“Real Time” host Bill Maher rejected the liberal media’s push of Israel-Hamas equivalency following last week’s terrorist attacks, declaring the Jewish State has the “moral high ground.”
Maher kicked off the panel discussion on Friday night by acknowledging the “shocking amount of support” for Hamas and called out the media for portraying Hamas and Israel as being “both guilty equally.”
“I think the Israelis have always had the moral high ground I think they still do,” Maher said.
He then warned his “friends” in Israel about potentially losing the “moral high ground” if it blocks humanitarian relief like the Red Cross from getting into Gaza.
“Don’t lose the moral high ground,” Maher said. “If Israel is going to kill babies now for the next I don’t know how long… I’m just saying to Israel don’t do what we did after 9/11. Don’t do a Vietnam. Don’t do an Afghanistan. Of course you should retaliate. Of course you have every right, but this could go into a place that is very bad for Israel.”
Maher clashed with his guest, former Bernie Sanders adviser Matt Duss, who pointed to Israel’s 16-year blockade against Gaza as a factor that led to last week’s attacks.
“A blockade of a land they gave back. They gave it back. Gaza is no longer occupied,” Maher told Duss. “The reason there’s a blockade is to stop s–t like this from happening. That’s the whole point. They gave it back!”
Tablet Magazine columnist James Kirchick stressed “If the Arabs put down their weapons, there’d be peace. If the Jews put down their weapons, there’d be no more Jews in the Middle East.”
“It bothers me – the moral equivalency that goes on in the American media,” Maher said. “I don’t think Israelis would ever purposely kill babies. I think they have killed babies. That’s collateral damage, which is another horrible thing, but that’s part of war. I think there’s a very different than – difference between rejoicing when you kill civilians and the Israelis regret when they kill civilians.”
The HBO star then railed against the “American left” for staunchly aligning itself with people whose values differ than the ones the U.S. and Israel share.
“Religious tolerance – that doesn’t exist in Gaza. You’re either a Muslim or an infidel and you better be a Muslim,” Maher said. “Female freedom, free and fair elections, free speech, gay rights – I see these ‘Queers for Palestine.'”
“Did you hear their sister organization, Blacks for the KKK?” Kirchick quipped. “By the way, I’m a gay man, I’ve lived in Berlin. This is a level of masochism that even I cannot comprehend.”
“The fact that, you know, these people think that this is where they should be aligned with, that these are the values that you support?” Maher complained.
“This past week has been a real important moment for a moral reckoning on the American left,” Kirchick said, “because there’s a small – and I’m going to emphasize that, a very small but growing extremely loud faction on the American left that has revealed itself –”
“I don’t know how small anymore. It was all over,” Maher pushed back. “I’ll agree for the sake of being positive here that it’s a minority who believes it, but I don’t think it’s a minority on elite campuses, which is the mouth of the river from which most of this nonsense flows. And they’re very influential, and those are the people who graduate and become the a–h—s in society.'”
“A Berkeley professor said ‘Understanding that Hamas and Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left is extremely important.’ They are ‘social movements that are progressive that are on the left.’ So for those of you who like to ‘Bill, you make fun of the left more than you used to,’ yeah – because this is how you define it! That’s why. Because you think this is the left? Your moral compass is broken!” Maher continued.
Maher went on to theorize that the reason why the pro-Palestinian movement is so popular on college campuses isn’t necessarily because they’re antisemitic but rather “they want to be social justice warriors.”
“It’s not about the issue, it’s about them,” Maher said. “There’s a big conflation with African American rights and Palestinian rights as if they’re anything like the same [thing].”
“That is so insulting to Black people,” Kirchick chimed in, “because Black people in this country suffered immense injustice far worse, I would say, than anything that he Palestinians have suffered at the hands of the Israelis. And how did Black people respond to that? They didn’t go around beheading babies, and raping women in mass numbers, and slaughtering people. They launched the non-violent civil rights movement that was the most successful in human history… If there was a Palestinian Martin Luther King, this conflict would have been over decades ago.”
Maher blasted the indoctrination that occurs on college campuses, accusing them of teaching students “America-hating ahistorical hysterics.”
“I would say college students have been saying dumb, edgy things since the word ‘college students,’” Duss said.
“Not like this, not like this,” Maher doubled down. “They never took the side of the mass murderers right after it happened, ok?… ‘Colonizers,’ ok this is, again, this has become like in the media, we just call the Israelis ‘colonizers.’ It’s not a colonizing, ok? Colonizer is when one country that was had nothing to do with another country, like the British or the Dutch in South Africa, marched in with an army and took over a place they had no connection to. [Jews have] quite a connection to Israel.”
“Who does Hamas and many Palestinians, sympathetic people – who do they refer to as ‘settlers’ and ‘colonizers’?” Kirchick said. “It’s not just the Israelis living in the disputed West Bank. It’s Israelis living anywhere within the internationally-recognized borders of the state of Israel. Because to them, any Jew in that territory is considered a colonizer. And this language is used to dehumanize people and to license their murder.”
“I do believe Arabs living in that land should have their own country and they could, again, if they just didn’t act like a coiled snake,” Maher later said. “The head of Hamas said ‘the entire planet will be under our law. There will be no more [Jews] or Christian traitors.’ This is the head of Hamas!”
“Hamas is not the spokesperson for the Palestinians,” Duss argued. “Again, part of the problem is now is that there is no spokesperson for the Palestinians and again, making sure there was no one group that could speak for the Palestinians has been [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s strategy.”
“But Hamas just did this. They orchestrated this attack,” Maher responded. “And their charter does say ‘Israel will exist until Islam will obliterate it.’ That’s their charter!… That wasn’t a hot mic take, that was their charter!”
“What does it look like when they get what they want?” he later wondered. “What do the 9 million Jews that live in Israel do? They just disappear?”
“Yes,” Kirchick quickly answered. “That’s the idea. They don’t say that explicitly.”
“Well where do they go?” Maher asked.
“Into the ocean. Or into their graves,” Kirchick responded.
“That’s not what it’s meant to ‘Free Palestine,’” Duss said. “Some people mean it that way, a lot of people – most Palestinians that I know and work with including Israelis that work with us mean it to end the occupation. Give the Palestinians a state.”
“But what happens when they do?” Maher replied. “They did it in Gaza. They gave it to them. And did they use it to build a state? No. They used it to bring in weapons and attack them!”
When asked what would happen if Israel completely withdrew from the West Bank, Kirchick and Duss were in agreement that Hamas would “take over tomorrow” due to the weakness of the Palestinian Authority.
Maher also rejected the term “genocidal” when it’s used by Palestinian sympathizers about Israel.
“Genocidal means you’re trying to wipe out a whole people. Trust me, if Israel wanted to do that, they could,” Maher said. “They’re not trying to. They’re trying to live in peace.”
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