisemity” student news program, a parody of students at Columbia University.
“H?” asks co-host and fellow student, Wordle.
“Hamas!” Keley answers.
The two students can then be seen tearing down posters of kidnapped Israelis, with one declaring “Jews make the world dirty” but quickly remarking “I’m not anti-Semitic, I’m racist liquid.”
The two hosts continue to interview a fictitious Hamas spokesman, but fail to notice that the spokesman directs 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 footage on social media 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.
Like CBS Newsthere has been a dramatic increase in both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on American college campuses over the past month.
The increase comes in the wake ofthat Israel says left more than 1,400 Israelis dead, as well on the Islamic militant group, which has left more than 10,800 people dead in heavily bombarded Gaza, 68% of whom are women and children, according to the UN 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 the Palestinians are victims. It’s a lot more complicated than that, and it’s OK to be pro-Palestinian,” Segev noted.
“I’m not saying that Israel has done nothing wrong, but the one-sided way (many on American college campuses) perceive this conflict is amazing,” Segev noted.
He created “Eretz Nehederet” more than two decades ago and points out that it has remained 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 are the best antidote to anxiety, and we have a lot of that here,” Segev told CBS News. “So one of the ways to cope with the harsh reality is to laugh at it. … It’s a very Jewish thing to do!”