In a recent interview with Katie Halper on “The Katie Halper show”, we talked about Bill Maher having former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his show. Maher has proven himself to be a rude buffoon and an Islamophobe for sure, but in this case, he shamelessly gave a platform to a known war criminal. Netanyahu has dedicated his life to three heinous crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people: genocide, ethnic cleaning and apartheid, all of which are designated as “Crimes Against Humanity” by the United Nations.
The actual questions Maher posed to Netanyahu made a mockery of the grave reality in which Palestinians live. Rather than holding him accountable for the killing and destruction that Palestinians experience every day, Maher gave Netanyahu a platform in which to spew lies and repeat outrageous accusations against them.
“I have three questions for you,” Maher said to Netanyahu, after quoting accusations made by “certain members of Congress.” These accusations, he said, would be more appropriate had they not been made by members of the United States House of Representatives, but by Hezbollah – which, in Maher’s world, means they must be absurd.
“Are you massacring Palestinians, are you ethnically cleansing and are you an apartheid state?” Netanyahu lied of course replying, “No, no and no.”
In a piece in The Daily Beast, written in reaction to the interview, Marlow Stern writes,
“As prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu lorded over what UN rights experts call an apartheid regime, cozied up to one of the most nakedly corrupt presidents in U.S. history in Donald Trump, and proved so corrupt that he was pushed out by his government after being indicted on bribery and fraud charges (owing to his allegedly receiving bribes from Hollywood producers and pushing legislation beneficial toward a newspaper group in exchange for favorable coverage).
Stern then rightly asks, “did Maher ask Netanyahu about any of his corruption charges?” and the answer is, of course, “no, he did not.” In what seems as a love affair between the racist Islamophobe Maher and the war criminal Netanyahu, raising the issue of corruption would be too impolite. He even referred to him as “Prime Minister Netanyahu.”
Will Israel retaliate?
Maher also mentioned Kanye West’s DEFCON 3 remark about Jewish people and then asked, “will Israel retaliate?” While there is no reason a comedian cannot make political jokes and even make jokes about serious issues, antisemitism in not funny and neither were the issues that were raised in the comments made by Kanye.
But what is worse is the insinuation that the head of a racist, brutal government known to murder civilians should “retaliate” because a rapper made a hateful remark about Jewish people? While in the deluded mind of American Zionists Israel “retaliating” is imagined as heroic air strikes by U.S.-made F-18 or F-35 warplanes, killing bad guys, or perhaps the Mossad in a cover operation assassinating the master mind terrorist, the truth of the matter is that when Israel “retaliates”, it means horrific suffering for thousands of innocent people.
While some like to believe that Israeli retaliation is smart and effective, taking out bad-guys, what it actually means is thousands of Palestinians dead. It further means tens of thousands Palestinian or Lebanese men, women and children injured, with countless more made homeless. It means medical teams, journalists and activists targeted and killed, and there is nothing – not a thing – that is funny or heroic about “Israel retaliating.”
A rich privileged, white American Jew suggesting that Israel needs to “retaliate” against Kanye West, a Black American idol, because he insulted Bill Maher and maybe even millions of other Jews, is an affront to anyone’s sensibilities. It reeks of age-old, deep-seated racism. American Jews were insulted, and so Israel will “retaliate.” Watch out Kanye West, watch out Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and anyone else who has brown skin and dares to displease us.
When I was a child, I knew Netanyahu. He was among my sister Nurit’s closest friends. We visited him at his home and he visited ours. We adored him and even more so his older brother Yoni, who was killed during the famous Operation Entebe, where Israeli commandos were flown all the way to Uganda to release hostages. “Bibi”, as Netanyahu is known, was awesome then. Good-looking, heroic. Or so we thought. But then we all grew up and it turned out he was full of hot air. “Bibi” was no cool hero, but an ambitious, heartless politician who would lie and cheat to anyone in order to get to the top. And get to the top he did.
Netanyahu is the longest reigning prime minister in the history of Israel. He shamelessly said that he has done a great deal so that the Arabs in Israel enjoy the great success that he calls Israel. In fact, during his term in office the gap between the rich who are predominantly Jewish citizens of Israel, and the poor, who are predominantly Palestinian citizens of Israel – grew to horrific proportions.
Now there is a fairly good chance that Netanyahu will regain power in the November Israeli elections, albeit with a slim majority. Still, Bill Maher and other American Zionists need to grow up and stop with their adolescent crushes on this man. When will Americans realize that the entire story of the Israeli “retaliation” is a glorified war crime? When will they realize that the Israel commandos, the Mossad agents, and all the other fake heroes in shows like “Fauda” are nothing but glorified racist thugs?
Israel’s lackeys like Maher may never grow up. However, the complicity of Americans in Israeli crimes grows each year, along with $3.8 billion worth of aid. Maher’s nauseating, sugary interview with Netanyahu would have been a joke had it not been such an affront to decency. It is one thing to be a schmuck on television; it is a whole other thing to use one’s platform to glorify a war criminal and a murderer.
Feature photo | Benjamin Netanyahu is interviewed on Real Time with Bill Maher on Oct. 14, 2022. | Screenshot from the Real Time with Bill Maher YouTube Channel.
Miko Peled is a MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”