Have equal rights for Palestinians ever been applauded on US national TV?

by Yaniv Reich on October 30, 2009

As I wrote the post yesterday on the significance of the Daily Show’s interview with Baltzer and Barghouti, a part of me suspected that I would come to see my reaction partially as hype or misplaced optimism.

After further thought, however, I find that the opposite is true: I think the show is even more significant than I originally thought. There was no talk of two states, one state, and so on, just simple and critical messaging on the inalienable rights of Palestinians, on the rights of Palestinians at an equal level with Jewish rights. And this essential point was cheered vigorously by the crowd on at least three different occasions.

As far as I know (somebody please correct me if I am wrong), this might be the very first time that the humanistic assertion that Palestinians are deserving of the same rights as Jews, as all humans, has been applauded in the US national media. I can think of instances during which some politician shook some other politician’s hand, or someone gave a speech, and then there was applause. I can also think of some non-violent Palestinian commentators debating against a panel of military apologists, generals, and Israeli government spokespeople. But there was certainly no applause, then, even if the message of Palestinian rights was in some way “heard”.

Yesterday, on a (very good) comedy show, albeit one of the best news resources Americans have, the core idea of Palestinians as humans deserving of rights was hammered home for what might be the first time. The bar was raised. And the audience loved it.

This is an amazing development in the otherwise heartbreaking saga that has been the coverage and history of Israel/Palestine.

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