On Monday night after President Donald Trump sent Ivanka and Jared Kushner to the Jerusalem embassy opening, Stephen Colbert couldn't help but mock the situation. Aside from dubbing Ivanka and Kushner a version of "Barbie and Ken," the late night host's monologue lightly touched on just why the embassy's new location is so controversial.
President Trump has been "futzing in the Middle East, opening the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem," Colbert joked. "Now we’ve just got to destabilize Antarctica, and we’ll have Global Crisis Bingo."
The decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem broke with decades of diplomatic tradition and has been met with resistance from Palestinian activists, the BBC reports. Protests have raged for weeks, with many turning violent as Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces along the Gaza border. At least 52 are dead and at least 2,400 have been wounded, according to BBC.
“In response to moving the embassy, deadly violence has broken out, but according to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, the act of moving the embassy sends the message to Israel that ‘you are not alone,’” Colbert said. “It’s true. Israel is not alone. There’s a bunch of other people who live there, too. They’re the angry ones.”
The president couldn't be there himself, the late-night host explained, because, "you know, the angry people."
"Instead he sent Peace Treaty Barbie and Collusion Ken,” Colbert said, as the show cut to video of Ivanka Trump and Kushner sitting and clapping during the opening of the embassy Monday morning. Colbert played a clip of Kushner's speech, gracing him with a falsetto dub.
“When there is peace in this region,” Kusner mouthed/Colbert squeaked, “we will look back upon this day and remember that the journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth.”
Colbert's mockery of the decision is a light echo of the critics who believe the embassy opening is dangerous to the peace process. Kushner is the president's handpicked envoy to the Middle East, and he's been overseeing a Middle East peace plan for the past year. In formally recognizing Jerusalem as a part of Israel, the president has effectively sided with the Israelis against the Palestinians, who look to claim part of Jerusalem as their future capital one day.
American and Israeli leaders heralded the embassy opening as a symbol of the strong and lasting relationship between the two nations, according to CNN. American officials said the relocation could create an honest foundation for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In a video message broadcast at the embassy opening, President Trump congratulated Israel. He said:
Today, Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's government. It is the home of the Israeli legislature and the Israeli supreme court and Israel's prime minister and president. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital, yet for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious, the plain reality that Israel's capital is Jerusalem.
But the irony is not lost to many — that on a day of proclaimed peace, violence and deaths surge. The symbolism and claim to Jerusalem goes right to the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the BBC, Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem is not a status that is recognized internationally. Per the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the issue has been so prickly that international negotiators left Jerusalem to be discussed in the final portions of any peace talks. Israel has occupied the eastern part of Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war, though the move was not officially recognized by any U.S. president until Trump. Though Colbert didn't dedicate any huge portion of his show to the situation, he certainly said enough.