September 14, 2019

Rep. Tlaib Calls for Boycott of Bill Maher

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) called for a boycott of Bill Maher and his HBO show on Aug. 17 after the comedian called the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement “a bull—- purity test.”

Maher made his remarks on “Real Time With Bill Maher,” on Aug. 16, saying that BDS supporters “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 are mostly white and the Palestinians are brown, so they must be innocent and correct and the Jews must be wrong.” 

He added that BDS supporters believe “the [Israeli] occupation came right out of the blue” and ignore “the Intifadas and the suicide bombings and the rockets,” pointing out that BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti said in 2013, “No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

“Somehow this side never gets presented in the America media,” Maher said. “It’s very odd.”

Tlaib responded to Maher’s comments in a tweet saying, “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 [South] Africa. It didn’t work then and it won’t now.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center founder and dean Rabbi Marvin Hier told the Journal that Maher is being “lambasted for speaking the truth” and that Tlaib would prefer to tell her constituents to “watch Bill Maher if he participated in telling the lies that have unfortunately been told about the State of Israel.”

“BDS is predicated on this notion that the Jews in Israel are mostly white and the Palestinians are brown, so they must be innocent and correct and the Jews must be wrong.” — Bill Maher

He added that what he found particularly unbelievable about Tlaib was that she said in May that her Palestinian ancestors allowed the Jews to take refuge in mandated Palestine during the Holocaust, “but she has the nerve of ignoring the fact that the head of the Palestinians was a principal collaborator with Adolf Hitler in murdering the Jews,” Hier said. “She never says anything about the Grand Mufti [Muhammad Haj Amin al-Husseini], never says anything about the fact that the Grand Mufti came to Hitler’s side in 1941… where he conducted radio programs urging Hitler to exterminate the Jews.”

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) condemned Tlaib’s tweet as “deeply disturbing” in an Aug. 19 press release, with WJC President Ronald Lauder saying, “It is outrageous that Tlaib, who has repeatedly deployed anti-Semitic tropes, would promote the boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East and the one nation that fully respects human rights and guarantees freedom for Muslims, Christian and Jews.” 

Lauder added that “Adolf Hitler infamously boycotted Jewish-owned businesses” and censored his entertainment and media critics. “We Jews know what boycotts can lead to,” Lauder said. “We find it concerning that a member of the U.S. Congress would lobby for BDS and so easily suggest that Maher’s show should be boycotted simply because he expressed an opinion with which she disagrees.”

StandWithUs CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein similarly tweeted, “Rashida Tlaib is very upset with Bill Maher because he ridiculed the BDS movement for wanting to destroy #Israel. Now, she calls for a boycott of @billmaher. Maybe she should listen to Bill, and rethink her own racism against Jews and Israel.”