'Deeply Disturbing': Rashida Tlaib Condemned by World Jewish Congress for Suggesting Bill Maher Boycott

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) condemned Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib this weekend for suggesting a boycott of Bill Maher's HBO show after the comedian denounced the international movement to boycott Israel.

In a press release, WJC's president Ronald Lauder criticized Tlaib's support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and called her recent suggestion to boycott Maher "deeply disturbing."

"It is outrageous that Tlaib, who has repeatedly deployed anti-Semitic tropes, would promote the boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East and the one nation that fully respects human rights and guarantees freedom for Muslims, Christian and Jews," Lauder said. "Serious questions need to be asked about Tlaib's motivation in supporting the extremist BDS Movement, which is allied with terrorists and is not shy about its ultimate aim of destroying Israel."

Tlaib urged a boycott of Maher on Saturday after the HBO host called the BDS movement a "bulls*** purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class" during his show Real Time on Friday. It is "very shallow thinking that the Jews in Israel, mostly white, and the Palestinians are browner, so they must be innocent and correct, and the Jews must be wrong," he added.

In response, Tlaib suggested that "folks should boycott his show." "I am tired of folks discrediting a form of speech that is centered on equality and freedom," the Michigan congresswoman tweeted. "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."

Lauder on Sunday compared Tlaib's boycott suggestion to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. "The WJC fully supports the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech and has borne witness to the historic horrors associated with boycotts and the suppression of free speech," he said. "Adolf Hitler infamously boycotted Jewish-owned businesses and worked to ban those in the entertainment and media industries who were critical of the Nazi party."

Lauder added: "After annexing Austria in 1938, Hitler quickly targeted for censure the Kabarett satirical reviews renowned for their expression of independent thought. We Jews know what boycotts can lead to."

WJC's remarks come after Tlaib, the first Palestinian American woman in Congress, and her fellow freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar were declined entry into Israel because of their recent remarks about the country and their support for the BDS movement.

Rashida Tlaib
File photo: U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, (D-MI) (L) testifies before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on "The Trump Administration's Child Separation Policy: Substantiated Allegations of Mistreatment." July 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty