B'nai B'rith International expressed concerns over Comedy Central's selection of comedian Trevor Noah to replace the departing Jon Stewart as host of the very popular political satire program, The Daily Show.
Over the last several years, Noah has tweeted multiple anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and misogynistic messages, and has based his stand-up material on cheap racial stereotypes.
In a statement released on Tuesday (picked up by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, JNS.org and other outlets), the organization acknowledged the difference between the humor of stand-up comedy and the platform of The Daily Show.
Two Jewish groups expressed their concerns over past social media posts by Trevor Noah, the choice to succeed Jon Stewart as host of “The Daily Show.”
Since his appointment was announced Monday by Comedy Central, Noah has come under fire for past tweets about Jews and Israel, including one from 2010 that read “South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful.”
“B’nai B’rith is concerned about the long history of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and misogynistic tweets by the new choice to host the popular comedy program, The Daily Show,” the organization said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We recognize that the platform The Daily Show provides its host is different from the stand-up comedy circuit, and we are hopeful that Noah will use this new and larger role responsibly on complex, sensitive issues.
“Entertainment cannot justify promoting hate and misinformation — and no group, including Israelis and Jews, should be considered fair game for bigotry.”
Noah, 31, who has over 2 million Twitter followers, was a surprise selection for “The Daily Show” post, as is he relatively unknown in the United States. He is a star in South Africa, where he has filmed four standup specials.
South African comedian Trevor Noah, the newly announced successor to Jon Stewart as host of the satirical television program"The Daily Show," has come under the microscope for past social media posts that disparaged Jews, Israel, and women.
Stewart, who is Jewish, came under fire in pro-Israel circles last summer for what critics considered to be pro-Hamas bias in his segments on the war in Gaza. On Tuesday, Jewish organizations issued statements that addressed the controversy surrounding Noah's tweets.
"Trevor Noah, tapped to replace retiring Daily Show host Jon Stewart, has repeatedly tweeted comments that are deeply offensive and highly stereotypical, and his anti-Israel comments even border on incitement. Why does he tweet about Jews so much?" B’nai B’rith International said in a statement.
"Though Jon Stewart has always been quick to note that The Daily Show is meant to provide entertainment more than actual news, political comedy in our culture is often a substitute for news," B’nai B’rith added. "Studies have shown that a large number of Americans, particularly young Americans, get their news from such programs. The line between satire and hate can be very fine. As a result, the role of the host on this popular program carries significant responsibility."