OP-ED: Comedians understand the Middle East better than experts

By MITCHELL BARD

Nearly 20 years ago, comedian Larry Miller (not Dennis Miller, as some believe) explained the Mideast conflict better than any expert. He said: “Five hundred million Arabs; five million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals.”

Miller reminded people of the history that two-state advocates ignore, such as the fact that Gaza was occupied by Egypt, and the West Bank was controlled by Jordan. Now the Palestinians say they want their own country. “No, they don’t,” observed Miller. “They could’ve had their own country any time in the last 30 years, especially … at Camp David. But if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and chambers of commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living. That’s no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew haters in the region want: Israel.”

Just in time for Passover, Jackie Mason also had some words of wisdom. In an interview with Brigit Grant for the Jewish News, Mason noted that “Jews are often the biggest supporters and unwitting allies of antisemitism. If you go to any university today you’ll find a ‘Professor Silverstein’ preaching about intersectionality, being ‘woke,’ and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”

Mason observed that “all you ever hear is if only Israel didn’t do this or that the Palestinians would act differently” and suggested that those professors and BDS advocates should contemplate “what would happen IF the Palestinians… Didn’t fire rockets into towns in Israel; Acknowledged the Jews’ right to exist in their ancestral homeland; Remembered with the Arab states and the rest of the world that they rejected the partition plan in 1947 and invaded with five armies; Remember the hundreds of thousands of Sephardic Jews who were ejected from Arab countries and sent into exile;” and many other facts.

 Then there’s Bill Maher, who said of the BDS movementafter Israel banned Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-MI.) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN.) from visiting the country: “It’s a bulls**t purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class.”

Maher quoted one of the BDS movement’s leaders, Omar Barghouti, who said, “No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, would ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” Maher added: “So that’s where that comes from, this movement, someone who doesn’t even want a Jewish state at all. Somehow this side never gets presented in the American media.”

“Congresswoman Omar has said things like, ‘It’s all about the Benjamins,’ ‘Israel has hypnotized the world,’ ‘May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,’” Maher added. “She apologized for it, but it’s out there: Jews control the world, control the money. I can see why they don’t get a hero’s welcome.”

Typical of BDS hypocrites who believe the First Amendment entitles them to attack Jews and Israel, but does not apply to anyone who criticizes them, Tlaib called for a boycott of Maher’s show.

In one of the best ripostes to the preachers of intersectionality and their claim that Jews are among those who enjoy “white privilege,” Maher said, “It’s predicated on this notion, I think — it’s very shallow thinking — that the Jews in Israel [are] mostly white, and the Palestinians are browner, so they must be innocent and correct, and the Jews must be wrong. As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied.”

Maher, who loathes President Trump, gave him credit for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: “I hate to agree with Donald Trump … it doesn’t happen often, but I do. I don’t know why Israel — it has been their capital since 1949, it is where their government is. They’ve won all the wars thrown against them. I don’t understand why they don’t get to have their capital where they want.”

When New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg, appearing on his show “Real Time,” replied, “When you win a war you don’t get to take the other side’s land,” Maher responded, “Actually, you do, especially because [the Israelis] were attacked.” He added, “They were attacked more than once and they took land in those wars that they won and there has been peace offers on the table ever since to give part of that land back.”

Maher also seems to understand better than the foreign policy mavens the problem with the two-state solution. He asked why it should be up to the Israelis to come up with a plan, since anything they propose is rejected and then they are blamed for making it “impossible.” He said of the Palestinians, “the essential thing that is making the two-state solution impossible is that one party is perpetually hostile, a coiled snake.”

When Goldberg ranted about the settlements and Palestinians having to go through checkpoints, Maher schooled her: “But this is always what happens. We talk about what happened as a result; we don’t look at the beginning of it. Like the Israelis just put up those checkpoints for no reason. They put up those checkpoints because there was an intifada and they were having bombings every day – a pizza parlor or a bus stop was getting blown up, that’s why they built it, not for no reason.”

Goldberg persisted in arguing how bad life is in the West Bank, and Maher reminded her of what so many two-state advocates ignore. “Israel gave back Gaza and what was the result?” he said. “Did they use the funds to build schools and hospitals? No. They used them to build tunnels to get weapons and they invited Hamas in to shell Israel across the border.”

Maybe it’s time to replace the Arabists at the State Department with comedians.

(Mitchell Bard, executive director of AICE and Jewish Virtual Library, has written 24 books including “The Arab Lobby,” “Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews” and “After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.”)

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