FEBRUARY 23, 2021
Michael Che's now-infamous joke on Saturday Night Live about Israel's vaccination priorities is riling up not only Jews, but Christians as well.
"Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population,” Che said on the "Weekend Update" segment. “I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half."
"No, Mr. Che and SNL, anti-Semitism is never funny," reads a press release from the Genesis 123 Foundation, a US-based interfaith nonprofit.
The organization is currently circulating a petition demanding an apology from SNL and its network, NBC.
As of Monday, over 4.4 million Israelis have been inoculated at least once. So far, some 29,000 Israeli-Arabs over the age of 50 are fully vaccinated, and another 118,000 have received their first jab, according to the Health Ministry. As part of Israel's efforts to mass-vaccinate, Magen David Adom EMTs and paramedics will operate a COVID-19 vaccination drive at the Qalandiya Crossing in east Jerusalem on Tuesday.
MDA president Jonathan Feldstein joined others, including the AJC and StandWithUS, in insisting that the harmful stereotypes perpetuated by this type of joke can manifest real danger to Jews.
In the past, Feldstein said, they have been "used widely, throughout the generations, to persecute and attack Jews, and even as triggers for genocide."
Israel has come under scrutiny for the complications it faced with providing Palestinians in Gaza with the vaccine.
On Monday, they initiated a vaccine campaign, thanks to doses donated by Russia and the UAE.
"Our point" in condemning Che's joke, Feldstein noted, "is not to point a finger as much as to highlight this as an egregious and unacceptable mistake, one which can never happen again."
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