The controversy over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's invitation to speak to Congress, which Democrats see as a Republican ploy to undermine President Obama's negotiations with Iran, is tragicomic. But the mess of behind the scenes bickering and childish insults are, improbably, threatening both US-Israeli relations and the very delicate international effort to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis.
So naturally, Jon Stewart is the perfect person to take on this ridiculous mess, which he did during Thursday night's episode of The Daily Show.
"One of our closest foreign allies is taking sides with Republicans against a Democratic president, which creates a major conundrum for Democrats," Stewart said. "I'm reminded of a similar situation, faced by an Israeli king renowned for his wisdom."
Stewart also laid into the Obama administration's excuse for not meeting with Netanyahu when he visits — that the president didn't want to be seen as "meddling" in Israeli politics (Israel's elections are two weeks after the March 3 speech).
"Yes, yes!" Stewart said. "America doesn't wanna meddle in a Middle Eastern nation's domestic politics. I mean, we don't do that!"
He then ran through a list of nearby countries America has, in fact, meddled with: Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Turkey.
"Unless, obviously, a country wanted to nationalize its own oil industry, or looked likely to ally with a rival superpower, or was fighting a proxy war against some other country we didn't like, or would let us put military bases in their country, or send prisoners to their country, or was next to a country we wanted to spy on, or fight with."
"But aside from these very rare instance," Stewart concluded, "we do not meddle with Middle Eastern nations."
Stewart also tackled a topic he's handled really well before: how hard it is to have a real conversation about issues related to Israel, even on his show.