Rula Jebreal, Newsweek‘s very own Italian-Palestinian foreign policy analyst and a self-described “secular Muslim,” appeared on HBO‘s Real Time with Bill Maher, in which she gets into a heated altercation with host Bill Maher over his invitation to Berkeley University where he is supposed to go and issue his commencement speech to the school’s students who are graduating from the university. Of course a number of Berkeley students set up a petition at Change.org to disinvite Maher over his bigoted, anti-Muslim comments which he is known for making. This comes on the heels of his assertions he made about Islam to actor Ben Affleck and author and blogger Sam Harris on his show, who were all in a heated debate with each other on whether or not the religion is a threat and made up of violent worshiping thugs.
Jebreal is an awful representative of the Muslim community. As Will Coley, the National Director of Muslims 4 Liberty, put it to me in private, on Real Time, she turned an entire debate into a “you’re-so-mean-to-Muslims” argument rather than arguing on the facts and merits of the spirituality and religiosity of the Muslim faith as well as the illogic of Maher’s bigoted view that all Muslims are wanna-be Jihadists and members of ISIS and want to forcibly convert everyone to Islam.
Maher ranted to the students of Berkeley in which he excoriated them for inviting and then disinviting him because of his bigoted views after his spat with Affleck on the show. Maher quotes religious Muslim scholar (and political commentator) Reza Azlan as having said in a HuffPost Live interview:
[Bill Maher’s] not a bigot. I know him.
(It’s interesting Azlan says this about Maher, when a month ago on CNN he referred to Maher as “not being very sophisticated” on Islam and “having facile arguments” about it.)
I don’t know about anyone else, but Maher was using generalizations about a particular religion which happens to be Islam. Isn’t that “the definition of bigotry” as Azlan pointed out on that CNN show?
It sounds like Azlan has done an about-face on this matter because of his cozy relationship with Maher (who is more or less a Zionist comedian because of his militant Jewish heritage and atheist beliefs).
Furthermore, Jebreal and the “heated” exchange that transpired during the course of the so-called “debate” on the program shows how idiotic her rationale is and what a bigot Maher is:
Of course, the entire unfriendly exchange didn’t end there. At the near end of the Real Time Overtime after-show, Maher and Jebreal kept it going at full blast:
The anti-freedom and anti-Islam machine continues unabated with Maher, Harris, and their paternalistic thugs at the helm.
Update (11-05-2014): Here are Rula Jebreal and Bill Maher “making up” backstage after the show: