Air America's Disgraceful Interview with Jackie Mason

Last Friday, “The Young Turks” of Air America Radio invited comedian Jackie Mason on to discuss his new book. To say the least, hosts Cenk Uygur and Ben Mankiewicz displayed a level of rancor and invective that they should both be ashamed of (video available here).

The discussion was so extraordinarily hostile that at one point, as the conversation moved to what Israel had offered former PLO leader Yasser Arafat at Camp David in exchange for peace back in 2000, Uygur incredulously said to his guest:

Are you even remotely attached to the facts? They wanted to give 98 percent of the country back to the Palestinians?!?! I’ll take it right now!

Fascinating, yes? After all, Uygur, despite showing a remarkable lack of historical knowledge basically said on national radio that he’d be happy if Israel gave 98 percent of its land to the Palestinians.

Think I’m kidding? Well, the following transcript of this disgraceful interview comes directly from Air America’s website (emphasis added throughout):

Ben Mankiewicz: But I don’t know whether Cenk and I would be able to identify something that is truly funny. But our next guest, that’s what he does for a living. Jackie Mason, comedian Jackie Mason joins us now on the Young Turks. Jackie, welcome to the show.

Jackie Mason: How do you do sir? How are you doing? Nice to talk to you my friend.

Cenk Uygur: Jackie has written a book along with Raul Felder called “Schmucks.” Jackie, I assume it’s about the Bush White House.

Mason: I know that you would hope it to be because - you have people to sell about the Bush White House. I’m not saying that I necessarily think there’s no schmucks there ….But this is about all kinds of schmucks all over
America, in every field among America. Actors, celebrities, politicians, singers, dancers, promoters, whoever does crooked things, negative things, ridiculous things, whatever we see. We try to make it as funny as possible, and as ridiculous as possible. This is not full of venom and hate. A lot of it’s entertaining comedy, and satirical stuff all about everybody.

Ben: Jackie, give us an example. Who’s a political schmuck?

Mason: We pick on everybody. There’s all kinds of political schmucks. Like, let me see, we pick on Al Gore’s whole business about global warming, which we feel ----. How did he become an expert on global warming? The biggest experts in the world are not sure if it’s global warming or not. But he’s the one who’s positive? I think that if two people are not sure…. Two doctors are not sure how to cure cancer, so they would call Al Gore for the solution?

Ben: Hey Jackie, what if 99 percent of the doctors agree that it’s cancer?

Mason: That’s what you say. YOU say it’s 99 percent.

Ben: No, I say it’s 99 percent because it’s 99 percent.

Mason: It is not 99 percent.

Ben: Yeah…it’s more like 100.

Mason: I knew you would say that, because any idiot could predict that if you are a liberal ,and that’s your position to say it’s 99 percent. The highest levels of authority in the business in
Harvard University and Oxford University, and ---- University, the top people in the business….it’s not by numbers, it’s by who’s the highest authorities. And YOU decided that the numbers count? But you have no idea what’s going on. All you know is you found a guy you liked and that’s the one you believe in.

Cenk: All right, Jackie let me ask you something, ok. We’re talking to Jackie Mason. He wrote a book along with Raul Felder called “Schmucks”. On the global warming issue, I want to get beyond it because there’s 928….studies….

Mason: I think you know as much about global warming as I know, and I wouldn’t go to the people who just have a big mouth.

Cenk: Well I know someone who has a big mouth. The person I’m going to Jackie is 928 peer reviewed scientific studies to NONE….ZERO. I’m going to the scientists. Who’s your scientist Jackie? Name the scientifically reviewed study. Name one. NAME ONE!

Mason: There’s the Alexander study in
Oxford University.

Cenk: Oh yeah, right.

Mason: Doctor Alexander.

Cenk: Doctor Alexander!

Mason: You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Cenk: 928 all agreed! There is zero on the other side!

(Unintelligible interruptions.)

Cenk: Jackie tell me that you wrote a book called “Schmucks,” and you didn’t include included George W. Bush in it. Please tell me that.

Mason: Because you don’t like Bush, I have to call him names? I call names to people I don’t like and you call names to people you don’t like.

Cenk: So you wrote a whole book about schmucks and you didn’t put Bush in it?

Mason: He’s done plenty of things wrong and he’s done plenty of things right.

Cenk: Really? Name one thing he’s done right!

Ben: Let’s talk about - (interruptions) – what’s he done right?

Mason: I called Jimmy Carter a schmuck. You know why?

Cenk: Because he wants peace?

Mason: Because to him Palestinians are the victims, not the Jews.

Cenk: Oh no! God forbid, God forbid!

Mason: The Jews are minding their own business, and a new suicide bomber comes in everyday. And while the Jews are pleading with them to give them equality, to make a deal with them, and to give them their homeland back,
Sharon says to them here, here’s half your country back, here’s all of what you got back. 98 percent of the country they want to give them back – of whatever they asked for.

Cenk: (laughs) Are you even remotely attached to the facts? They wanted to give 98 percent of the country back to the Palestinians?!?! I’ll take it right now!


Mason: 98 percent of what they wanted was offered back to them. And you know what they did? They started killing Jews on the streets. That was their only answer.

Cenk: No, but luckily, the Israelis haven’t done anything to the Palestinians. They treated them with flowers and roses.

Mason: You are just an anti-Semite in your heart, that’s all it is.

Cenk: Oh, I’m just an anti-Semite! That’s great! You seem like you’re an objective guy!

(Mason hangs up)

Stop the tape. Now, what Mason was referring to before he hung up was that in the year 2000, at Camp David, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered quite a deal to then PLO leader Yasser Arafat in exchange for peace. Here’s how the not so conservative Wikipedia categorized Barak’s offer (emphasis added):

Ehud Barak offered Arafat an approximate 91% (see section on territory farther down) of the West Bank, and all of the Gaza Strip, with Palestinian control over Eastern Jerusalem as the capital of the new Palestinian state; in addition, all refugees would receive a compensation package from the Israeli government.

To this day, most Middle East observers believe Barak’s offer was astounding, and that Arafat showed himself to be a completely dishonest broker by not accepting it. categorized Barak's offer thusly (emphasis added):

Under intense pressure from President Clinton, in an effort to reach a final agreement, and with promises of American support and security guarantees, Prime Minister Barak offered the most substantial concessions and far reaching proposals, going beyond all the long-standing Israeli "red lines", especially as regards Jerusalem. The US team called Barak "courageous" for these offers. When these terms were later revealed in Israel, people were stunned at the extent of the concessions Barak offered and it is unclear whether the Israeli public were prepared to support the deal. However they were never given the opportunity to endorse or reject the proposals; Arafat rejected them out of hand.

The details were not disclosed formally, but according to media reports Barak's offer included:

  • Israeli redeployment from 95% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza Strip
  • The creation of a Palestinian state in the areas of Israeli withdrawal
  • The removal of isolated settlements and transfer of the land to Palestinian control
  • Other Israeli land exchanged for West Bank settlements remaining under Israeli control
  • Palestinian control over East Jerusalem, including most of the Old City
  • "Religious Sovereignty" over the Temple Mount, replacing Israeli sovereignty in effect since 1967

What did Barak and Israel get in return for this fabulous offer? Well, weeks later, on September 29, 2000, the al-Aqsa Intifada began, and continues to this day.

As such, it appears the “Young Turks,” like many on their side of the aisle, are quite unaware with the actual facts behind what occurred at Camp David in 2000. With that in mind, as it pertains to Mason’s interview on Air America with these anti-Semitic know-it-alls, his position was actually well-founded, while theirs lacked any historical accuracy whatsoever.

Alas, that mattered not to these ungracious and inhospitable hosts:

Cenk: Did he hang up?!?! Good, good riddance! I’m going to write a whole book called schmucks and it’s only going to be about Jackie Mason.

Ben: Did he actually hang up?

Cenk: Of course he did, because he’s a coward! He doesn’t have anything to say. What is this 98 percent figure?! They gave them 98 percent of what they wanted? Oh really? Well did a scientist go in there and go, “ok I assessed what the Palestinians wanted, and I broke it down into different categories, and it turns out, 98 percent of their needs have been met by this agreement, yet they still won’t take it.” Where does a figure like 98 percent come from? Jackie Mason is full of nothing but utter and contemptible lies! And where was the jokes, funny man? Where was the jokes?

Ben: I thought it was funny.

Cenk: I guess it is funny when you say, “Hey listen, global warming doesn’t exist.” - laugh – “Hey look the Israelis are doing great things for the Palestinians and all the Palestinians ever do is murder Jews. And they’re all 100 percent wrong and Jimmy is a schmuck for ever caring about them.”

Ben: Well…

Cenk: Look, I was supposed to go easy on Jackie. But what am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to do? The guy comes out and says nothing but nonsense.

Ben: Um…well it was funny. (laughs) It was amusing.

Cenk: His comedy skit is almost as good as Karl Rove’s dancing.

Ben: Yeah, that went well I though.

Cenk: Yeah. All right, well we’ll have to have that “funny” man back on.

Ben: His book is “Schmucks,” and….can we…can we call him back? Is that possible?

Cenk: No, I don’t even want to hear from him. – interruptions - What other B.S is he going to pull out of his ass?

Ben: Yeah.

Cenk: Everything’s a lie, so you were just going to have him say the next lie, right? So he says global warming is 50/50 on the scientists. I got Jason Alexander at
Oxford telling me so.

Ben: Look, what I think happens there is that, I think he sounds like he’s mentally handicapped. He’s a famous person who sounds disabled, and I find that amusing. I think there’s validity just in that! Plus you certainly don’t need a Jew to stick up for you when… his go-to move when anybody criticizes Israel is to call them an anti-Semite in his heart, but I was looking forward to berating him about that. But apparently that’s his signature out-the-door, “YOU’RE A RACIST,” (pretends to hang up a phone.)

Cenk: That’s what he does because he has nothing. He has zero! He has no talent. He has no opinions. He has no facts. So, I’m sorry, he does have opinions. To be fair enough, he has plenty of opinions. So he comes back with, “Oh yeah, so I made up the 98 percent figure, but you’re an anti-Semite! *Click*”

Ben: (laughs)

Cenk: Ok wow that’s pretty good. Ok, I’ll try it. Hey Jackie, you hate Muslims. Wow, that’s really effective. What does that mean? By the way, from now on I’m going to end every argument Jackie Mason style: “You’re an anti-Semite! *Click*!”

Ben: (laughs)

Cenk: It doesn’t matter when the argument is. I could be on the environment. It could be about the homeless. It doesn’t matter that I’m not Jewish or the person I’m speaking to is Jewish or not Jewish, it doesn’t matter. If I ever disagree with you, that’s it, you’re done. You’re an anti-Semite!

Ben: Well why would I pay any attention to that coming from you because you in fact are an anti-Semite.

Cenk: Hang up on me, come on.

Ben: It’s The Young Turks on Air
America Radio….just a couple of anti-Semites doing a radio show.

Any questions about what transpires on this radio network, or why it went bankrupt?

For those that are interested, Uygur is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.

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