Bill Maher Says Palestinians Being Pushed Out Was ‘Unjust’ but Israel Isn’t Going Anywhere: ‘Get Used to It’ | Video

Maher runs through a history of conflicts and colonization around the world, adding, “No one knows more about being pushed off land than the Jews”

On “Real Time” on Friday night, host Bill Maher’s final episode for the season, Maher explored the history that led up to the current Israel-Hamas war. He stated that “no one knows more about being pushed off land than the Jews.” He said that it was “unjust” that “a single Arab family was forced to move” as Israel was established, but that populations of people having to leave their homes is “not rare.”

Maher added, “[Israel is] one of the most powerful countries in the world with a $500 billion economy, the world’s second-largest tech sector after Silicon Valley, and nuclear weapons. They’re here, they like their bagel with schmear, get used to it.”

Maher began the segment talking about a certain common December sight. He said, “I see a lot of nativity scenes when I’m out, as you always do before Christmas, and I can’t help thinking about where that manger really is.”

“It’s in the West Bank, on Palestinian land controlled by the Palestinian Authority,” he continued. “In 1950, the little town of Bethlehem was 86% Christian. Now, it’s overwhelmingly Muslim. And that’s my point tonight: things change.”

“To 2.3 billion Christians, there can be no more sacred site than where their savior was born, but they don’t have it anymore. And yet, no crusader army has geared up to take it back,” Maher added. “Things change: countries, boundaries, empires.”

The talk show host went on to add that Byzantium became Constantinople, which became Istanbul, and said, “Not everybody liked it, but you can’t keep arguing the call forever. The Irish had the entire island to themselves, but the British were starting an empire and, well, the Irish lost their temper.”

“They blew each other up over it for 30 years, but eventually, everybody comes to an accommodation… except the Palestinians,” Maher continued.

Bethlehem has fallen under the control of the Palestinian Authority since the Oslo Accords of 1946. The city is holy in Islam, Christianity and Judaism. For Muslims, both Jesus and his mother Mary are important prophets; for Christians, the city is where Jesus was born; for Jews, it is the birthplace of King David.

While it’s true that Bethlehem’s population of Palestinian Christians has declined in recent years (the group made up 5% of the city’s population in the 1970s and less than 2% of it by the mid-2010s), some insist this is largely due to the difficulties that come with living in Palestine in the first place. The Christian population in Israel has grown steadily in the last 20 years.

Maher also ran down times throughout history when one group of people have been forced to move from their homeland. Maher said, “After World War II, 12 million ethnic Germans got shoved out of Russia and Poland and Czechoslovakia, because being German had become kind of unpopular.”

“A million Greeks were shoved out of Turkey in 1923. A million Ghanaians out of Nigeria in 1983. Almost a million French out of Algeria in 1962. Nearly a million Syrian refugees moved to Germany eight years ago. Was that a perfect fit?” he added.

“And no one knows more about being pushed off land than the Jews, including being almost wholly kicked out of every Arab country they once lived in. Yes, TikTok fans: ethnic cleansing happened both ways,” Maher said.

Maher went on to say, “Nobody was a bigger colonizer than the Muslim army that swept out of the Arabian desert and took over much of the world in a single century.”

He added, “There were deals on the table to share the land called Palestine, in 1947, ’93, ’95, ’98, 2000, 2008, and East Jerusalem could have been the capital of a Palestinian state, that today might look more like Dubai than Gaza.”

For background, following World War II, the Soviet Red Army forced out 12 million ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe, 11.5 million of which were pushed out of Poland and Czechoslovakia. In 1923, Muslims in Greece were moved to Turkey and Greek Orthodox Christians moved back to Greece. While the intent was peaceful, the exchange is now seen as a template for apartheid around the world.

As for Ghanaians in Nigera, the Nigerian government rounded up approximately 2 million undocumented immigrants, the majority of whom were from Ghana, and deported them in 1983. At the time, Nigeria was in the throes of an economic crisis related to the country’s fuel industry.

Movement of the French from Algeria in 1962 was a result of the seven-year war between the two countries — Algeria gained independence from France that year. The Europeans who were in Algeria had the option to take Algerian citizenship, and 1 million opted to leave completely.

Syrians have moved to Germany as a result of the country’s civil war. Germany hosts the most refugees of any country in Europe.

Approximately 820,000 Jews have been forced to flee a number of Arab countries since the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the Six-Day War in 1967. Of those, nearly 600,000 moved to Israel, where they were absorbed into the population.

Palestinians have been repeatedly moved from their homes since Israel’s inception in 1948. The country, which at the time was home to 650,000 Jews and well over 1 million Arabs, was created by the United Nations in 1948. This was in line with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which encouraged a Jewish national home in Palestine. The British, who held control of Palestine until 1948, opposed the creation of both a Jewish state and an Arab state, seeking to limit the number of Jewish immigrants who could enter the region.

Watch Bill Maher’s entire monologue in the video above.

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