Jon Stewart Talks Judaism and His Coverage of Israel, Claims Iran Views Him as a Mossad Agent (VIDEO)
While promoting his directorial debut Rosewater, Jewish television personality Jon Stewart has been fielding questions this week about his Judaism and the criticism he regularly receives for his coverage of Israel.
Filmed in Jordan, Rosewater tells the story of journalist Maziar Bahari, who was jailed and tortured after appearing on an episode of Stewart’s The Daily Show in 2009.
Discussing how the film has been received, Stewart said Iranian TV has produced some news pieces claiming he is associated with either the CIA or Mossad.
“In Iran, I’ve already been outed as a Mossad agent and a CIA agent,” he told Canada’s National Post. “They’ve already produced 60 Minutes-style pieces describing me as a Mossad agent.”
Last December, Iranian state TV accused Stewart of spewing “anti-Iranian propaganda” that had been manipulated by the “Zionist lobby.”
Stewart has also been criticized for his portrayal of Israel on The Daily Show. In July he attempted to bait former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into condemning Israel when she was a guest on his show. A day earlier he caused outrage with a segment about the summer’s Israel-Hamas war.
During a roundtable discussion on the Charlie Rose show this week, Stewart said, “I’m one of the few people who have been accused of being Zionist and anti-Zionist.” He added, “It’s a Venn diagram that when it comes together, there’s only like three of us in there.”
Speaking about filming Rosewater, Stewart said, “Being Jewish was not a deciding factor [in whether to film in Israel].” He also told the National Post he finds it interesting that people want to define who is a Jew and who is not. He disagrees with the idea of explaining “what a Jew is” and finds it insulting. The conversation got heated when Stewart admitted that he has been compared to Jews who led other Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust.
“How dare they? That they only know the word of God and are the ones who are able to disseminate it. It’s not right,” he said. “You have guys on television saying I’m a Jew like the Jews in the Nazi camps who helped bring the other Jews to ovens. I have people that I lost in the Holocaust and I just … go f*** yourself. How dare you?”
Watch Jon Stewart’s interview with Charlie Rose in the video below: