Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said he reached out to the producer of “Saturday Night Live” — urging him to take action over the show’s “deeply offensive” joke about Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
“Saturday Night Live’s ‘Weekend Update’ is known for sharp criticism and public takedowns, but Saturday’s deeply offensive joke about Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination process not only missed the mark, but crossed the line,” Greenblatt said in a Monday statement.
Greenblatt said the show based “the premise of the joke on factual inaccuracies” and played “into an antisemetic trope in the process.”
“I know they can do better. In that spirit, I reached out to Lorne Michaels over the weekend urging Saturday Night Live to take action both to repair the damage that’s been done and ensure that this does not happen again,” said Greenblatt.
The show, along with its star Michael Che — a Weekend Update correspondent — have been under fire since Saturday’s episode.
“Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population. I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half,” Che cracked during the segment.
Michael Che performs at the St George Theatre on September 19, 2019 in New York City. Bobby Bank/Getty Images
Many critics called the joke anti-Semitic.
The vast majority of Israel’s population — 74 percent — is Jewish, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
Vaccination rates of Israeli Arabs are much lower than Jews in the country, partially due to distrust of the government in the Arab community, according to a January article in The Christian Science Monitor.