Letter to Saturday Night Live

Lorne Michaels
Executive Producer
Saturday Night Live

Dear Lorne:

We are deeply concerned at the Saturday Night Live skit parodying the confirmation hearings for Senator Chuck Hagel, which, while not included in the February 9 broadcast, has appeared on Hulu.com and gone viral on the Internet.  As you know, the skit focuses on the controversy over Sen. Hagel’s remarks about Israel and takes them to a ridiculous extreme by showing several prominent senators on the Armed Services Committee engaged in a game of one-upmanship in expressing support for Israel, to the point where Hagel is asked whether he would perform “fellatio on a donkey” to prove his support for the state of Israel.

We do have a sense of humor and understand this is classic satire of the SNL variety, where you are poking fun at something that is out there in society and taking it to an extreme.

On the one hand, in taking this public controversy and skewering it to a degree that is absurd, this is a form of legitimate satire that serves to erode the hard edge of those who falsely claim that America is a tool of the Israelis.  On the other hand, there inevitably will be those who say, “Yeah, it’s funny, but there is some truth to all of this.”  And for a smaller minority among those individuals, elements of the skit could play into the worst kind of ideas, even reinforcing pernicious notions of Jewish control of government in the vein of those routinely espoused by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites by suggesting that U.S. officials would even engage in public sex acts if asked to do so by Israel.

While I’m glad this skit did not make the final cut on SNL, we wish that someone had exercised better judgment by keeping this piece from going up on the Internet, where it is now taking on a life of its own. 


Abraham H. Foxman
National Director