Jon Stewart weighed in again on the Middle East on The Daily Show on Monday night. This time he took at a shot at the idea that pictures have been setting the region ablaze: After the Charlie Hebdo cartoons and the photoshopping of Angela Merkel out of the picture of the march in Paris by an ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper, Jon Stewart has started his own new recurring segment: "What Picture is Upsetting the Middle East This Week?"
"What picture will anger the Middle East this week? ISIS beheading? Ayatollah on the toilet hard-core ankle porn? What?" Stewart asked, only to answer: No, it's a selfie that caused an international incident.
The photo in question featured several beauty queens at the preparations for the Miss Universe beauty pageant in Miami. On the face of it, a harmless selfie - but the controversial photo was taken by Miss Israel Doron Matalon, with her "new friend": Miss Lebanon Saly Greige. The faux-pas sparked an intense debate in Lebanon, with some demanding that Greige lose her title for consorting with a citizen of the enemy state.
(Video at the bottom)
As to the explanation that Miss Lebanon should have known better because Lebanon and Israel are enemies, Stewart said: "It's a beauty pageant - they're all enemies."
After hearing the claim by Miss Lebanon that she was photobombed by Miss Israel Doron Matalon, Stewart said: "Does everything that happens between Middle East countries have to be a bombing?
"I get that Israel and Lebanon share an intractable enmity. Come on, the Miss Universe Pageant? It's the one chance in the whole year when all nations can put aside their differences, come together in Miami and as one treat women like expensive food instead of human beings."
Greige defended herself on photo-sharing service Instagram on Saturday, saying Matalon had pestered her for a picture together and finally photobombed her. "Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel, who tried several times to take a photo with me," Greige said. "I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia, suddenly Miss Israel jumped in and took a selfie, and uploaded it on her social media."
The two countries are technically at war, although the border has been largely quiet since their 2006 conflict. The Lebanese risk prison if they call or travel to Israel and all Israeli products are banned in Lebanon.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now