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Maher Defends Israel: Leftists ‘Would Run Screaming To Tel Aviv If They Had To Live In Gaza For One Day’

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BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 09: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been created in camera using a reflective surface and edited using digital filters) Bill Maher attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer / VF20 / WireImage

HBO host Bill Maher slammed the media and left-wing activists during his most recent episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” saying that if those people who attacked Israel during its most recent conflict with Palestinian terrorists had to live in Gaza for one day that they would be running toward Israel.

Maher lambasted the idea that Israel committed war crimes during the conflict earlier this month, correctly noting that Palestinian terrorists fired well over 4,000 rockets at Israel and that organizations like Hamas place the rockets in civilian areas.

“This is another thing I’ve heard last couple of weeks, words like ‘occupiers’ and ‘colonizers’ and ‘apartheid’, which I don’t think people understand the history there,” Maher said. “The Jews have been in that area of the world since about 1,200 BC, way before the first Muslim or Arab walked the earth, 1,000 years before. I mean, Jerusalem is their capital. Okay, so if it’s just about who got there first, it’s not even close. There have been a continuous Jewish presence.”

“The Jews were the ones who were occupied by everybody,” Maher continued. “The Romans took over at some point, and then the Persians and the Byzantines and then the Ottomans. So yes, there was colonization going on there. Beginning in the 20th, 19th century, they started to return to Palestine, which was never an Arab country. There was never a country called ‘Palestine’ that was a distinct Arab country.”

“And, you know, as far as Gaza goes, it’s amazing to me that the progressives think that they’re being progressive, by taking that side of it, the Bella Hadid’s of the world, these influencers,” Maher later added. “I just want to say, in February of this year, a Hamas court ruled that an unmarried woman cannot travel in Gaza without the permission of a male guardian. Really? That’s where the progressives are? Bella Hadid and her friends would run screaming to Tel Aviv, if they had to live in Gaza for one day.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

BILL MAHER, HBO HOST: This was, after all, a war with Gaza. Thank God Israel treats its Arab citizens better than Egypt, Syria, or Saudi Arabia treat their Arab citizens. I didn’t see much of that in the press. I was glad to see you say it. Can you put some bones on that? Why do you say they treat their citizens better? Their Arab citizens.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NYT: So, I mean, I also said a lot more. And clearly within Israel … Arab citizens, obviously vote, they can serve in the Knesset, they can be judges. Some of the most robust organizations speaking up for Palestinians are organizations like [inaudible], the human rights organization. That does not happen in Egypt, which obviously massacres Egyptians who support democracy, we’ve seen what happens in Syria. But I would also say that, you know, I made that point for context, I think it’s important to understand that, that Israel at home truly is robust. But, you know, I don’t think that’s a defense for Israel, engaging in possible war crimes in Gaza, or engaging–

MAHER: Well Gaza fired 4000 rockets into Israel, what would you say Israel should have done instead of what they did? So how could you not — ?

KRISTOF: So, I mean, international lawyers are pretty clear that they have a right to defend themselves. They have a right to respond at military targets. But there was a sense that the response was probably a war clime, because it did not sufficiently avoid civilian casualties.

MAHER: But they purposely put the rockets in civilian places. That’s their strategy.

KRISTOF: Yeah. Well, likewise, Israel’s defense ministry is in a civilian area. I mean, both sides do this, partly because they’re private countries. I do think that Hamas, particularly does this. And I think that’s war crime on the part of Hamas and clearly Hamas is engaging in war crimes when it shells Israel.

MAHER: War is a crime. I mean, it seems like a silly argument when people go to war, I mean, there are certain things that are beyond the pale. This seems like, I mean, it was a normal war, people die in war. It’s a horrible thing. But–

KRISTOF: But I mean, there, we have developed laws of war precisely to restrain the inhumanity of war. We don’t allow chemical weapons–

But I don’t know how well you respond to when– I mean, what if Canada, fired 4,000 rockets into America. Or Mexico, which is even better analogy, because we actually did steal the land from Mexico. I would submit that Israel did not steal anybody’s land. This is another thing I’ve heard last couple of weeks. Words like ‘occupiers’ and ‘colonizers’ and ‘apartheid’, which I don’t think people understand the history there. The Jews have been in that area of the world, since about 1,200 BC, way before the first Muslim or Arab walked the earth, 1,000 years before. I mean, Jerusalem is their capital. Okay, so if it’s just about who got there first, it’s not even close. There have been a continuous Jewish presence. Yes. The Jews were the ones who were occupied by everybody. The Romans took over at some point, and then the Persians and the Byzantines and then the Ottomans. So yes, there was colonization going on there. Beginning in the 20th, 19th century, they started to return to Palestine, which was never an Arab country. There was never a country called ‘Palestine’ that was a distinct Arab country. And yes, there was a problem there because there was two people who wanted to share the land, which is why the UN in 1947 said, ‘Okay, we’re going to partition it.’ We have the map, I want to show, people forget what the map looks like. This is what was on the table at the beginning, the green is the part that the Arab population would have gotten. It’s a good part of the country. It’s the good part. A lot of it. Look what Israel has a little sliver by the coast and the desert in the south. That second map is what Israel has today. Yes, it is a lot more, but doesn’t it behoove the people who rejected the treaty, the half a loaf, and then continue [to] attack, Hamas’s charter says they just want to wipe out Israel, their negotiating position is you all die.

KRISTOF: I mean, there’s a difference between this defending Hamas, which I agree, commits war crimes and I would accept that I think, too often in liberal circles, there has been a tendency to ally the repression of Hamas, the homophobia of Hamas, and misogyny of Hamas, but that also does not excuse Israel, ruling Palestinians in the West Bank, for example, without giving them any vote, taking water and giving it to settlers, and maybe most important, damaging any possibility down the road of creating a two state solution. You know, how do we avoid a war when somebody is shelling some of your neighbors, shelling you? That’s hard. But what we can do is try to create a two state solution 10 years from now. And the way you do that is you don’t build up settlements right now in the West Bank. And you don’t create this division, where a Palestinian you don’t seize their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.

MAHER: I would agree with that and I think a lot of Israelis do too.

KRISTOF: Not enough to elect–

MAHER: Well because again, I mean, first of all, the two state solution has been on the table a number of times, there could be a Arab capital in East Jerusalem now if Yasser Arafat had accepted that in 2003, he did not. I mean, they have rejected this and went to war, time and time again. And, you know, as far as Gaza goes, it’s amazing to me that the progressives think that they’re being progressive, by taking that side of it, the Bella Hadid’s of the world, these influencers. I just want to say, in February of this year, a Hamas court ruled that an unmarried woman cannot travel in Gaza without the permission of a male guardian. Really? That’s where the progressives are? Bella Hadid and her friends would run screaming to Tel Aviv, if they had to live in Gaza for one day.

KRISTOF: I mean, I’ve been Gaza any number of times and ordinary Gazans complain about Hamas all the time. I did not perceive Bella Hadid as defending Hamas. I saw her as speaking up for you know, 57 kids in Gaza who were killed.

MAHER: Well, she’s ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ I think but she chanted with people. That is a PLO slogan that means Israel from the river to sea, that there will be no more Israel. You want to say something about this?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I was kind of glad to listen because do I want to step on the landmine? No. But just to buttress Nick’s point a little bit, if I understand, they’re about to form a government, including the Arab Party. Once you’re apart of a government, you need just three votes in the Keenest to get to 61–

MAHER: Which no ‘apartheid’ state ever did. An apartheid, we think of a South Africa, which is, the white people in Britain and Holland, who never had any claim to the land or history there, came thousands of years later and just took it over. That’s a little different. And then they kept it as a apartheid state because they just wanted the power. The Israelis, they have made mistakes, but it’s an apartheid state because they keep getting attacked. If they don’t keep a tight lid on this s**t, they get killed. That seems like something different.

KRISTOF: For the same reason that you admire Israeli democracy, and that you admire the fact that Arabs within Israel have the vote, then shouldn’t those Palestinians in the West Bank have a vote for the people who rule the [inaudible]?

MAHER: But again, Israeli Arabs do have a vote and they’re in the parliament, unlike in an apartheid–

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