Christian Arab-Israeli activist Yoseph Haddad released a video on February 21 stating that Michael Che’s joke about Israel’s vaccine distribution on the February 20 episode of “Saturday Night Live” was false and not particularly funny.
Che had said during the “Weekend Update” segment, “Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population. And I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.”
Haddad responded that Israel is vaccinating all of its citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, and pointed out that the Israeli government is explicitly encouraging Arabs to get vaccinated. Haddad himself has been vaccinated.
“We can laugh about this joke here in Israel, but when people like [Hamas]… use it as an excuse to do stuff like this,” he said, showing clips of Palestinian stabbing attacks as well as a Palestinian car ramming attack, “suddenly, it’s not so funny.”
On @nbcsnl one of the most watched shows in the US, they joked about Israel vaccinating "only Jews" this week.
As an Israeli Arab, I can confirm that not only is this not true, but it's also not really funny either.
— יוסף חדאד-Yoseph Haddad-يوسف حداد (@YosephHaddad) February 21, 2021
Che and “Saturday Night Live” have come under fire for the joke. For instance, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that the joke was “deeply offensive” and “crossed the line” because it was based on “factual inaccuracies and playing into an antisemitic trope in the process.” He added that the ADL has documented several instances of “Weekend Update” “jokes this season that use Jews as the punchline. I know they can do better. In that spirit, I have reached out to [producer] Lorne Michaels over the weekend urging Saturday Night Live to take action both to repair the damage that’s been done and ensure this does not happen again.”
— ADL (@ADL) February 22, 2021