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John Oliver Praised For Explaining The Problem With The 'Both Sides' Argument With Israel And Palestine

Stewart Perrie

| Last updated 

John Oliver Praised For Explaining The Problem With The 'Both Sides' Argument With Israel And Palestine

Featured Image Credit: HBO

John Oliver has dedicated a decent chunk of his latest Last Week Tonight episode on breaking down the ongoing battle between Israel and Palestine.

It's a very heated topic and has very ardent supporters and critics on both sides.

There has been a lot of coverage on the region in the last two weeks as international news outlets try to capture the outpouring of violence as accurately as possible.

However, John Oliver has been able to break down the sometimes problematic language issues that usually get included when discussing Israel and Palestine.

The TV host pointed out how the planned forced 'evictions' of Palestinian families in an East Jerusalem neighbourhood doesn't accurately capture the reality of forcing people out of a place they've called home for decades in an area that isn't controlled whatsoever by Israel.

These evictions added to the growing tensions between Israel and Palestine, with attacks on Orthodox Jews and the Israeli military storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan also contributing to both sides escalating the conflict to missile attacks and air strikes.

Oliver also zeroed in on this escalation in weaponry that also gets misconstrued in reporting.

Hamas has fired more than 1,000 rockets at Israel, which Oliver condemned as reprehensible, however many of them failed to hit their target.

Israel's Iron Dome defence system is so high-tech that it's able to swat most of those missiles out of the sky before they're able to cause death and destruction.

In response to the rockets fired by Hamas, Israel has retaliated with a coordinated and relentless air bombing campaign in Gaza.

John Oliver said: "[Israeli rockets] hit their targets, including a house in a refugee camp, a building housing the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, and [a] 13-storey office and apartment building," he said.

There have been more than 200 Palestinians killed in this latest war, compared to eight in Israel. There are also hundreds of people in Gaza who have been wounded, left homeless or otherwise affected by the constant bombing.

"There is a real tendency, particularly in America, to 'both sides' this situation. And I am not saying that there aren't some areas where that's warranted, but it's important to recognise there are also areas where it's simply not," Oliver said.

"Both sides are firing rockets, but one side has one of the most advanced militaries in the world. Both sides are suffering heart-breaking casualties, but one side is suffering them exponentially more."

He called out America's longstanding policy of siding with Israel and not standing up to the country.

"For decades, the backbone of America's policy in the Middle East has been that America is an 'unwavering friend to Israel', which is a great thing to try and be," the TV host said.

"But at the end of the day, I would hope that a real friend would tell me when I'm being an asshole, and definitely when I'm committing a f**king war crime."

Oliver pointed out how Hamas doesn't represent how some Palestinians feel and what Israel is doing doesn't represent how some Israelis feel.

However, he felt it necessary to identify that there is a definite imbalance that has existed for decades.

"If you believe Israel's actions are warranted and proportionate this week, you're welcome to try and make that argument, but we have got to start having this conversation honestly," Oliver said.

"Falling back on convenient, sanitised terms like 'real estate dispute' and 'airstrikes on militants' feels a little disingenuous when what you're describing is forcing people from the homes they've lived in for decades, and killing civilians and children."

Topics: News, Palestine

Stewart Perrie
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