John Oliver is the British-born host of a late-night show, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. He has firm opinions about many things, including things he knows nothing about. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t pay no never mind to his unfunny show (the funniest part is the title, but its effect quickly wanes) but my attention has been brought to his discussion of Israel and the Palestinians, that shows him to be scandalously ignorant and, given his late-night bully pulpit, the spreader of misinformation to millions of others. More on his views, and their threadbare relation to reality, can be found here: “John Oliver on Danger That Hamas Will Repeat Oct. 7 Massacre: Oh Well!,” by Karen Bekker, Algemeiner, December 15, 2023:
…On his HBO program, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the host ranted for about half an hour about the current war in Israel and Gaza. But his understanding of events, as well as his analysis of the war itself, is as tenuous as that of a grade schooler.
Oliver did not even mention the many times that the Palestinians have been offered independence and rejected it, instead trying to blame now-Prime Minister Netanyahu for the failure of the Oslo peace process. Nor did Oliver mention the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, where Israeli troops — and also Israeli civilians who were living in Gaza — were removed, in some cases forcibly, by their own government, and the Palestinians of Gaza were left with a greenhouse agricultural business, a beautiful coastline for tourism, and the opportunity to chart their own course for the future.
Listening to Oliver, you would think that Benjamin Netanyahu was the sole reason the Oslo Peace Accords went nowhere. He apparently does not know that Israel twice made generous peace offers — the first by Ehud Barak to Yassir Arafat in 2000, and the second by Ehud Olmert to Mahmoud Abbas in 2008 — both of which would have given the Palestinians a state of their own with its capital in east Jerusalem. Barak’s proposal would have given the Palestinians a state that would include 100% of Gaza and 92% of the West Bank, as well as territory carved out of Israel that would exceed, in size, the 8% of the West Bank Israel would annex. The Palestinians would have their capital in east Jerusalem, where some Arab neighborhoods would become part of the Palestinian state; finally, the Palestinians would have sovereignty over the Christian and Muslim Quarters in the Old City. Despite this generous offer that gave the Palestinians almost everything they had asked for, Arafat simply walked out.
In 2008, Ehud Olmert offered Mahmoud Abbas even more. 94% of the West Bank, and in compensation, enclaves of land taken from Israel, amounting to 5.8% of Israeli territory. along with 100% of Gaza. In addition, the Palestinian capital would be in east Jerusalem; some Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem would also become sovereign Palestinian territory. The Old City of Jerusalem would be internationalized, placed under the control of five parties: the future state of Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel. Abbas, like Arafat eight years. before, walked out, unwilling — again like Arafat — even to discuss the offer.
John Oliver ignores both of these offers. For him, the failure to follow through on the Oslo Accords had nothing to do with those Palestinian refusals; Oliver chooses to blame Netanyahu.
In the context of the Last Week segment, this was an omission [the failure to discuss the 200 and 2008 peace offers by Israel] that is either shockingly dishonest or shows a shocking ignorance.
The culmination of Oliver’s diatribe, towards the end at about 28 minutes into the segment, was a call for a ceasefire, including the following:
There are those like Mideast peace expert Harvey Levin [founder of TMZ] who will say, and not wrongly, that there are real dangers to a ceasefire, that Hamas might regroup once the bombing stops. Although that’s arguably gonna be a danger whenever it stops. So why not stop right now?
Of course. Why didn’t we think of that? Since whenever a ceasefire is declared, Hamas will eventually break it (“that’s arguably gonna be a danger whenever it stops”), why not just declare it now, to speed up the whole process? Apparently John Oliver doesn’t understand: Israel has no intention of ending this war until Hamas is completely destroyed as a military threat. Hamas is not “gonna be a danger whenever it [the war] stops” as long as the war stops only after Hamas has been dismembered. Oliver doesn’t like that idea; he wants a “ceasefire” right now, that can only lead to one thing: Hamas being given the opportunity to regroup and rearm, while the IDF loses its military momentum. Oliver is not consumed with fury at Hamas’ atrocities; he seems positively indifferent to the IDF’s determination to make sure that never again will Hamas be in a position to menace Israel. There is a distinct “I don’t give a damn” tone to his remarks about Israel and Hamas.