'SNL' has history of using 'Jews as the punchline,' ADL says as they call on Lorne Michaels to take action

The Anti-Defamation League demanded the 'SNL' creator 'take action' after a joke Michael Che made during 'Weekend Update'

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is the latest Jewish organization to call out "Saturday Night Live" for a joke about Israel they say "crossed the line."

During Saturday's episode, "Weekend Update" host Michael Che spoke about Israel's coronavirus vaccine rollout, suggesting that Jewish citizens are receiving priority treatment.

"Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population. I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half," Che said on the long-running NBC show.

The ADL told Fox News in a statement Monday evening that while the segment is "known for sharp criticism and public takedowns," the joke Che made "not only missed the mark, but crossed the line -- basing the premise of the joke on factual inaccuracies and playing into an antisemitic trope in the process."

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The group went even further to say they have been monitoring "Weekend Update" this season and said the segment has "inappropriately use[d] Jews as the punchline" multiple times.

"Unfortunately, ADL has tracked multiple 'Weekend Update' jokes this season that inappropriately use Jews as the punchline. I know they can do better," ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt told us.

"In that spirit, I reached out to Lorne Michaels over the weekend urging 'Saturday Night Live' to take action both to repair the damage that’s been done and ensure that this does not happen again," he added.

A rep for Michaels, the creator and executive producer of "SNL," did not immediately return Fox News' request for comment. NBC told Fox News earlier on Monday they had "no comment at this time."

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The statement drew attention on social media causing an uproar with viewers and sparked a petition from the American Jewish Committee (AJC) for NBC "to retract its outrageous claim and apologize immediately."

'Saturday Night Live' producer Lorne Michaels has been contacted by the Anti-Defamation League over a joke made during Saturday's 'Weekend Update' segment.

'Saturday Night Live' producer Lorne Michaels has been contacted by the Anti-Defamation League over a joke made during Saturday's 'Weekend Update' segment. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

"'Saturday Night Live's' joke' isn't just untrue—it's dangerous, a modern twist on a classic antisemitic trope that has inspired the mass murder of countless Jews throughout the centuries," the petition reads. "Words have consequences, and Jews are at risk when a major American TV company joins with those who claim Israel is favoring only a portion of its citizens in its admirable efforts, praised by Dr. Anthony Fauci and others, to vaccinate all of its residents."

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Former New York State Assemblyman and founder of Americans Against Antisemitism Dov Hikind addressed the joke on Twitter, saying that the writer of the joke is "ignorant of fact that Israel has Arab citizens who’ve received the vaccine according to the same qualifications as Jews."

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Data from an Oxford University-run tracking site shows that Israel has administered more COVID-19 vaccinations than any other nation. 

The Palestinian Authority health ministry announced Friday that Israel agreed to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinians who often enter the country for work, Reuters reported. As stated in the Oslo Accords, Palestine -- and not Israel -- is responsible for the health of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

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