Shocker: Bill Maher Smacks Down Liberal Attacks on Israel

Bill Maher is known for his pathological, frothing attacks on all things conservative. However, on the August 1 edition of Real Time With Bill Maher, the HBO host took a controversial stance for a liberal: he defended Israel. When his Iranian-American guest Reza Aslan argued that “Amnesty International...have found no evidence whatsoever of any kind of human shield being used,” Maher interrupted to state “It's a war. It's a war that Hamas started.”

The left-wing comedian continued, claiming that “somehow when Israel reacts to this, they have to do everything in a way that doesn't kill any civilians. People die in wars.” Maher repeated his sentiment from July 20, that “if the situation was reversed, Hamas would kill every single person in Israel. The reason that's not happening is because they can't. Because they can't doesn't make them good, it makes them weak.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

While Republican National Committee director of communications Doug Heye and Andrew Ross Sorkin of CNBC’s Squawkbox attempted to combat the anti-Israel author and professor, Maher, who boasts he speaks without worry of being politically correct, was best suited for the task. He brought up a New York Times article citing a town in Jordan that “held a parade to congratulate ISIS for their conquests in Iraq and Syria.” 

Aslan responded that the townspeople have legitimate reason to celebrate ISIS, as “they address a lot of grievances that aren’t being addressed by governments.” Maher shot back, “They’re crucifying people on the side of the road. Where are the protests about that? I know Israel is horrible, but where are the protests about crucifying people? Boko Harem has killed more people than Israel this year, with the war going on.”

See transcript below:

HBO
Real Time With Bill Maher
August 1, 2014
10:24 p.m. Eastern
3 minutes


BILL MAHER: There was an article in the paper, also in the New York Times a few weeks ago. It was called “Jihadis Tug at Edges of Staunch American Ally.” What it said is in a city named Amman Jordan, where there is no ISIS presence, they held a parade to congratulate ISIS for their conquests in Iraq and Syria. It said even though this ISIS had no presence in the area, the event demonstrated the appeal extending beyond those who would take up arms and dawn suicide vests. In other words, we're not terrorists ourselves be, but we love your work--

REZA ASLAN: Sure, sure. They address a lot of grievances that aren’t being addressed by governments--

MAHER: They’re crucifying people on the side of the road. Where are the protests about that? I know Israel is horrible, but where are the protests about crucifying people? Boko Harem has killed more people than Israel this year, with the war going on.

ASLAN: Not with American weapons, and I think that’s why you're seeing a lot more emphasis in the United States --

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: So you're going to defend Hamas today?

ASLAN: I'm not defending hamas. All I'm saying is that if you are going to have a situation where 1,600 people, 85 percent of them civilians. Hundreds of children are being killed every day--

SORKIN: Because they’re putting them in front of them!

ASLAN: That is nonsense.

MAHER: That is not nonsense.

ASLAN: You can say this all day--

SORKIN: These are terrorists who have a war going on against Israel and their own people.

ASLAN: First of all, first of all, Amnesty International, which is on the ground right there did a month-long review of this. They have found no evidence whatsoever of any kind of human shield being used. They did say that Hamas leaders--

DOUG HEYE: Then why are weapons in the schools?

MAHER: It's a war. It's a war that Hamas started and somehow when Israel reacts to this, they have to do everything in a way that doesn't kill any civilians. People die in wars. Now I've said this before on the show. If the situation was reversed, Hamas would kill every single person in Israel. The reason that's not happening is because they can't. Because they can't doesn't make them good, it makes them weak.

ASLAN: Last time I checked, “we are better than Hamas” is not Israel's national motto. This idea that Hamas is a terrorist organization and Israel is a democracy, there is no moral equivalence, you’re absolutely right, there is no moral equivalence. There is none. It's the democracy that requires greater criticism. It's the democracy that has to live up to the values that it ascribes to itself.

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.