World-class sarcasm

Have you seen Piers Morgan’s interview of the Egyptian comedian, Bassem Youssef? I know, you hear “Piers” and you are immediately repelled, but it’s worth it — Morgan is so effectively punctured, without even realizing it, that he’s left floundering about like an empty balloon. Youssef totally dominates and leaves Morgan whimpering about ‘language,’ and also manages to skewer Ben Shapiro, all while making Israel look like a lying bully. And he does it with the most precise use of sarcasm I have ever witnessed.

Absolutely brilliant.

There’s a really good question in there, too. What is a “disproportionate response”? Has a “disproportionate response” ever worked? Hasn’t Israel been engaging in an ongoing “disproportionate response” for decades, and has it brought peace to the region? Maybe they ought to try something different.


  1. Silentbob says

    Wow. The barely concealed rage of Youssef. And after all that he gets cut off with his question unanswered.

  2. hemidactylus says

    For an older New Atheist perspective on the historic Israel-Palestine issues maybe we should resurrect younger Hitchens:

    “Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, is a collection of essays, co-edited by Palestinian scholar and advocate Edward Said and journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, published by Verso Books in 1988. It contains essays by Said and Hitchens as well as other prominent advocates and activists including Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Noam Chomsky, Norman G. Finkelstein, Rashid Khalidi.”

    Whether Hitchens’ essay, based on an article by New Historian Benny Morris about the reasons for Palestinians leaving their homes in 1948 still holds, or what Hitchens’ professional arc on Israel-Palestine since 1988 became IDK, but I was surprised to learn of his participation as editor and essay writer in this book.

    I’ve been reading Neil Caplan’s The Israel-Palestine Conflict which seems a fairly neutral source so far. The book Blaming the Victims is cited.

    This part of Caplan’s book put a bit of Revisionist Zionist spin on Transjordan I had forgotten or was never aware of: “An important turning point in this regard [British Arabism- Hemi] was the mid‐1921 creation of the Amirate of Transjordan in portions of Mandated Palestine territory east of the Jordan River (in the process of creating a throne for Husayn’s son, Abdullah). The exclusion of this territory from the application of the Jewish national home provisions of the Mandate was, for many Zionists, a great disappointment. For followers of Revisionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky, it was nothing less than a British “betrayal” and the “first partition” of their anticipated homeland.”
    From The Israel-Palestine Conflict by Neil Caplan

    Also the Revisionists were blunt realists per the indigenous Arabs in Palestine becoming an issue, pushing the “iron wall” approach expounded by Jabotinsky and the Labor Zionists were not as overtly concerned about eventual problems with native Palestinians. A minority of Zionists preferred a reconciliation between ethnicities, some for binationalism or abandoning the Zionist project.

    Another book referenced in Caplan comes across as downright awkward in retrospect, not aging well:

    “The country envisioned in the book is not involved in any wars and does not maintain any armed forces. As explained in the book, the founders took care to get the consent of all European powers for their enterprise and not get entangled in any inter-power rivalry. As for the country’s Arab inhabitants, the book’s single Arab character, Rashid Bey, explains that the Arabs saw no reason to oppose the influx of Jews, who “developed the country and raised everybody’s standard of living”.”


    And a chilling geographic perspective:
    “The territorial extent of the envisioned Old New Land is clearly far greater than that of the actual Israel, even including its 1967 conquests. Tyre and Sidon in the present Lebanon are among its port cities. Kuneitra – actually at the extreme end of the Golan Heights which Israel captured in 1967, and handed back to Syria in 1973 – was in Herzl’s vision a prosperous way station on a railway extending much further eastwards, evidently controlled by “The New Society”. In another reference are mentioned “the cities along the railway to the Euphrates – Damascus and Tadmor” (the latter a rebuilt Palmyra).”

  3. hemidactylus says

    As I perceive it there is a difference in political hierarchy between Gaza and the West Bank. After the 2005 Disengagement, engineered by Sharon to scuttle the two-state peace process, Hamas eventually took over in Gaza, perhaps by pre-emptive coup against Fatah. Abbas and the more secular PA rule the West Bank. The current Gaza war risks shifting that balance perhaps by giving Hamas more popularity in influence in the West Bank. Bibi and Likud could then say there is no partner for a two-state solution left in the West Bank if the secular PA gets toppled by Islamists.

    The hospital bombing, whomever was ultimately responsible, has stoked the ire of protestors in the West Bank and likewise in Arab or Muslim majority countries. Israel has up to now managed to use anti-Iranian sentiment as an advantage to develop better relations with Saudi Arabia and other regional countries. Reaction to the hospital bombing has me wondering if Israel has scuttled that initiative. Regardless of what Arab regimes really think about Gaza, this war is not playing out well in the Arab street it seems and pressure will mount to push said governments in an anti-Israeli direction. That benefits…wait for it…Iran.

  4. raven says

    WHO statement on attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital and reported large-scale casualties
    17 October 2023

    WHO strongly condemns the attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip. The hospital was operational, with patients, health and care givers, and internally displaced people sheltering there. Early reports indicate hundreds of fatalities and injuries.

    I’m sure most have seen this by now.
    A major hospital in Gaza was hit with several hundred dead.

    I was going to comment a priori a few days ago that they always hit the hospitals in these conflicts. And always claim it was an accident. Didn’t get around to it but here we are anyway.

    During the Vietnam war, the US destroyed the main hospital and medical school in North Vietnam, Bach Mai, and claimed it was an accident and besides they had anti-aircraft guns.
    So far, in Ukraine, the Russians have hit 703 health care facilities. It is a common target of theirs.
    During the last Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2014, many Palestinian health care workers were killed.

    There is a big question here though.
    The Palestinians claim the hospital was hit by an Israeli rocket.
    The Israelis claim it was hit by a Palestinian rocket that failed and went off course.
    We don’t know right now, which is right.

    The Palestinian rocket theory is dubious based on probabilities. What is the chance that a Palestinian rocket failed and just happened to hit a hospital?
    This doesn’t prove it didn’t happen though, unlikely things do happen.

  5. dbinmn says

    I don’t know much about Wikipedia edit wars, but when I went there to learn more about Bassem Youssef, I caught this, ” . . . is an Egyptian comedian, Piers Morgan’s daddy and television host.” Is this a clever edit? Did someone from here do it?

  6. raven says

    • The death toll from the conflict continues to rise: Around 3,300 Palestinians have been reported dead, while more than 1,400 have been killed in Israel.

    Latest body count.
    The Israelis are ahead now by over 2:1.

    The Israelis aren’t rushing to invade Gaza.
    I’m guessing that it is slowly dawning on them that such an invasion isn’t going to accomplish much.
    It’s going to be difficult to find 20,000 Hamas fighters in a population of 2.3 million, when you can’t even get to most of those people, who will be huddled together in south Gaza.

    It is also possible the the Netanyahu government has zero idea what they are doing.
    So far, they have shown an amazing lack of competence to do anything other than wreck the Israeli democracy and push around Palestinian civilians.

  7. wzrd1 says

    dbinmn @ 5, fairly typical on Wikipedia edit wars and trolling. Such are typically reverted in minutes – typically, some do slip by unnoticed for a bit. When they become problematic (early on, such edit warring actually crashed Wikipedia), the article would go semi-protected to fully protected.
    Yeah, I’m an editor there, you can tell my edits, as they’re signed “citation needed”.

    As for disproportionate response, well, there was the US firebombing of Tokyo, incinerated around a quarter million people and much of Tokyo. Followed shortly after with a pair of single bomb bombing campaigns and a surrender.
    The US having studied the firebombing campaigns at Dresden and Hamburg and improved upon them.

    But, while Hamas isn’t a signatory of the Geneva and Hague Conventions, Israel is and hospitals not being used for offensive military usage or as a headquarters being targeted is a no-go, as is targeting civilians evacuating as instructed. I’ll even suggest that Israel almost seems to be hunting with the biggest bombs that they can randomly deliver.

    A bit of trivia, Netanyahu was fairly prominent in the Israeli nuclear weapons program. He’s close personal friends with their top nuclear spy, a noted Hollywood producer of phenomenally popular films, who “acquired” nuclear trigger devices. We know how many Israeli nukes there are from the number of triggers, subtracted by “retained” triggers that eventually were returned to the US.

  8. Trickster Goddess says

    Around 3,300 Palestinians have been reported dead, while more than 1,400 have been killed in Israel.

    I’ve noticed this phrasing being common in most news reports: Israelis are actively killed but Palestinians just passively die.

  9. mooskaya says

    @Trickster Goddess – infuriating! Here’s a video of a Palestinian journalist calling a Sky News presenter out for exactly that – satisfying in that she absolutely skewers her, frustrating in the presenter just sails right on without acknowledging it.

    And ooh, the Twitter link reminds me! @pzmyers, if you’re reading this, are you on Bluesky? I keep looking for you, but to no avail.

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