American actress and comedian Joan Rivers, who in recent weeks has been defending Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in interviews, said in defense of her earlier pro-Israel rants that she didn’t want to hear about civilian casualties in Gaza, because “they started it.”
Rivers, who said last month that “you cannot throw rockets and expect people not to defend themselves,” said this week that “you’re dead, you deserve to be be dead. Don’t you dare make me feel bad about that” on camera to a TMZ reporter who told her almost 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in the past month. (Israel says 750-1,000 of the dead are Hamas gunmen.)
The reporter, who spoke to Rivers at LAX airport earlier this week about her previous remarks, received another rant in response — more controversial than the last.
“Oh my God! Tell that to the people in Hiroshima,” Rivers said with dramatic flair when confronted with the Gaza death toll.
“Good. Good. Ask Colin Powell. When you declare war, you declare war. They started it. We now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead, you deserve to be dead. You started it. You started it. Don’t you dare make me feel bad about that,” she said.
She added, “They were told to get out. They didn’t get out. You don’t get out, you are an idiot. At least the ones that were killed were the ones with very low I.Q.s.”
Gaza’s Hamas government were “terrorists,” Rivers said, and were elected by a “lot of very stupid people.”
She said: “You can’t get rid of Hamas, you have to say you do not recognize them, they are terrorists.”
In a statement released Thursday regarding her exchange with the reporter, Rivers said her words had been “totally taken out of context.”
She clarified, “What I said and stand behind is, war is hell and unfortunately civilians are victims of political conflicts. We, the United States, certainly know this as 69 years later we still feel the guilt of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
“Along with every other sane person in this world, I am praying for peace,” she said.
Two weeks ago, Rivers made waves after setting off on a lengthy pro-Israel rant when asked by TMZ for her opinion on the current Gaza conflict, saying Hamas was to blame for the flare-up with Israel as “you cannot throw rockets and expect people not to defend themselves.”
She also said international press should be “ashamed” of their coverage of the conflict, which tends to favor the Palestinian narrative.
Using a rather colorful example to bring her point home, Rivers shot out to tabloid reporters: “If New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe ‘em out. If we heard they were digging tunnels from New Jersey to New York, we would get rid of Jersey!”
Asked about the large number of civilian casualties in Gaza, Rivers retorted “Don’t put your goddamn things in private homes. I’m sorry, don’t you dare put weapons stashes in private homes.”
“For months this has been going on,” she said, in an apparent reference to ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza against Israeli towns which had been met with relative restraint by Israel until this past month.
“I have been over there. That’s how I know, and I wish the world would know,” she said. “And the BBC should be ashamed of themselves, and CNN should be ashamed of themselves.”