The recent media storm surrounding Jon Stewart’s comedic satire of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict hit a boiling point Tuesday as Fox New’s Sean Hannity took on the issue. Hannity interviewed talk radio host Mark Levin about his recent tirade against Jon Stewart’s characterization of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
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Hannity began the interview insinuating that Stewart’s most recent segment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was in response to Levin’s criticism of him: “My next guest, ‘the great one,’ Mark Levin, went on an epic rant last week over Jon Stewart's criticism of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. And last night, Stewart -- well, kind of sort of finally had the courage to respond. He still was not brave enough to mention "the great one" by name. Take a look.”
During the interview Levin continued his assault on Stewart saying, “I do not think he is smart, I do not think he is funny.” Watch the clip above or read the transcript below for the full interview.
Fox News Transcript from Hannity:
"LEVIN: I'll tell you why. Because he's held up as this really smart guy, this -- he's held up as a brilliant comedian. He's not a smart guy. He's got 10 writers. He's a clown.
HANNITY: Ten? He's got 30!
LEVIN: And that particular segment -- I don't watch him, but I watched this -- well, I watched this segment on the Internet, and the disinformation and the propaganda he was putting out in the form of jokes was outrageous! And I would just tell Mr. Stewart that it really doesn't take a lot of courage to criticize Israel and trash Israel. It's done all the time. It's done by Israel's, quote, unquote, "neighbors." It's done in Europe right now, where Jewish stores and so forth are being burned down and there's riots. It's done in Boston and New York, where the police have had to come out and protect pro-Israeli rallies and so forth. So you're not really a tough guy. You're not really cutting-edge.
And the fact of the matter, Mr. Stewart, is that if Hamas had the weaponry that Israel had, nuclear weapons and other weapons, Israel would cease to exist. And if Israel wanted to take out whole communities in Gaza, or the whole Gaza strip, they could do so in about 30 minutes. And it doesn't.
This is the only country I know of that has thousands of missiles rained in on it, missiles coming from Iran through Hezbollah to Hamas, a country that agrees to a cease-fire that was negotiated by Egypt and the Arab League, and still has to tolerate these attacks. And even today, Sean, a missile came very close to Ben Gurion airport. They shut down the airport now to international traffic. The United States did. So now Israel is isolated in that way.
Can you imagine? The Gaza strip is relatively distant from Ben Gurion airport. The West Bank is very close. So what this demonstrates is Israel must never demilitarize or give up the West Bank because it will lose all control over its security!
So I -- I thought Jon Stewart -- I don't think he's funny. I don't think he's smart. How can he be, 10, 30 writers? But I thought this particular segment was really putrid.
HANNITY: Let me -- there is a serious side to all of this, and that is I think the world is missing some moral clarity here. And by that I mean -- you're right, anti-Semitism in Europe, anti-Semitism is now -- you know, we're seeing signs of it here in the U.S., New York, Boston. We saw signs of it in Canada earlier today.
And yet John Kerry and others are expecting Israel -- when you have 1,600 rockets fired into Israeli cities, what do they expect them to do? I mean, what if one rocket were fired into one town or one city or one state here in the U.S.? I know what I'd expect our president to do, take out whoever was responsible. I don't understand why they're -- this is not a morally clear issue for everybody.
LEVIN: Well, it is morally clear. That's why those who now pretend there's a moral equivalency or moral relativism are absolutely fools. And they're to be ignored or to be shamed.
The fact of the matter is, Israel's not at war with Egypt because Egypt isn't shooting missiles into Israel. It's not at war with Jordan. Jordan's not shooting missiles into Israel. It's not a war with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's not shooting missiles into Israel!
Israel waited and waited and waited, missile after missile after missile, and even after this cease-fire, it agreed to it, and then it warned Hamas, you continue this, you can see we're building up our ground troops. This is the only country I know that's not allowed to win!
If they don't wipe out Hamas and the Hamas missile sites, it's never going to end! And I would like to educate Jon Stewart and his clapping seal studio audience to let them know Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas also was part of the PLO. The PLO's history goes back to the mufti, goes back to the Third Reich, the final solution. Read up, Ivy League boy! Try and figure out exactly what's going on before you cut your stupid jokes!
HANNITY: Well, Hamas also has a charter, and in that charter, it calls for the destruction of Israel."