Bill Maher responded to Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) call to boycott the comedian’s talk show after he denounced the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a “bulls**t purity test.”
“Some people have one move only: boycott. Cancel. Make-go-away,” Maher said on Wednesday. “But here’s the thing, the house voted 318 to 17 to condemn the #BDS movement, including 93% of Dems. Does Tlaib want to boycott 93% of her own party?”
Tlaib was initially slated to travel to Israel, but only days before her trip, the Israeli government blocked the Michigan congresswoman from entering over her vocal support for BDS, which seeks to punish the Jewish state by politically and economically starving the country.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has referred to BDS as “the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence.” Accordingly, the Israeli Knesset passed anti-BDS legislation in 2017 that bars foreign BDS activists from gaining access to the country.
Tlaib waited until after she was elected to Congress to reveal her support for the BDS movement. Speculation of her support emerged after she urged Congress to cut U.S. military aid to Israel during her 2018 campaign; however, her stance was not confirmed until she went on record with The Intercept that December.
Only a month prior to her scheduled trip to Israel, Tlaib co-sponsored a resolution aimed at countering the growing support for state and local anti-BDS legislation. The resolution affirmed that “all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts” and opposed “unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts.”
Nearly a week later, the House overwhelmingly passed a separate resolution condemning the campaign against Israel. Tlaib joined only 16 other members in voting against the resolution, which passed by a margin of 398 – 17 (Maher erroneously said 318).
After Israel’s decision to deny entry to Tlaib ignited a firestorm, Maher questioned why the news media disregards the movement’s anti-Semitic roots and promulgates historical inaccuracies over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“It’s a bulls**t purity test. BDS is a bulls**t purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class,” Maher said. “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 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,” he continued. “Forget about the intifadas and the suicide bombings and the rockets and how many wars.”
Tlaib responded to Maher’s remarks by suggesting that people should boycott his HBO show “Real Time,” in which a diverse panel of guests discusses current events.
“Maybe folks should boycott his show,” Tlaib said. “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 [and] stop the boycott to stand up against apartheid in [South] Africa. It didn’t work then and it won’t now.
Tlaib and fellow progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), are America’s first Muslim congresswomen. Their time in office has been rife with allegations of anti-Semitism and anti-American sentiments.