Podcast king Joe Rogan came under social media fire after defending a comment by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that was widely deemed anti-Semitic, and chiming in with the suggestion that money is to Jews as pizza is to Italians.
Rogan’s remarks came during a chat with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti, co-hosts of the YouTube show and podcast “Breaking Points.” Ball, a Left-wing former MSNBC personality, and Rogan were discussing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to boot Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over past inflammatory statements by the Minnesota Democrat. One such comment McCarthy cited was Omar’s claim that U.S. lawmakers’ support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” widely seen as invoking an anti-Semitic trope about Jews and money.
“That’s not an anti-Semitic statement,” insisted Rogan, host of “The Joe Rogan Experience.” “I don’t think that is. Benjamins are money. You know, the idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza. It’s f***ing stupid. It’s f***ing stupid.”
McCarthy, who also kicked California Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell off the House Intelligence Committee over their past behavior, cited several of Omar’s past comments in ousting her from the panel. In addition to the “all about the Benjamins” comment, he noted Omar had compared Israel and the U.S. to terrorist groups Hamas and the Taliban and dismissed 9/11 by saying “Some people did something.”
“We’re not removing her from other committees,” McCarthy said. “We just do not believe when it comes to foreign affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that you make.”
Although Omar later apologized for her comment about the Israel lobby, saying she didn’t understand that the trope about Jews and money was bigoted, Rogan and Ball agreed that she shouldn’t have issued a mea culpa.
“Listen, I understand the way she phrased it, like she could have phrased it a different way so that people would have less of a freak-out, but can you not talk about the influence of money in D.C.?” said Ball, who then seemed to suggest that any politician who supports Israel does so for purely financial reasons.
“Look, I have issues and disagreements with Ilhan Omar, but she actually is one of the more courageous voices on foreign policy who’s willing to call out the hypocrisy and bulls*** in U.S. foreign policy,” Ball said. “[That’s] extremely rare in terms of United States congressmen, so it’s actually kind of a real loss that she got kicked off that committee.”
Rogan agreed with Ball’s assessment of the Somali-born lawmaker.
“Whether you agree with her or not, she has a bold opinion and that opinion is not her own; there’s many people who have that opinion, and they should be represented,” he said.