One week after thoroughly embarrassing Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) over his blind defense of President Trump and his administration’s cruel jab at Sen. John McCain, Bill Maher welcomed one of the more vacuous columnists around onto his HBO program.
I’m talking about Bari Weiss.
The New York Times opinion writer has garnered a reputation for her fallacious hate-reads, and on Friday night’s Real Time she launched into a broadside against incels—this after penning a heavily-derided think piece propping up their most vocal defenders, or as Weiss called them, “The Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web.” (Incels are indeed vile misogynists but her cognitive dissonance is baffling.)
That wasn’t the worst of it.
“This week we opened the American embassy in Jerusalem which did cause a riot, as predicted, and of course people are blaming both sides,” said Maher.
During the embassy opening, a taunting event all but designed to inflame tensions, Israeli forces brutally massacred at least 58 Palestinians protesting along the Gaza border—including women and children. Many were killed by sniper fire hundreds of yards away. Weiss, however, saw no connection between the protests and the embassy launch.
“Bill, I love you, but the riots were not caused by the embassy move,” said Weiss. “They’re not linked. When Hamas attacked Israel in 2008, when Hamas attacked Israel in 2012, when it attacked Israel in 2014, the embassy was in Tel Aviv all of those times… They intentionally moved up the day so that it would coincide with the day of the embassy move so that we would all be disgusted and heartbroken when we saw this horrible split-screen of Ivanka Trump, looking like she was at a country club, next to poor, desperate people dying in Gaza.”
“I agree with you,” Maher replied. “They planned that. Absolutely.”
“Right,” added Weiss. “And I’m just saying, let’s not fall for a trap that is being set by a theocratic, authoritarian group that are sending women and children to be human shields.”
“I’m not falling for any of that,” Maher shot back. “I think they’re the bigots when they just assume that if something goes on in this part of the world, there’s gonna be riots, and you can’t organize your foreign policy around, ‘What is Mohamed Atta gonna do?’”
Let’s unpack this, shall we? For starters, “Mohamed Atta” is the name of one of the chief 9/11 hijackers, not the leader of Palestine. That would be Mahmoud Abbas. And even if the protest date was moved up, and even if it was organized by Hamas, and even if they used some women and children as human shields, there is still no justification for the sniper slaughter of 58 protesters. It’s a tragedy, and to write it off as anything else is to embrace the dehumanization of the Palestinian people.
And, not to be outdone, Weiss then argued that “Trump and the Republican Party are turning Israel, which should be a progressive issue, into a right-wing one”—a position that could only be adopted if one began paying attention to the region two years ago.
Panelist Dan Savage was quick to correct Weiss, stating that, “Israel did that under Obama… If anyone turned Israel into a right-wing issue over the last eight, nine years, it was Netanyahu.”
Finally, a little bit of sanity.