LONDON: Bassem Youssef delivered a history masterclass, in his inimitable satirical and subversive manner, in his second interview with Piers Morgan on Nov. 2 — highlighting that Palestinian rights were continually being denied by the powerful, “apartheid” state of Israel and its allies.
The two-hour Piers Morgan Uncensored interview has amassed over 6.6 million views since it was posted. It was a stark contrast to the stiffness of their viral interview on Oct. 17 which was heated, marred by signal delays, and saw Morgan struggling to respond to the Egyptian-American comedian’s satirical humor on the conditions Palestinians face under Israeli occupation.
This time the interaction between the two was noticeably warmer, with Morgan flying halfway across the world to meet with Youssef in a Los Angeles comedy club.
Youssef is seen gifting the television host with a jug of olive oil from the West Bank, where centuries-old olive trees are passed down through generations and recognized as symbols of Palestinian national pride.
Reflecting on their previous conversation, Morgan admitted that he was initially uneasy when Youssef used dark comedy to respond to his talking points on the war Israel has launched in occupied Gaza.
“Then I realized what you were doing was very powerful. It was savagely satirical and extremely effective,” he added.
According to Youssef, satire does not push against talking points but rather exaggerates the reality of the situation. Laughter, he explained, was an effective way of emphasizing the extreme nature of Israel’s response to the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.
Opening up further, Youssef confessed his initial refusal to appear on Morgan’s show was that he feared being critical of Israel would be “career suicide.”
“I left Egypt and came to America: the land of the free, the home of the brave. But I didn’t know that there was a fine print that you cannot speak about Israel,” Youssef said.
The comedian argued that the word antisemitism has been abused to smear anyone opposing Zionism. This, Youssef highlighted, even extends to Jewish peace advocates championing a free Palestine, who have been derogatorily branded as “self-hating Jews” or “Kapos,” a term denoting Jewish prisoners in Nazi camps who were forced to serve as guards.
Youssef clarified that while he does not endorse celebrations post the Oct. 7 attacks, he explained why many viewed them as a victory over a “criminal state who has been killing their people while receiving backing by the international community.”
“These people from a very young age have seen that they are not being heard by the media and that the plight of their brothers and sisters in Palestine and the Arab world are not being heard,” he said.
“Is it right? No, but it is understandable,” he stated.
Morgan seized the moment to clarify his stance on Israel’s war on Gaza, which has been a subject of fervent online debates. He said his talk show has served as a platform for some of the strongest pro-Palestinian voices in recent weeks.
Morgan’s interviews have generated millions of streams, which translate into significant financial rewards. The Yousef interview now appears to be his most lucrative one with 20 million viewers, far outnumbering those with Andrew Tate, Kanye West and Cristiano Ronaldo.
He revealed: “Seeing thousands of children being killed in Gaza, it fills me with utter horror.
“I find it very easy to condemn Israel turning off the water … off the power. I think it’s ridiculous that Israel should have that much power over millions of people that are not a part of their country. I think it’s terrible what’s happening in the West Bank. I think that the stuff there is completely easy to condemn.
“But can I hand on heart condemn Israel for trying to destroy Hamas for what they did on Oct. 7? That is where I’m struggling to condemn it because I believe they are right in trying to destroy Hamas.”
Morgan sought an answer to his own moral quandary about what constitutes a proportionate response for Israel to eliminate Hamas, to which Yousef responded: “I would give the Palestinians what they deserve.”
Youssef, a medical doctor, proposed a solution likening extremism to viruses.
“If a patient comes to you with the flu and you are the doctor. How can you treat that patient?” he asks Morgan before offering his own answer. “You give them nutrition, fluids and rest so that the immunity of the body gets rid of the virus on its own.”
“But if I (start beating) that patient with the flu with a sledgehammer … you are weakening the body and making them worse.”
Youssef said that Israel has not only weakened the Palestinian body by making it unable to combat radicalism, but has “openly boasted” that it provided it funding.
In a surprising agreement, Morgan opined that Netanyahu was “complicit in keeping Hamas in power.”
Youssef maintained that Israel was not willing to make peace, but was intent on the forced displacement of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
“It is not about (Israel PM Benjamin) Netanyahu. It is the policy of Israel not to give Palestinians their state. It’s always been there.”
He added: “Israel is a racist, apartheid country. It is projecting this shining example of secularism … so people can accept whatever they do. Because they look at Palestinians as lesser people. This is the whole point.”