By Liam Quinn
Published February 16, 2019
Bill Maher has come to the defense of freshman Democrat Ilhan Omar over her controversial Israel comments that resulted in many accusing her of anti-Semitism.
The liberal comic brought up the topic during a panel discussion on Friday’s night episode of his HBO show, Real Time.
House Democratic leaders on Monday roundly condemned Rep. Omar, D-Minn., for statements about supporters of Israel that were widely viewed as anti-Semitic.
Omar, in response, "unequivocally" apologized, while reaffirming the "problematic role" of lobbyists.
Maher, who is no stranger to creating a firestorm with his own comments, questioned why the Minnesota Democrat’s comments have ‘to be seen as anti-Semitic’.
“She was talking about the Jewish lobby AIPAC and said, ‘It’s all about the Benjamins,’” Maher said.
“Now, I probably don’t agree with her a lot about what she feels about Israel and Palestine, but I don’t know why this has to be seen as anti-Semitic.”
He continued: “Now, she may be anti-Semitic, but if I criticize Saudi Arabia, that doesn’t mean I’m an Islamophobe.”
The Atlantic’s David Frum replied, “it depends how,” before the show rolled onto another topic.
The comedian’s comments were the latest in a long line in response to Omar’s tweets this week, including calls for her resignation from President Donald Trump.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress,” Trump told reporters during a Cabinet meeting.
“I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the foreign affairs committee.”
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was "shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of 'Jewish money.'" Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., called the comments "deeply disappointing and disturbing."