Bill Maher told his Real Time With Bill Maher audience on Friday night that the move to boycott Israel is a “bulls**t purity test” for liberals, days after U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan were denied entry to Israel because of their support for the boycott.
As The Hill reports, the topic of the boycott, the divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement supported by some congressional Democrats, came up. Maher wasn’t having it.
“[It’s] a bulls**t purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class.”
According to the BDS movement’s website, the reasons for the boycott have to do with the way Israel allegedly treats Palestinians. Specifically, the website accuses Israel of occupying Palestinian land and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. For these reasons, the movement calls on individuals, corporations and governments to boycott several institutions that are Israeli-owned or otherwise have ties to Israel.
Maher posits that the boycott presents a couple of false narratives. First, he noted that supporters of the boycott are trying to put forth a narrative that there’s a racial component to the conflict, even if they don’t outright say so.
“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,” Maher said.
Second, he suggested that the BDS movement over-simplifies the complicated relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, with roots going back decades.
“As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied,” he said.
Earlier this week, Tlaib and Omar were both denied visas to enter Israel because of their support for the movement, in keeping with Israel’s policy of denying entry to people who support international calls to boycott the country. Donald Trump, for his part, hard urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deny the women entry, accusing them of making anti-Semitic remarks and saying that they both “hate” Israel.
Maher suggested that Omar has, in fact, 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.’ Omar apologized, but Maher suggests that the apology was too little, too late.
“I can see why they don’t get a hero’s welcome,” he said.