The selfie that launched a thousand jokes.
The selfie that launched a thousand jokes.

The Middle East is used to snagging headlines, but the recent selfie mishap between the Israeli and Lebanese Miss Universe contestants has the world skewering the absurdity of the incident.

The disastrous “photo bombing” faux pas that is still reverberating across international media features four beauty queens at the pageant in Miami – Miss Israel, Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan.

No offense to the latter two, but the world is focusing on Miss Israel Doron Matalon appearing next to Miss Lebanon Saly Greige. Matalon uploaded the selfie to her Instagram for fun but caused a stir in Lebanon for being seen with “the enemy.”

When Greige announced that Miss Israel had “photo bombed” her picture, the world’s punsters switched gears to overdrive and have been trying to outdo one another with wit and drollness in every way possible.

NBC News ran with the headline: “Oh Snap!: Miss Lebanon Slammed for Selfie With Miss Israel.”

TMZ took to the battlefield with “Miss Israel & Miss Lebanon Go to War …Over a Selfie!”

The Forward photoshopped Miss Israel into other known photos, adding the tagline: “What if Miss Israel Photobombed Others?”

What if Miss Israel photobombed others? (The Forward)
What if Miss Israel photobombed others? (The Forward)

And Jihad Watch put this headline on its take of the story: “Miss Lebanon is like, totally going jihad because Miss Israel got in her selfie.”

But the wittiest of them all is American comedian Jon Stewart, who labeled the fiasco “the war of the poses.” Stewart told his audience on The Daily Show that pictures have been setting the Middle East ablaze, noting that first the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, then the ultra-Orthodox Photoshopping of Angela Merkel out of the Paris march picture, and now the Miss Universe selfie. Stewart said he was starting a new segment called: “What Picture is Upsetting the Middle East This Week?”

“What picture will anger the Middle East this week? ISIS beheading? Ayatollah on the toilet hard-core ankle porn? What?” Stewart asked.

While there are a set of great punchlines in his sketch, standouts include Stewart, after playing a clip by another news media outlet calling the incident a “photo bombing,” asking rhetorically, “Does everything that happens in Middle East countries have to be a bombing?” And, in explaining why Lebanon is wrong in only calling Israel its enemy, he says, “It’s a beauty pageant. They’re all enemies.”

The social media squabble continues, of course, as Matalon has said the situation “doesn’t surprise me but it still makes me sad.” Matalon said she wished “hostility” could be forgotten for the three-week duration of the competition so that “we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country.”

But Miss Lebanon continues to decry the photo and Griege even posted a similar picture, with Miss Israel cropped out. Stewart, of course, had a jibe at that, too: “Why not just let Miss Israel be? In the overall area of that photo, she’s only taking up a very narrow strip, at the edge. What do you want to do, put your back to, say, pre-1967 photo borders!?”

And finally, Stewart ends his rant with a brilliant skewering of the pageant as a whole – uniting Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon, as well as all the other contestants – when he says, “It’s the one chance in the whole year, when all nations can put aside their differences, and come together in Miami, and as one treat women like expensive food instead of human beings. Don’t ruin that.”