Bill Maher’s ‘Religulous’ Has the Usual Double Standard

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 30 Comments

A friend writes: “I saw Bill Maher‘s Religulous today.  Guess who gets off scot free?  Yup.  All the Muslim and Protestant Evangelicals are evil.  The Catholics come off pretty good. The Mormons are insane. But which Jew does he ridicule: the lunatic anti-Zionist ones in Monsey. And his whole point is that they don’t understand ‘Never Again.’

“Oh yeah, he also ridicules guys who sell Sabbath clocks and stuff. But no balance.  He shows Muslim terrorists but doesn’t go near Hebron. The one Jewish Zionist fanatic he talks to has one line: ‘he says that Muhammad never was on the Temple Mount.’

“In other words, like Michael Moore he’s very brave except in taking on the people related to the people who bankroll movies.  Funny?  Not really. Moore did that whole 9/11 Bush movie without mentioning the Israel factor (although his views are well-known and came out in his General Motors movie). I’m told Maher once had on Bibi and introduced him as the guy who best understands what needs to be done.

“So Maher is half Jew and half Catholic.  The best people in the film are Catholics and Jews.  The worst: Protestants and Muslims.”

A couple addenda. Maher is a hawk on Israel, loves Bush’s policy. In that puffball Bibi appearance, he says that the “Christian right” supporters of Israel are the scary ones and allows Netanyahu to call Islam “a pathological creed” and state “we’re fighting the same war”– the U.S. and Israel. (Though to Maher’s credit, he briefly sounds the realist and says, Why can’t you deter Iran’s nukes?)

I’m not a religious person; and this blog is devoted to the idea that if mainstream media are going to shame Islam for jihad and Christian fundamentalists over stem-cell research (which is fine with me), they really have to go after Jewish fundamentalists who have fostered a cycle of violence in the Middle East for eons, at least since the Stern gang knocked on Times columnist C.L. Sulzberger’s door in 1948 and announced they were going to kill U.N. negotiator Folke Bernadotte. They were good for their word. The west is still behind on this reality. But Maher’s double-standard is utterly consistent with Sam Harris’s double standard in his books that attack Islam and Christianity and give Jewish fundamentalists a pass. And with NPR’s handwringing over the Christian right, even as they ignore the Religious Left, as I sometimes call the Is Lob.

(One bright spot: NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty did a fabulous report on NPR on the maturation of the Christian right, to the point where abortion is not the bright-line litmus test that it used to be.)

30 Responses

  1. otto
    October 26, 2008, 2:03 pm

    Well, Zionists are committed secularists (those that are) with a project based above all on a view of the interests of their co-religionists, inculcated not least by religious institutions and reinforced by religious appeals. And it would be mad to see Israeli wish to dominate Jerusalem as driven by purely 'security' motives, without any element of religious ones. Many other 'religious' movements are basically national chauvinist ones too. So calling the Zionist movement religious is, despite the caveats, entirely mainstream and plausible.

  2. D.
    October 26, 2008, 3:11 pm

    "based above all on a view of the interests of their co-religionists,"

    But my point is that "co-religionist" isn't quite the right term. Richard Witty doesn't ask any theological questions before splashing about in the mikva. He just wants to know you're a landsman.

    I'm trying to draw a distinction between tribalism and religion. They're different things. (And in fact, Christianity and Islam teach that they are not just different but irreconcilably opposed.)

    But I take your point that secular behavior has its roots in religious teachings, and it's impossible to draw a sharp line between the two.

  3. samuel burke
    October 26, 2008, 6:31 pm

    "In other words, like Michael Moore he's very brave except in taking on the people related to the people who bankroll movies. Funny? Not really.

    not funny at all and rather pathetic at that….i cant wait till americans wake the hell up and take note of the elepahne in the room…financial meltdowns tend to do that.

    suppression never lasts forever.

  4. Todd
    October 26, 2008, 7:24 pm

    "suppression never lasts forever."

    Right. But American can't last forever, either. I wonder how each will end, and when?

  5. Michael Weis
    October 26, 2008, 8:43 pm

    Religulous was an hilarious and great movie.

  6. David Green
    October 26, 2008, 8:59 pm

    I think that the role of religion should be played down altogether, in terms of Israel or domestically. People like Maher are funny, but they avoid the central issues, and thus avoid the right to be taken seriously about politics. Just as Christian fundamentalism serves secular interests in this country, so does it in Israel–they can put a lid on settler Zionism anytime they want to. In fact, Washington can do it anytime it wants to. The people who run the world are rational and cruel, not fanatical and well-intentioned. I'm grateful for this post–I had no idea that Maher has such a double standard for Israel. It just confirms his shallowness. But, he's an entertainer.

  7. Ed
    October 26, 2008, 9:55 pm

    What are Maher’s motives for ridiculing Christianity and Islam? He professes to believe they are primitive, superstitious, bigoted, and the root cause of many problems. Would he say the same of Judaism? Doubtful. He would probably claim it is primarily an ethnicity, even though he knows it is an ethno-religion. So his motives are that he is a Judaic supremacist who has internalized the “right” of double-standards for Judaics. And he likely learned this supremacy by being acculturated to the Jewish/left-liberal culture of ridicule on the question of Christianity. The net result, again, makes him an operative of Zion, just like the net result of gentile left-liberals who ridicule and seek to undermine and destroy Christianity is that they are operatives of Zion, too.

    How many anti-religious, anti-Zionist left-liberal gentiles realize they are doing the bidding of the nation of Zion when they attack and undermine Christianity? Very few, because they are useful idiots, as are Christian Zionists, who, like the gentile left-liberals, don’t seem to realize they are being utilized by a supremacist ideology that has utter contempt and disdain for ALL gentiles irregardless of their politics or religion.

  8. D.
    October 26, 2008, 11:09 pm

    Phil wrote: "Moore did that whole 9/11 Bush movie without mentioning the Israel factor (although his views are well-known and came out in his General Motors movie)."

    I didn't know Moore had ever acknowledged the influence of Zionists. Can someone fill me in on what was said in his GM movie?

  9. D.
    October 27, 2008, 12:52 am

    I'm not sure if this info on Moore's career has been posted here before. It's from Blankfort's long 2006 IndyMedia interview:

    INTERVIEWER: It's not just Chomsky. Did you see Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 91"? Did you hear the word "Israel" mentioned in there?

    JEFFREY BLANKFORT: Michael Moore learned his lesson. Michael Moore, when he was much more svelte, when I first heard about him, he became editor of "Mother Jones," and he announced in advance that he was going to run a picture of a Palestinian fedayeen on the cover. Adam Hochshield the publisher of "Mother Jones" who was a Zionist, realized that this would be terrible . . .

  10. anon
    October 27, 2008, 9:07 am

    Excerpt from Larry King show aired on CNN 1-4-02:

    MAHER: This again, you know, I'm like the only guy on TV who defends Israel. The media is so biased.

    KING: You think they're anti-Israel?

    MAHER: Of course they are. They don't — because they don't understand what happened in that area of the world throughout the last century. They're occupied. That's a term that's just used on all newscasts. That territory is not occupied, OK? The term "occupied" refers to a country that used to be a country. There was no Palestinian Arab country, ever.

    KING: There was a Palestine, though.

    MAHER: Palestine. Do you know that at the 1939 World's Fair, there was a Palestinian exhibit. It was Jewish. It was a Zionist exhibit. The term Palestinian only refers to people who live in that part of the world. They are both Arab and Jew. It is as much the Jews' homeland as the Arabs'.

    KING: They are cousins, too.

    MAHER: They are cousins. And that's true if you've ever been to the mall and bought something. But when that land was partitioned in 1947 and the U.N. said, OK, fellow, you are going to have to share it. The Jews said OK, and the Arabs said, no, we'd rather try to wipe you out.

    And right now, we live in a situation where the Jews could wipe out the Arabs in two seconds if they wanted. They have the means. They don't. Do you think if the Arabs, you think if they had the atom bomb, that the state of Israel would last? How long would it last? One minute.

    KING: But America should try to broker something here, right?

    MAHER: They should. And it's not that Israel is blameless. They shouldn't be building settlements and lots of stuff. But basically, that situation is not presented in the American media.

    KING: Why do you think the media would be anti-Israel?

    MAHER: They're not anti-Israel, they just don't know what happened there. And it's a lot easier to take the side of the underdog. You know? I saw a report on the news just the other day, a Palestinian girl who said, you know, I can't get through the checkpoint, and I only have my books, and the Israeli soldiers are so mean. Well, yeah, but that's because a lot of your brothers are blowing up their pizza parlors. Sorry.

    KING: So you think — because for a long time, Israel and the media in the United States had a relationship like they were intertwined. Palestinians had almost no voice in America media in the '60s and '70s.

    MAHER: Well…

    KING: It changed.

    MAHER: It changed. It changed. And what I think people forget is that it is also the only democracy. It's not about a religious situation. It's a democracy, Israel, it's the only one in that part of the world, by the way. And we've never sent a soldier to defend Israel. We've sent our troops and our planes and our bombs to defend Muslims in Bosnia and in Somalia, and we certainly freed a country called Afghanistan recently

  11. Todd
    October 27, 2008, 1:28 pm

    In one of the links Maher talks about Israelis making the desert bloom. From what I saw, it is Gentile European and American teens and twenty-somethings along with a few Druze who make the desert bloom. I'm not sure what the Sabras did after they dropped us off to tend their fields and animals.

  12. Judy
    October 28, 2008, 7:01 am

    With a surname like Maher (pronounced ma-hair, NOT "mar"), I suspect Mr. Bill has some Arabic ancestry he's trying very hard to deny.

    I'm continually surprised that he's never asked about this publicly.

  13. Demetrios
    October 28, 2008, 11:09 am

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    Israel could end this war tomorrow, by giving up their narcissistic, "be-the-better-man" mitzvah posturing. It's their refusal to fight dirty and go scorched-earth on the Muslims that perpetuates the cycle of violence.

    Also, as a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, I'm pissed off that we got a free pass too!

  14. jerry
    October 28, 2008, 11:19 am

    "In other words, like Michael Moore he's very brave except in taking on the people related to the people who bankroll movies."

    Damn. The International Jewish Conspiracy has been late sending me my checks again.

    In other words, fuck you Phil for posting this racist crap.

  15. anon
    October 28, 2008, 11:44 am

    Jerry, pls wipe your ass once in a while.

  16. jerry
    October 28, 2008, 11:49 am

    But anon, I so enjoy your tonguing me! Do you need a 10 minute break?

  17. Farker
    October 28, 2008, 12:13 pm

    This is not on Fark's politics page

    link to forums.fark.com

  18. Farker
    October 28, 2008, 12:14 pm

    not = now
    /typo

  19. MediaMonitor
    October 28, 2008, 1:18 pm

    Judging by the contributions of Demetrios/jerry, the readers at Fark are of an unusually high intellectual caliber.

  20. Fernando Narcos
    October 28, 2008, 3:57 pm

    Hey moron,Zionism is NOT about religion.It's about not being slaughtered by assholes named Weiss again.

  21. MediaMonitor
    October 28, 2008, 5:42 pm

    Make that Demetrios/jerry/Fernando.

  22. Josh
    October 30, 2008, 6:33 pm

    You're ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

    He was nice to everybody he made fun of in the film, with the exception of ONE MAN. The NK anti-Zionist. He didn't even let him talk, he walked out himself, I don't know why he even put that in the film, as if he didn't know that makes himself look like an ass.

  23. Your Mom
    December 22, 2008, 5:35 am

    Maher is a traitor Nazi-jew puppet.

  24. joe nahhas
    January 29, 2009, 7:04 pm

    Bill The sissy Maher
    Why Bill does not take on real crooks?
    crooks with PHD's and Noble Prizes at Harvard MIT Caltech who teach at PHD level time travel and that his grandpas were apes
    How many Apes beside Bill Maher weeded through time travel?

    E=mc²/2
    2009 is the end of Einstein's space-jail of time and Fraud symbol E=mc²
    [email protected]
    Time is not a structure like space to allow space-to time-back to space jumping claimed by Physicists regardless of what physicists have to say about it because Physics is a business and not necessarily science or scientific and like every business it comes with fraud and fraud is Einstein's space-time (x, y, z, it) continuum that led to fraud symbol E=mc² and yes I am saying that 109 years of Nobel prize winners physics and physicists are all wrong and space-time physics is based on scientific fraud. When "results" expected and "No" discovery, Physicists rigged Physics for grant money since the start of the industrial revolution. Physics today is at least 51 % fraud!
    r ——————>>Exp (ì w t) ———->> S=r Exp (ì wt) Nahhas' Equation
    Orbit——–>> Orbit light sensing——>> Visual Orbit; Exp = Exponential
    Particle —->> light sensing of moving objects———— >> Wave
    Newton———>>light sensing———->> Quantum
    Quantum = Newton x Visual Effects
    Quantum – Newton = Relativistic = Optical Illusions
    E (Energy by definition) = mv²/2 = mc²/2; if v = c
    m = mass; v= speed; c= light speed; w= angular velocity; t= time
    S = r Exp (ì w t) = r [cos (wt) + ì sin (wt)] Visual effects
    P = visual velocity = change of visual location
    P = d S/d t = v Exp (ì w t) + ì w r Exp (ì w t)
    = (v + ì w r) Exp (ì w t) = v (1 + ì) Exp (ì w t) = visual speed; v = wr
    E (visual energy= what you see in lab) = m p²/2; replace v by p in E = mv²/2
    = m p²/2 = m v²/2 (1 + ì) ² Exp (2ì wt)
    = mv²/2 (2ì) [cosine (2wt) + ì sine (2wt)]
    =ì mv² [1 - 2 sine² (wt) + 2 ì sine (wt) cosine (wt)];v = speed; c = light speed
    wt = π/2
    E (visual) = ìmv² (1 – 2 + 0)
    E (visual) = -ì mc² ≡ mc² (absolute value;-ì = negative complex unit) If v = c
    w t = π/4
    E (visual) = imv² [1-1 +ỉ] =-mc²; v = c
    wt =-π/4+ỉln2/2; 2ỉ wt=-ỉπ/2 – ln2
    Exp (2i wt) = Exp [-ỉπ/2] Exp [ln(1/2)]=[-ỉ (1/2)]
    E (visual) = imv² (-ỉ/2) =1/2mc² v = c
    Conclusion: E = mc² is the visual Illusion of E = mc²/2 [email protected]. All rights reserved.
    PS: In case of E=mc² claims to be rest energy claims then
    E=1/2m (m v + m' r) ² = (1/2m) (m' r) ²; v = 0
    E = (1/2m) (mc) ²; m' r =mc
    E=mc²/2

  25. Anonymous
    October 26, 2008, 12:27 pm

    "And with NPR's handwringing over the Christian right, even as they ignore the Religious Left, as I sometimes call the Is Lob."

    And you're an idiot when you do this. The phrase "religious left" already has a well-accepted meaning–it means groups like Jim Wallis's "Sojourners" community or Michael Lerner's "Tikkun" and these groups are both very critical of Israel's behavior, if not as critical as some who comment here. (Of course the people here are a weird mixture of pro-Zionist rightwing anti-Arab bigots, mainstream Zionists, anti-Zionist leftists, and rightwing racist Jew-hating bigots, plus maybe some other groups.)

    Nobody except Phil here calls the Israel lobby the religious left, but go right ahead and use a term that guarantees confusion, if that's what you want to do.

  26. Ed
    October 26, 2008, 1:21 pm

    Bill Maher and Larry Charles, the Jewish director of the film, were on Charlie Rose, doing they’re usual holier-atheist-than-though shtick, but at the same time copping to being Jewish. The nation of Zion operating in the diaspora seems to create two archetypes: dedicated ethno-religious Jews to maintain the tribal cohesion, and dedicated poseur “atheist” Jews like Maher and his director to attack, undermine and murder when possible (ie the Jewish Bolsheviks) competing religions, tribes and ethnicities. Maher is an operative for the nation of Zion, as are most “anti-religious” Judaic left-liberals like him. Gentiles who fall for their shtick are as dumb as those who fell for Communism, and likely to suffer the same fate.

  27. otto
    October 26, 2008, 1:24 pm

    The Jewish right is a better match for the Christian right. It's a straightforward characterisation of their hateful objectives. The element of confusion then moves to why they are well organised in America's 'liberal' political party, the Democrats. But that says more about the Democrats and US liberalism, which has always accommodated powerful lobbies, and certainly does not turn the Jewish right into some sort of left-wing.

  28. anon
    October 26, 2008, 1:31 pm

    I do subscribe to HBO special programs. Maher is acute in his analyis except when it come to Israel Uber Alles. While he's the banner banner of French Enlightenment for the rest, he's a fascist for Israel on the right.

    He's like most mischling, all the way for the underdog, way past when they are no longer the underdog.

    He's not very bright.

    Or simply biased in the most common sensical way.

    Either way, he's as much part of the problem as one who'd like to solve it.

  29. D.
    October 26, 2008, 1:36 pm

    "… but go right ahead and use a term that guarantees confusion, if that's what you want to do."

    It also confuses by treating Zionism is a religious movement. Like Bill Maher himself, most Jewish Zionists are committed secularists. We're dealing with a political ideology here, just like communism or fascism.

    "Religious" may be rhetorically useful to scare off the crowd who are already frightened of religion, but it misses the core of the problem and only postpones the real discussion that has to take place.

  30. D.
    October 26, 2008, 1:42 pm

    I think Phil is reluctant to concede the depths of the racism he detects underlying modern secular Jewish identity, and so dresses it up as everyone's favorite bogeyman, "religion."

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