Maher answers this claim ably: “Jews weren’t oppressing anybody. There weren’t 5,000 militant Jewish groups. They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that Jews were at the bottom of it. There weren’t 10 Jewish countries in the world that were putting gay people to death just for being gay.”
Indeed, and no one is calling for or justifying genocide of Muslims.
Nonetheless, this is a very common claim. Not only Karen Armstrong, but also Jeffrey Goldberg, Reza Aslan, Muslim Brotherhood-linked Congressman Keith Ellison, Nicholas Kristof, and Canadian Muslim leader Syed Sohawardy, among many others, have repeated it.
Christopher Hitchens also took apart the central claim being made here when writing last year about the Islamic supremacist mega-mosque at Ground Zero: “‘Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s,’ Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like.”
The purpose of this claim is to intimidate people into thinking that criticism of Islamic supremacism leads to the concentration camps, and thus there must be no criticism of Islamic supremacism. The unstated assumption is that if one group was unjustly accused of plotting subversion and violence, and was viciously persecuted and massacred on the basis of those false accusations, then any group accused of plotting subversion and violence must be innocent, and any such accusation must be in service of preparing for their subversion and massacre. It is simply a method to foreclose on any criticism of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism.
“‘It’s beyond stupid’: Bill Maher responds to backlash against Islam views,” by Joanna Rothkopf, Salon, December 5, 2014 (thanks to Robert):
…On Karen Armstrong’s remarks that this “the sort of talk that led to concentration camps in Europe. The sorts of things that people were saying about Jews in the 30s and 40s.”
“It doesn’t sting because it’s beyond stupid. Jews weren’t oppressing anybody. There weren’t 5,000 militant Jewish groups. They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that Jews were at the bottom of it. There weren’t 10 Jewish countries in the world that were putting gay people to death just for being gay. It’s idiotic.”
On the UC-Berkeley petition:
“The irony of the Berkeley situation is I thought campuses were places where free speech was championed. And one of my problems with Islam is that they are not big on free speech–which so offended the Muslims at Berkeley, they wanted to ban my speech.”
He continues with a message to the students: “You know, I’m a liberal. My message is: be a liberal. Find out what liberalism means and join up. Liberalism certainly should not mean squelching free speech. And by the way, that petition, it was online, so anybody could sign it. You didn’t have to go to Berkeley to sign it, you could sign it more than one time… So it was kind of a bullshit thing to begin with. Uh, so I don’t think there were that many people against it. Even people who don’t agree with everything I say about Islam certainly were on the side of letting me speak. The comments I read were just almost embarrassed for the kids.
And I would just say to all liberals: we should own the First Amendment the way the right-wingers own the Second.”
I wonder if he will ever notice that his liberal friends are actually the foremost enemies of the freedom of speech.