Bill Maher Clashes: 'Why Can the Left Disparage Jews?'

Bill Maher Ignites Debate on Political Bias Against Antisemitism.

by Nouman Rasool
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Bill Maher Clashes: 'Why Can the Left Disparage Jews?'
© Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In the latest episode of "Real Time," Bill Maher called attention to what he sees as a double standard when it comes to antisemitism on the left, as opposed to reactions against far-right marches. During the show, Maher raised a controversial question: "How come it's okay for the left to hate the Jews?" His question referred to the double standard in public and media responses to the infamous 2017 Charlottesville rally, where white supremacists freely flaunted antisemitic/racist slogans.

In reaction to Maher, CNN contributor Ana Navarro tweeted that this is not a direct comparison because "some pretty ghastly pictures are coming out of Gaza," which has been a primary driver of leftist activism. However, writer Joel Stein argued that the influence of college students in current protests should not be underestimated, comparing them to the less impactful "tiki torch IT guys" from Charlottesville.

Maher: Confronting Rhetoric

Maher, pressing further, contrasted the slogans from Charlottesville—specifically "Jews will not replace us"—against more violent rhetoric like "Death to Zionists," questioning why the former is considered more deplorable than the latter.

"If I were a Holocaust survivor," Maher said, "I would take 'Jews will not replace us' over 'Death to Zionists.' " This, among other such issues, is driven home by a discussion on recent antisemitic incidents-which include violent anti-Israel protests outside the White House and vandalism targeting Jewish officials in Brooklyn-and Maher's concern on uneven condemnation compared to that which was witnessed after Charlottesville points to an even broader issue on how the antisemitism issue has been perceived and tackled across the various political spectrums.

It is an ongoing discourse that, though not comfortable to face, challenges the viewer to look beyond the media presentation of political responses to hate speech and antisemitism and into the complexities involved in societal values and moral outrage consistency in other contexts of society.

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