Comedy Central’s online game “I.S.R.A.E.L. Attack!” created a huge storm of protest after HonestReporting launched a campaign calling on the network to remove it.
To recall, the game’s introduction featured a character who states: “You lied to me Jew Producer” before a robot known by the acronym “I.S.R.A.E.L.” is sent to destroy everything and everyone in its path, including children and animals.
What happened next is a vivid example of how online activism can have a major impact. After HonestReporting’s communique went live, a number of bloggers picked it up, including some that have no link to Israel or Jewish concerns whatsoever, such as Big Hollywood.
HonestReporting’s Facebook group grew to over 2000 members in a very short space of time, spreading the issue virally to many more concerned people, generating huge amounts of comments and discussion. From here the story broke into the mainstream including the Sydney Morning Herald, New York Jewish Week, Forward and Ha’aretz.
Comedy Central was evidently not insensitive to the negative publicity and the protests. The offensive introduction to the game was edited to remove the “Jew Producer” line. The title of the game itself was also changed to “Drawn Together: The Movie: The Game”, making it far more difficult to locate on Comedy Central’s website. The graphic featuring the original title “I.S.R.A.E.L. Attack!” is still there, however.
Comedy Central appears to have recognized that the anti-Semitism of the “Jew Producer” was unacceptable and removed it. But why is the game still online? Does Comedy Central believe that the association of Israel with child killing is any more acceptable? Impressionable young minds will still be able to play this game online, thus contributing to the misrepresentation and demonization of Israel.
We would hope that Comedy Central never intended to cause such offense. However, the network’s attempt to quietly bury the issue without even publicly addressing it indicates that Comedy Central knows very well that it has erred.