John Oliver Accuses Israel of Committing ‘War Crimes’ Against Palestinians and Practicing ‘Apartheid’


John Oliver addressed the ongoing violence occurring in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories on Sunday night — mincing no words when it came to the history of the crisis.

“They’ve been living under a suffocating blockade for 14 years, and in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Palestinians are essentially being governed by a form of apartheid—an assessment echoed by both international and Israeli human rights groups,” said Oliver on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight.

“Life in Gaza is hard even when they’re not being bombed, and the U.S. government has implicitly co-signed on the brutally hard line Israel’s been taking.”

While the host he opened the episode by addressing the crisis, he dedicated the bulk of his segment to “stand your ground” laws, which were used to exonerate George Zimmerman for shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.

“It seems all you have to do is memorize a few key phrases and you too can be free to shoot with impunity,” he said. “It’s basically Rosetta Stone for justified homicide.”

Before going after gun laws in the United States, the host tackled the Israeli-Palestinian violence, largely prompted by the impending expulsions of 13 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah — an East Jerusalem neighborhood.

The Israel’s Supreme Court is set to deliver a ruling on the removal of these families, which are legal under laws that allow Israelis to file claims over that land, claiming that they owned it prior to 1948.

Palestinians, however, have no right to claim any land they lost following what they call the Nakba, which forced out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

Discussing the ongoing airstrikes, the host took issue with those placing blame on “both sides.”

“One side has suffered over 10 times the casualties, something which speaks to both the severe power imbalance at play here and how that often gets obscured by how we choose to talk about it,” he said. “But this week’s actually been a pretty good reminder that while some things are incredibly complex and require a great deal of context, others are just wrong.”

According to Al Jazeera, “At least 192 people, including 58 children and 34 women, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the latest violence began a week ago. Israel has reported 10 dead, including two children.”

“Both sides are firing rockets, but one side has the most advanced military in the world,” he said. “But one side is suffering them exponentially.”

Oliver also went after Israeli officials for justifying the rockets sent into residential buildings and buildings hosting the offices of media outlets, such as the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

“For the record, destroying a civilian residence sure seems like a war crime,” he said. “Regardless of whether you send a courtesy heads-up text.”

Israel has claimed that the building housed Hamas intel assets.

The host called attention to Israel’s Iron Dome, saying that the conflict is not “tit-for-tat.”

“There is a massive imbalance when it comes to the two sides’ weaponry and capabilities. While most of the rockets aimed toward Israeli citizens this week were intercepted, Israel’s airstrikes were not,” he said, later adding, “And while Israel insisted that there were military targets in that building and they destroyed it as humanely as possible, even warning people to evacuate it beforehand, destroying a civilian residence sure seems like a war crime, regardless of whether you send a courtesy heads-up text.”

The host also went after President Joe Biden’s support of Israel’s right to defend itself, claiming that the argument “cannot be used to excuse absolutely everything.”

“Multiple children have been killed this week and the U.S. is heavily implicated here,” he continued, faulting the U.S. for “constantly refusing to criticize the indefensible.”

Watch above, via HBO Max.

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