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Leno to host awards ceremony in Israel; takes a sharp jab at John Kerry

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Free from the rigors that come with being the host of “The Tonight Show,” comedian Jay Leno is letting his hair down a bit, politically speaking.

Leno will be hosting an awards ceremony in Israel later this month, where former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg will be receiving the first ever $1 million Genesis Prize for public service and philanthropy, The Associated Press reported.

“I guess any American that’s not John Kerry is more than welcome there right now,” Leno quipped in an apparent shot at the Secretary of State, who oversaw the recent Mideast peace talks collapse.

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But even more compelling, Leno weighed in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“At some point in your life, you have to sort of take sides,” he said. “I tend to side with the Jewish point of view on many things, especially issues like this one. I realize how important Israel is.”

According to the Associated Press, the trip to Israel will be Leno’s first — he is not Jewish. Leno said he didn’t have “any problems” performing there, despite a call by pro-Palestinian activists for entertainers to boycott the Jewish state.

“It’s a great honor,” Leno said. “It’s a great country. It’s a great people.”

Leno said comedian Jimmy Fallon, his replacement on “The Tonight Show,” is doing a “great job,” and reaffirmed his decision to step down.

“You have to know when to step down on these jobs,” the retired late night star said. “After a while, when you’re 64 and you’re talking to the 25-year-old super model, you’re the creepy guy now. So you have to know when.”

Tom Tillison


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