Bill Maher clashes with Jewish actress saying antisemitism comes from the right: 'No, it doesn't'

He also objected to Sandra Bernhard saying Benjamin Netanyahu is 'to blame for everything'

Comedian Bill Maher clashed with Jewish actress and comedian Sandra Bernhard over whether the current rise in antisemitism comes mostly from the left or the right in the United States.

Bernhard, who discussed the topic with Maher during a recent episode of his "Club Random" podcast, argued that antisemitism has been spreading thanks to conservatives. 

"The left-wing is even worse," Maher said, rejecting the claim and noting that its obsession with race and identity politics has fueled the anti-Jewish hate spreading on American college campuses.

The debate began with Bernhard talking about her Jewish heritage and how her grandparents fled to America from a pogrom in Russia. She noted that despite everyone being "up in arms" about being Jewish in the wake of the Oct. 7 terror attacks, she hasn’t felt persecuted.


Bill Maher talks about new book

HBO host and comedian Bill Maher clashed with actress Sandra Bernhard over the origins of the current rise in antisemitism. (NBC/Screenshot)

"I like being Jewish. I go to Shabbat, I do my thing. But everybody’s suddenly like, ‘I’m Jewish, and I’m being [persecuted].‘ I don’t feel persecuted," she said.

Maher, an atheist whose mother was Jewish, acknowledged her perspective but added, "There is an antisemitism afoot in this country which we haven’t had in a very long time."

"I tell you where it comes from, it comes from the right-wing, the extreme –," she said before Maher interjected. 

"No, it doesn’t," Maher said. "The right-wing has the ‘Jews will not replace us’ nonsense. The left-wing is even worse."

"What? How so?" she asked.

Maher responded, "That is coming down from elite colleges who see everything only through a racial lens. They are stupid. They don’t know history. They think everything is about colonizers and racists, and how awful America is."

He continued, "And America has done some bad things but to drag Israel into this as the stand-in for every bad thing White people ever did – this is not any more complicated to most of these college kids than the Palestinians are brown and poor and the Israelis are rich and White."

After mentioning how Israelis are being branded as colonizers, he said, "None of this jives with the facts."


Bill Maher opening monologue

Comedian Bill Maher on the set of his HBO talk show. (Screenshot/HBO)

Bernhard didn’t push back, but moved on to criticize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"But can we get on the same page and agree that Benjamin Netanyahu is a s--- disturber and needs to be yanked out of Israel? He is not good for Israel. He is not good for Jews. He has also contributed to the global mistrust – it shouldn’t be Jews, it’s Israelis," she said. "He is solidly to blame for everything that’s happening right now."

"He is so not to blame for everything that’s happening. That’s the fault of the Palestinian people and the religion of Islam, which gets lost in all of this," Maher responded.

Bernhard expressed confusion over that point, prompting Maher to add, "Mostly to blame is Hamas."

He continued, "Right now is happening because for years Hamas took aid money and instead of buying food with it and building buildings and hospitals, they bought bombs and made tunnels."

Bill Maher and Sandra Bernhard

Bernhard expressed confusion over that point, prompting Maher to add, "Mostly to blame is Hamas." (Screenshot/Club Random Podcast)

Hinting at the Israeli leader, the guest said, "Guess who supported Hamas?" 

"Correct. Yes, you’re right. For strategic reasons, which probably were, in retrospect, not wrong. But it wasn’t like Netanyahu was working against the interests – in his mind – of his own people," Maher said. 

Bernhard shot back, "He is working in the interest of only one person, himself, because he doesn’t want to go to prison."

"I don’t believe that either," Maher replied, although he predicted Netanyahu will most likely be out of office soon. 

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