A female robot with the acronym I.S.R.A.E.L. that marauds a middle-class suburban neighborhood killing children — over-the-top satire or below-the-belt anti-Semitism?
That question was on the minds of Jewish activists and commentators this week after Comedy Central launched its online video game, “I.S.R.A.E.L. Attack!,” to accompany the new movie spin-off of its popularly offensive cartoon reality series, “Drawn Together.”
In the original version of the game, a demonic network executive shouts to a curly-haired producer with a loudspeaker for a face, “You lied to me, Jew producer!” The exec is angry that the characters are still alive despite the show being canceled.
In response, the executive decides to unleash a robot he calls “I.S.R.A.E.L.” (“The Intelligent, Smart, Robot, Animation, Eraser, Lady”) to do the dirty work, deeming that “she will erase them all, forever!” From there, the player can use the keyboard and mouse to kill characters like little girls (700 points), older men (400 points) and defecating cows (500 points).
“The association created by those behind this game is unmistakable — Israel the child killer,” wrote Simon Plosker, managing editor of HonestReporting.com. Plosker created a Facebook group demanding that Comedy Central remove the game; nearly 2,000 people have joined.
The Anti-Defamation League weighed in too, citing “offensive anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli stereotypes” that could influence kids and calling on Comedy Central to spike the video and game.
But did Plosker and the ADL miss the satire?
“Just like no one reasonable takes the Eric Cartman character in ‘South Park’ seriously when he comes to school dressed as Hitler or when he tells Kyle to ‘shut up, you f’ing Jew,’ no one ought to take this game seriously,” said David Abitbol, the founder of the Jewlicious blog. “It’s not making a political statement at all.”
Parody or not, the same day of the ADL letter, dated May 17, Comedy Central removed the line about the “Jew producer” and updated the video game headline from “I.S.R.A.E.L. ATTACK!” to “Drawn Together: The Movie: The Game.” This comes less than two weeks after the cable network caved to pressure from the Muslim community and censored a contentious image of Mohammed from a “South Park.”
Tony Fox, the executive vice president of corporate communications at Comedy Central declined to provide any comment.
Adding to the irony of the whole episode? The creators and executive producers of “Drawn Together,” Dave Jeser and Matt Silverstein, describe themselves as “Jews” in their joint biography on Comedy Central’s website. At the end of the bio they conclude with a self-written obituary: “In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Jewish National Fund (800-762-9273). Israel needs us now more than ever.”
Signup for our weekly email newsletter here.