Via MEMRI TV, not so much a palate cleanser as a palate soiler. I think Jonathan Tobin’s read this exactly right: The behavior of the guests is less alarming, and less revealing, than the behavior of the hosts.
Viewing the invective about Jews and Israel being spewed on the show by three apparently prominent members of the Egyptian arts community is damning by itself. It says a lot that the show’s producers thought one of the most outrageous things they could do to Egyptians was to trick them into sitting down with Jews. Nor is it surprising that the response generated hate speech about the character of the Jewish people and the authenticity of the Holocaust.
But the punch lines of each segment in which the subjects are informed they are on a candid camera show, which was required in two cases to avert more violence if not bloodshed, is also illustrative. There were no reproaches from the hosts for the violent behavior that followed when the guests were told they were on Israeli TV. It was only when they were pretending to be Israelis that they tried to push back against the slanders. Once they were back in their own identities, all was forgiven. The host only had praise for her dupes — even the one who slugged her — for demonstrating what she described as “patriotism” by their anger about being set up to talk with Jews.
If this really had been an Israeli show, it would have been a dynamite expose of how nasty Egyptian anti-semitism can get even in a “professional” setting. Both of the male guests turn violent; one of them, as Tobin notes, gets physical with the female host, which comes at around 4:50. But the point of the program isn’t to call them out, it’s to reward them for their “righteous” rage. This is the cultural backdrop against which the Muslim Brotherhood is taking power, despite more than 30 years of formal peace between Egypt and Israel. If you don’t watch the whole thing, at least watch the big hug at 9:15 and the immediate aftermath when “Mahmoud” finds out it’s all a prank. Quote: “I hate the Jews to death.”