Two weeks ahead of Obama's planned trip to Israel, a week after Chuck Hagel was confirmed as U.S. secretary of defense, and just days after speaking at AIPAC's annual conference, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren was a guest on Tuesday's The Colbert Report.
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Stephen Colbert, who is well-known for his feigned conservative, right-wing political leanings, introduced the topic of Israel by saying that he was "certainly a better friend than Barack Obama, who has repeatedly snubbed our ally 'Yisrael' by refusing to visit the country," a reference to the fact that Obama's upcoming trip will be his first since assuming office in 2008.
After drawing laughs with his humorous Hebrew-sounding pronunciation of "Israel," Colbert turned poked fun at Oren about Obama's upcoming visit, hounding him over his boss, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apparent preference for Mitt Romney during the 2012 American elections, showing various clips of the Israeli PM expressing support for Romney. Colbert summed it up by saying, "That might make Obama's trip a little 'awkghward,'" playing on the sound of Hebrew's "chet" and earning big laughs.
"Now, Obama's coming over, whether you like it or not, and I know you guys don't like it," Colbert said, asserting that "Netanyahu wanted the other guy, that's clear." Oren, over the audience's laughs, attempted to clarify that Israel does not get involved in American politics, to which Colbert smiled patronizingly: "You're adorable, you're adorable!"
Colbert then asked out of nowhere: "What about Iran?" When do you guys start bombing?" The host then glanced at the camera and shouted, "Hold on, one second - just turn off the cameras, this is national security." Ambassador Oren said that Israel, more than any country, is interested in solving the issue diplomatically, mentioning the well being of his own children who live in Israel He also asserted that the U.S. and Israel face many of the same challenges in the region.
Colbert concluded the segment by asking Oren to pass along a message of solidarity to Netanyahu: "The 'Colbert Nation' is behind Israel on this one, and if you do bomb Iran, we are right behind you, with just as many nuclear weapons as you admit to having."