6 of the Most Outrageous and Ignorant Celebrity Rants Supporting Israel’s Assault on Gaza
Bill Maher live at The Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee in 2013.
Photo Credit: Matt McClenahan/Flickr
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The Israeli assault on Gaza has sparked intense, and often vitriolic, debate across the U.S., and the entertainment business is no exception. A number of Hollywood celebrities have come out in protest of the bombardment of the people of Gaza by Israeli air strikes and artillery, a signal that the mainstream discourse in the U.S., Israel’s number-one ally, is shifting. But the opposing side has also come out swinging.
Pro-Israel celebrities have voiced support for the assault, lambasting other stars in the same business for critiquing the state they support. The high-profile back and forth is a window into how polarizing Israel has become after decades of largely uncritical support in the U.S.
Here are six pro-Israel celebrities who have spoken up in recent days.
1. Joan Rivers. This American actress and comedian delivered what celebrity news website TMZ.com called a “rant” in support of Israel over the weekend.
Speaking to a TMZ reporter who caught her at an airport, Rivers slammed U.S. media coverage of Israel’s attack on Gaza for being too sympathetic to Palestinians. She said “BBC should be ashamed of themselves. And CNN should be ashamed of themselves.” But what was even more striking was her calls to “wipe” Gaza out.
“If New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe them out,” said Rivers. (The analogy only works if New York occupied and put New Jersey under a crippling air, land and sea blockade.) Asked about civilian casualties in Gaza, Rivers echoed Israeli army claims by saying, “don’t put your goddamn things in private homes! I’m sorry, don’t you dare put weapons stashes in private homes.”
Rivers also unleashed a torrent of criticism at Selena Gomez, the pop star who sent out an Instagram post praying for the people of Gaza. “Let’s see if she can spell Palestinian,” she said.
2. Howard Stern. Long a supporter of Israel, Stern did not hold back when a caller on his radio show said that Israel was to blame for the current crisis. His profanity-filled rant on SiriusXM went viral.
“I’m so tired of the bullshit. If you’re anti-Israel than you’re anti-America. It’s the only democracy over there, it’s the only friend we have who’s willing to fight and stand up for what’s right.” said Stern. He also lashed out at Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who is one of the most prominent supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel over human rights violations. Stern said Waters should “shut his mouth.”
3. Bill Maher. The comedian is a darling of liberals, but when it comes to Israel, the host of HBO’s “Real Time” is all for war.
Maher kicked up a storm of controversy over a Twitter message he sent that read: “Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who's trying to kill u — u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her.”
On his show, he agreed with conservative guest, Daily Caller writer Jamie Weinstein, on the Gaza conflict. “If it’s your father, your brother, your uncle who’s firing those rockets into Israel, who’s fault is it really? Do you really expect the Israelis not to retaliate?” said Maher. He also got in a crude anti-Muslim joke. “Jews have, I think, 155 Nobel Prizes, Muslims have two. That seems like kind of a big advantage for team Hebrew.”
4. Jon Voight. Speaking at a pro-Israel rally in Las Vegas, the Academy Award-winning actor said that President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry “do not really have Israel’s back covered as they say they do. Instead of telling Hamas to stop sending rockets into Israel aimed at its civilian population, they say Israel has to stop killing civilians. What a travesty of justice.”