Bill Maher, HBO’s late-night political satirist, is not backing down after he dove head-first this week into the debate surrounding the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, Israel and the U.S.’s first two female Muslim Congresswomen - Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
Maher, on his Friday night show, slammed the BDS movement and his comments led to Tlaib suggesting a boycotting Maher's show: "Maybe folks should boycott his show. I am tired of folks discrediting a form of speech that is centered on equality and freedom. This is exactly how they tried to discredit & stop the boycott to stand up against the apartheid in S. Africa. It didn't work then and it won't now."
Maher on Wednesday doubled down on his criticism of BDS on social media, with his official Twitter and Facebook accounts posting, “Some people have one move only: boycott. Cancel. Make-go-away. But here’s the thing, the house voted 318 to 17 to condemn the #BDS movement, including 93% of Dems. Does Tlaib want to boycott 93% of her own party?”
The whole back and forth kicked off when Maher declared the BDS movement "a bullshit purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class."
“It’s predicated on this notion, I think — it’s very shallow thinking — that the Jews in Israel, mostly white, and the Palestinians are browner, so they must be innocent and correct, and the Jews must be wrong. As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied," he said.
Maher also highlighted past comments from Omar, saying he understands why Israel doesn’t give them a warm welcome.
“Congresswoman Omar has said things like, ‘It’s all about the Benjamins,’ ‘Israel has hypnotized the world,’ ‘May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,' ” Maher noted.
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“She apologized for it, but it’s out there: Jews control the world, control the money," Maher noted, but added, "I can see why they don’t get a hero’s welcome."
Tlaib on Friday rejected an offer by Israel to let her travel to the West Bank, the latest twist in a dispute drawing Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu together against U.S. Democrats ahead of elections in both countries.
Tlaib, a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives who has been critical of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, said she would not visit her family there because the Israeli government had imposed "oppressive conditions" to humiliate her.
She had planned to make an official visit to Israel along with fellow Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under public pressure from Republican President Trump, on Thursday said he would not allow the pair to make their trip. On Friday, Israel said it would allow Tlaib to visit family in the Israel-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds.
The Michigan congresswoman rejected the offer, however.