Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., suggested Saturday that viewers boycott comedian Bill Maher’s HBO talk show after he devoted a segment of Friday’s program to bashing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, calling it a “bulls— purity test.”
“Maybe folks should boycott his show,” said Tlaib, who went on to compare criticism of the BDS movement to the controversy surrounding boycotts of South Africa’s apartheid regime in the 1970s and 1980s.
“I am tired of folks discrediting a form of speech that is centered on equality and freedom,” the lawmaker continued. “This is exactly how they tried to discredit & stop the boycott to stand up against the apartheid in S. Africa. It didn’t work then and it won’t now.”
Maher’s segment came one day after the Israeli government said it would deny entry to Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for their support of the BDS movement following an appeal from President Trump.
Maher opined that Omar’s past comments, in which she seemed to suggest that “Jews control the world, control the money,” might have played a part in “why they don’t get a hero’s welcome.”
Tlaib’s tweet came in response to a post by Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan, who criticized “Liberal” Maher for “railing against BDS, Palestinians and Omar/Tlaib with an all-white panel featuring no Palestinians, no Arabs, no Muslims, no people of colour.”
On Friday, the Israeli government said Tlaib could visit her relatives in the West Bank, including her 99-year-old grandma, on humanitarian grounds. But then the Interior Ministry released a letter purportedly signed by Tlaib in which she promised not to advocate boycotts during her visit. That appears to have lead to her decision to cancel the visit.
“Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart,” she said in a statement. “Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me — it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wolfsohn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.