Posted by on June 10, 2010 in Blog

In a stark departure from finely crafted talking points, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren spoke with rare clarity about Israel’s intentions in imposing and maintaining the blockade on Gaza’s 1.5 million people. Appearing on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, Oren faced tougher questions from Stephen Colbert than he has gotten from most “serious” news outlets.

In asking about Israel’s decision to remove soda, juice, jam, chips, cookies, candy and other snack foods from the list of banned items yesterday, Colbert asks, “What makes them suddenly less dangerous?” Oren’s response embraces Israel’s policy of collective punishment and unapologetically declares; “We don’t feel particularly obliged to provide them with snack food.”

On the blockade, Oren states, “We don’t want to have this blockade. But if we let in the lettuce, what’s going to get in is more rockets, machine guns.” Colbert keenly points out, “Wait a second. It goes lettuce, rockets, machine guns?” and Oren’s response is “exactly.”

There is more real news in the interview with a discussion of the need for an independent investigation into the attack on the aid flotilla. And the segment concludes with Colbert raising the controversy surrounding Helen Thomas’ recent remarks on Israel. After repudiating her comments, Colbert brilliantly states, “If anything, the Palestinians should go back to where they came from. Do you agree? Do you agree, sir? It’s time to get them back to wherever that was? Oren responds: “I don’t agree.”

We get that this is Comedy Central. We get satire and humor. What is surreal here is just how much the Israeli position defies any logic and is truly tragic – and how much even the extremely talented Stephen Colbert can’t make it funny.

Click here to watch the appearance in its entirety.