Piers Morgan v Bassam Yousaff Round 2: 'Condemning Hamas or condemning Israel is useless, the media has failed, and antisemitism is rising'

Friday 03 Novermber 2023

Egyptian comedian Bassam Yousaff has told TalkTV's Piers Morgan that terrorism is a "virus" and there is little point condemning Hamas or Israel.

In their second interview, filmed in Los Angeles, Mr Yousaff said Palestinians feel their "whole culture has been cancelled."

Their first debate about the Middle East conflict has been watched more than 20 million times and drew attention around the world.

The pair clashed over western media's coverage of the war and reflected on Mr Yousaff's personal journey: from heart surgeon in Egypt during the Arab Spring of 2011 to comedy stardom in the US.

Piers began by inviting Mr Yousaff to condemn the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7.

He countered: "Condemning Hamas or condemning Israel is completely useless. I condemn Hamas, you condemn Israel - what happens? Nothing.

"If a conflict has been there for 75 years and the media with all this technology has been covering it and we hear the same exact words: we don't know what's happening.

"It's complicated. It's very complex. That is a failure of the media apparatus. That is a failure to the audience. We go back again into this circular motion.

"Every time this happens, it feels like we start again from point zero."

Civilians conduct search and rescue operations and debris removal work at the heavily damaged buildings after Israeli attacks. Credit: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Despite being an outspoken critic of Israel, Mr Yousaff warned that antisemitism had spread since October 7th.

"There is a rise in antisemitism in the world and this is very dangerous," he said. "As a Muslim, I completely feel that.

"Jewish people in America are saddled by the fact they are viewed not as citizens of America or of the world, but as citizens of Israel, and they have to back whatever it is they do.

"It is very, very important to divide Semitism and Zionism. People who hate Jews are anti-Zionist, it is true. But you can dislike Zionism and be Jewish. And guess what? You can be a Zionist and hate Jews.

"This is the way to shut down conversation - an environment that does not allow for conversation."

Mr Yousaff argued the media was distorting Palestinians' struggle which was fueling violence.

"A young kid was shot point blank by an Israeli soldier and as his dead body was being put into the ambulance, Jewish settlers were filmed cheering.

"For an Arab audience, this is what we see everyday. So when Israel says: 'we will hurt them back, we will hurt their people like they hurt ours' this is not right.

"We do not see each other as 'people in the West and people in the Middle East'. It's important when you talk about the conflict, that you talk about the root causes.

"Arab people feel like the whole Palestinian culture is being cancelled.

"Terrorism is a virus," he said, adding that Israel is showing it is not just targeting Hamas, but Palestinians in Gaza as a whole: "If a patient with the flu came to you … you give them nutrition, fluids and rest so the immunity of the body gets rid of the virus on its own.

“This is not eye for an eye any more,” Youssef said. “This is an eye, a limb, a life, a house, a neighbourhood, a whole population – for an eye … it's not about Hamas any more.”

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement