On Friday's Real Time show on HBO, liberal host Bill Maher called out both anti-Israel liberals and the media for ignoring the deeply embedded anti-Semitism in the Middle East as the group discussed the anti-Israel BDS movement.
Panel member Carl Hulse of the New York Times only mildly suggested that the BDS movement is wrong when pressed by Maher after initially talking it up as a growing movement.
As he brought up the controversy around whether the anti-Israel political activity of Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib justifies barring them from entering Israel, Maher asked his panel members whether the BDS movement is "fair" to Israel.
After his three guests declined to give a direct answer on the issue, Maher bluntly stated:
It's a bulls*** purity test. BDS is a bulls*** purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class. It's predicated on this notion, I think, that the Jews in Israel are mostly white, 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. Forget about the intifadas and the suicide bombings and the rockets and how many wars.
Maher then took aim at the media for ignoring the anti-Semitic views of those who founded the BDS movement:
Let me read Omar Barghouti, is one of the co-founders of the movement. His quote. "No rational Palestinian … would ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine." So that's where that comes from, this movement, someone who doesn't even want a Jewish state at all. Somehow this side never gets presented in the American media. I think it's very odd.
A bit later, the HBO host read statistics on how many thousands Jews used to live in a number of Muslim countries before they were expelled, and brought up Saudi Arabia's current practice of barring Jews from entering the country.
When Maher asked his initial question about whether it was "fair" to boycott Israel, Hulse at first sounded like he was speaking favorably of BDS as he began by nodding and then saying: "I think this is something that's growing in the United States -- you see it on a lot on college campuses where there are people who are saying we can't have this relationship with Israel without getting pressure on them over Palestine."
Maher jumped in, again asking, "Is it fair? Is it the right thing to do?" leading Hulse to only tepidly suggest reservations about it: "I don't know that it's the right thing to do." He then pivoted to arguing that it is "dangerous" for Israel to become an issue with less bipartisan agreement than in the past.