Defending Israel’s policies can have a corrosive effect on your politics. Bill Maher, who is thought to be a progressive, defends Netanyahu’s last minute appeal to Jewish voters to get out to the polls so as to counter Palestinians “heading to the polls in droves,” by questioning whether the statement was racist and saying that if the U.S. were in Israel’s position it would do much worse: deny Palestinians vote and maybe “put them in camps.”
A lot of people were angry at the way Netanyahu won this election. They said it was racist that he said, at the last minute ‘Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls.’
And I guess that is racist, in the strictest sense, he’s bringing race into the equation. But, first of all, like Reagan didn’t win races with racism? Or Nixon? Or Bush? Like they didn’t play the race card? Reagan opened his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, remember that? Remember Willie Horton?
I heard a lot of commentators here say, it would been as if Mitt Romney, in 2012, on the eve of the election said, ‘black voters are coming out in droves to the polls.’ But I don’t know if that’s really a great analogy. I think that would be a good analogy if America was a country that was surrounded by 12 or 13 completely black nations who had militarily attacked us many times, including as recently as last year. Would we let them vote? I don’t know. When we were attacked by the Japanese, we didn’t just not let them vote, we rounded them up and put them in camps.
And I thought the Willie Horton ad of 27 years ago and the Japanese internment of WW2 were bad things that the U.S. learned from! That is the error in Maher’s thought: he is saying that Israel has a right to recapitulate all the mistakes of the west. There was slavery in the U.S. too; I suppose that justifies the occupation, in Bill Maher’s view.