Bill Maher expressed shock and outrage at the latest outpouring of antisemitism from college students in a discussion with Ian Bremmer and Fareed Zakaria.
Bill gets real
Bill sat down with Bremmer and Zakaria to discuss on-campus antisemitism on his HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher. “What do you make of this level of just gut-wrenching anti-Semitism?” he asked. “I must admit I don’t think of myself as a naive person, and I’ve been surprised. It was like a volcano that blew.”
Any means necessary
Maher spoke of his surprise at the hate coming from his own party against Jews, particularly those waving banners with expletives. “You know, the ‘any means necessary.’ I don’t know where this comes from.” He continued, “I guess it’s ancient; obviously, the hatred of the Jews goes way back. But I was taken aback by this.”
Social media to blame?
Responding to Maher, Bremmer asked: “You can’t tell me you don’t think social media has made it much worse?” “So, you think that’s the answer? Because it’s got to be something about the Jews themselves,” Bill replied. “Because there are other people around the world who are oppressed; there are other colonized places. Not that Israel colonized anything, but why this one place?”
“You’re the ones with tiki torches!”
Bill’s argument reached its peak as he noted the hypocrisy of those involved. “I mean, the young people who hated Trump because he wouldn’t condemn the people with the tiki torches talking about Jews… You’re the ones with the tiki torches!” he declared to thunderous applause from the audience.
Justification for Israel
Sharing in Bill’s shock, Zakaria answered that “the upsurge of anti-Semitism that you’re seeing around the world and sadly in the United States itself is, in a way, the most powerful justification for the state of Israel.” He continued, “Why it happens is sadly the oldest bigotry known to man. I mean, it comes out of the Christian ideas about Jews.”
Education beats bigotry
Reflecting on how we should tackle this pressing issue, Zakaria stated: “I think the answer is to educate people to understand this is gross ancient bigotry that civilized people shouldn’t believe this kind of thing. That’s the part that’s most worrying.”
A hot debate
The discussion sparked a hot debate in internet comment sections. “I could be wrong, but I always had the feeling that the anti-Israel sentiments floating around on college campuses and major social media platforms isn’t because people ‘hate the Jewish people’ but more of an anti-establishment attitude,” said one YouTube comment.
Not safe anywhere
Another user wondered about the impact antisemitism is having on Jewish people: “I think he’s definitely right about that point: antisemitism rising does make Jewish people appreciate Israel more. That if you’re not safe anywhere, that’s precisely why it exists.”
Don’t blame Christianity
Others expressed anger at Fareed’s anti-Christian perspective. One comment said: “Love how Fareed tried to cast this on Christianity like this attack had anything to do with Christians. And those people on campuses is not the religious right chanting this garbage.”
Muslim anger at Jewish people
Another commenter argues that there may be an issue with antisemitism among Muslim Americans: “U.S. has a large Arab and Muslim population. I know a guy who’s Albanian and a huge supporter of the Iraq war, but you get him talking about Jewish people and he flips out. I don’t really understand their anger, but it’s not uncommon.”
“Death to Israel”?
One YouTube user shared a disturbing chant they had heard at a pro-Palestine march: “I went to the ‘Free Palestine’ march by the White House, and right before they started marching, the woman with the microphone got the crowd to chant with her ‘Palestine from sea to sea’ i.e., death to Israel. It’s a sad and scary time to see this stuff at home.”
Another commenter expressed sadness at humanity’s failure to learn from past atrocities: “We spent half a century educating people about antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the horrors of it. And yet here we are.”
Some wondered whether people were being too harsh in their antisemite accusations. One comment read: “I am always amazed by the people who claim that any criticism of Israel’s governmental policies is ‘anti-Semitism’. Do they think no one else has access to a dictionary?”
No respect for Trump
Despite Maher’s criticism of Trump haters, many commenters were quick to emphasize Trump’s shortcomings: “I find it hard to show even a little respect for Trump. When he took the classified documents with him when he left, he put not only the military at risk but the entire country. As a military vet, there is no forgiveness in me for Trump.”
Cancel culture gone wrong
Other commenters took the opportunity to discuss the consequences of cancel culture. One said, “He’s right. Never in my lifetime did people have to lose their jobs and livelihoods over a silly tweet or comment made on social media. It is the Democrats that want the US to live like late-20th-century East Germany, not the Republicans. The Democratic Party of today is pure Marxist evil.”
Real fascists on the left?
Some went as far as to accuse the left of fascism One person said, “Wow. As it turns out the real fascists are the left. Who is surprised? I’m not.” Another replied, “Fascism is nationalism to the extreme, and Leftists, no matter how you look at it, are not nationalists but want the best for all. Fascism is RIGHT wing and has begun to eat away at the GOP and our democracy.”
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