There are good reasons I’m incapable of watching Bill Maher any more — I’d have to rip the big screen off the wall and throw it through that expensive big picture window in our living room. This week, he had Bari Weiss on, because of course those two are made for each other.
“This week we opened the American embassy in Jerusalem which did cause a riot, as predicted, and of course people are blaming both sides,” said Maher.
During the embassy opening, a taunting event all but designed to inflame tensions, Israeli forces brutally massacred at least 58 Palestinians protesting along the Gaza border—including women and children. Many were killed by sniper fire hundreds of yards away. Weiss, however, saw no connection between the protests and the embassy launch.
“Bill, I love you, but the riots were not caused by the embassy move,” said Weiss. “They’re not linked. When Hamas attacked Israel in 2008, when Hamas attacked Israel in 2012, when it attacked Israel in 2014, the embassy was in Tel Aviv all of those times… They intentionally moved up the day so that it would coincide with the day of the embassy move so that we would all be disgusted and heartbroken when we saw this horrible split-screen of Ivanka Trump, looking like she was at a country club, next to poor, desperate people dying in Gaza.”
The first line set me back. How can you blame both sides when one side is being gunned down by snipers, and the other is armed, at best, with rocks? When one side is killing children?
But Bari Weiss managed to top it. How horrible that the Palestinian people planned their protest strategically? Why didn’t they schedule it for a day when it wouldn’t make Ivanka Trump look bad?
Talk about missing the whole point…it reminds me of the furious complaints when Black Lives Matter protests inconvenience people. How dare they march where people would notice! Couldn’t they just march down streets in the middle of nowhere that weren’t full of busy white people trying to get to a football game?
Just remember that Martin Luther King Jr. also protested strategically.
Let us remember not just King’s words, but also his actions. King was in his 20s when he helped coordinate the Montgomery bus boycott, which lasted more than a year and brought the city to its knees. Too often today, we hear that protests for justice and equality are being done “wrong.” They’re too intrusive; they’re too loud. But one wonders how the country can laud King, whose efforts shut down public transportation in an entire city, but chastise Colin Kaepernick (also in his 20s) for his peaceful protest of taking a knee at a football game.
It was King’s desire that we each examine our role in the fight for civil liberties, justice and equality. It is not enough to consider ourselves simply “allies” in the fight. Instead, we must put our heads down, listen more, and do the work of improving the lives of a marginalized community to which we don’t belong. Then, and only then, might someone in that community determine that we are worthy of the term.
“Accomplice,” not “ally,” should be the goal. An ally is one who acknowledges there is a problem. An accomplice is one who acknowledges there is a problem and then commits to stand in the gap for those less fortunate than themselves, without hope or expectation of reward. An ally is passive; an accomplice is active.
When you’re more concerned about exposing the superficiality of Princess Ivanka and Slumlord Jared then you are about people being shot in the street, you’re being an accomplice, all right — to the wrong side.