No, Bill Maher, Netanyahu’s campaign was indeed racist

Citing example after example of racism and stoking ethnic tensions in U.S. history, the HBO host finds a way to justify Netanyahu’s warning that Arabs are voting.

American television personality Bill Maher addressed Israeli elections on his show a few days ago, specifically, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election-day warning that Arabs are voting en masse.

Maher, who has made a career shrugging off the constraints of politically correct discourse on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” argues that playing the race card in order to galvanize one’s base is an acceptable political tactic.

How do we know? Well, because it’s happened in the United States — so it must be okay.

“Like Reagan didn’t win [presidential] races with racism? Like Nixon, like Bush? They didn’t play the race card?” Maher posits. If those guys did it, what could be wrong?

But that was only the beginning.

Rejecting his own hypothetical in which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney warns of black voters, Maher continued: “I think that would be a good analogy if America 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 think I see where you’re going, Bill. Would the United States allow its own citizens to vote if they were of the same race as a country that the U.S. recently fought? It certainly has done some ugly things we don’t like to bring up very often, but at the end of the day the arc of history bends toward justice, or something like that, and America is different today — right?

Not so much on Real Talk.

“I don’t know,” Maher continued. “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 there you have it. In an attempt to justify electoral race-baiting by Israel’s prime minister, Bill Maher suggests that arbitrarily putting over 100,000 American citizens in internment camps — on the basis of race — in response to a threat that never materialized was somehow justified?

When the world noticed Netanyahu’s racist campaigning last week I wrote about how Americans should rethink the idea that the bonds tying together Netanyahu’s Israel and the United States are cemented with shared values. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe they do share some values after all.

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