WATCH: 'We Are Getting Very Close to Letting Israel Write American Policy,' Says Bill Maher

In the latest episode of HBO's 'Real Time,' Bill Maher debated Netanyahu's Obama snub and took on former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean for saying, 'ISIS is as Islamic as I am.'

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Howard Dean on HBO's 'Real Time with Bill Maher,' January 23rd, 2015. Credit: Screen grab


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Bill Maher: King Abdullah died. He was praised by everyone from Obama to McCain as a "moderate." Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, said he was a strong advocate of women. In the kingdom, women can't drive, leave the house without a man, hold a lot of jobs. There's summary beheading of female criminals. This is what I call the soft bigotry of low expectations when it comes to Muslims.

And Howard I know we disagree on this. I heard you say that "ISIS is as Islamic as I am."

Howard Dean: I'm thrilled you brought it up because the right-wing jumped all over me after the usual suspects distorted what I said. Here's why I say that. Here's why I don't call ISIS Islamic terrorists: it empowers them to do it. What they are, are a group of thugs who are murderers and subhuman. I mean, they do horrible things.

They want us to call them Islamic terrorists because it connects them with a billion people. They are not.

Maher: But they are connected.

Bret Stephens: But they are Islamic terrorists.

Maher: And they are connected.

Dean: They are thugs and murderers.

Maher: Howard --

Dean: And for us to -- we empower them --

Maher: Of course they are. And we're not saying that all Muslims are thugs and murders, but this idea that they are not connected to the religion... Tom Friedman wrote about it this week. He said in an article "Say It Like It Is." He said:

When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble... We’ve entered the theater of the absurd... But it is not good for us or the Muslim world to pretend that this spreading jihadist violence isn’t coming out of their faith community.

Do you disagree with that?

Dean: This is not about political correctness. This is about depriving --

Maher: Oh, come on.

Dean: This is about depriving them of a propaganda victory which seek. Every time we use the word Islamic in conjunction with their behavior we are making it easier for them to recruit, and that is a mistake.

Stephens: These are people steeped in Islamic or Islamist theology, people who trained in madrassas, people who went to Yemen, people who identify as Muslims. I don't think, presumably a Christian, have any right to excommunicate them from the religion to which they belong, they were reared and whose name they carried out attacks in.

Dean: This is like people who shoot up abortion clinics are Christian jihadists.

Maher: But, Howard, I mean --

Dean: Come on, give me a break here.

Maher: Poll after poll -- just to take one example, I'll leave violence in the Muslim world out of this -- poll after poll shows almost, most Muslims in the world, world over, say the wife is always obligated to obey her husband. Is that how you would describe your marriage? Because if not, I don't think your statement, "I'm about as Islamic as they are" is true.

Dean: But they're crazy, these people. They are not rational --

Maher: But most Muslims say the wife is always obliged to obey her husband.

Dean: I actually don't believe that's true.

Maher: But that's a fact. They've done polling. You're just denying the facts.

Stephen: We all agree that Israel's an ally of the United States and a democratic ally and the prime minister can accept an invitation to speak from the speaker of the house. Right France is fine I like the French.

Maher: They are an ally but no country no matter how close they are to us should be making American policy and we're getting very close on the Iran issue to allowing Israel to write American policy. 

Stephens: I am sorry, didn't David Cameron just come to the United States and admit that he was lobbying individual US senators on the subject of Iran sanctions, so if your gonna make that argument and to put two can play the game. I mean that's what Cameron is doing on behalf of Obama.

Maher: Thank you very much Bill has to get to his tutor, see you next week, thank you very much.