How to win the debate: censor those who speak the truth.
When Palestinian activist and author Rula Jebreal compared Bill Maher to an anti-Semite on Friday for his oft stated views on Islam, the TV host defended his position, asking if a gay bar can be found in the Gaza Strip.
The panel of experts on Real Time with Bill Maher were discussing the controversy surrounding Maher’s upcoming commencement speech at University of California, Berkeley which is opposed by some students who called for its cancellation.
Jebreal claimed she is “all for” freedom of speech but asked, “would you accept an openly anti-Semitic person to give a commencement speech to Jewish students? I actually would not accept that.”
Maher interjected saying, “I rather resent the idea that I’m comparable to an anti-Semite. All I’ve ever done was basically read facts.”
“You’re comparing all Muslims in one pot,” Jebreal shot back. “I am actually a secular Muslim and when you talk about Islam in a certain way, I have to tell you, it’s offensive sometimes and some people feel threatened.”
Maher then asked her, “Can you be gay in Gaza? And live?” to which Jebreal responded, “Yes you can? Absolutely you can… You can be gay in Gaza. I traveled the Middle East.”
Maher replied, “Is there a gay bar in Gaza?”
Without answering the question, Jebreal continued: “You are comparing the majority of Muslim states with Saudi Arabia or with ISIS.”
“The Muslim community in this country, you are treating them like fifth columnists and they are not,” she claimed. “The Muslim community feel threatened and feel offended and they are underrepresented in the media and underrepresented in political avenues. You never invite them here [on your show] on these issues.”
“‘Never invite them here’? You’re here… They’re here all the time,” Maher responded.
When Jebreal then challenged Maher to a “serious conversation” about Islam, the host took offense: “Every time I say something you don’t like it’s not a serious conversation or I’m a bigot. I’m sorry,” he said. “In your world, either I say exactly what you want me to say or else I’m a bigot. And that just doesn’t work for me.”
The show’s debate about Islam began several weeks ago when actor Ben Affleck attended as a panelist and challenged the host regarding his views on radical Islam.