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Why would Joe Rogan accuse Israel of genocide?

In this photo illustration, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast logo is seen on a smartphone screen with the Spotify logo in the background. (Photo by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

He’s been described as having a podcast that is a vehicle for intolerance, promoting conspiracy theories, being an amplifier of inaccurate and inflammatory claims, and being a self-proclaimed provocateur who thrives on controversy.

All seemingly true, top podcaster Joe Rogan should be in his element since he is now embroiled in the mother of all controversies, resulting from his March 26 interview with comedian Kurt Metzger, as the two veered off their discussion of Candace Owens’ recent departure from the Daily Wire, plunging right into the topic of the Israel-Hamas war. 

After voicing whether Owens had been fired for criticizing Israel,” Rogan tried to come off as merely asking the questions that “no one else is asking.” Metzger dutifully agreed that it’s simply a matter of covering up for your team, meaning that if you’re on the side of Israel, you ignore what Israel is doing, even if it looks like they are killing innocents. Relying upon a video he viewed, Rogan argues that the people whom he saw, being “blasted from the sky,” seemed to be ordinary citizens and not Hamas operatives. Why wouldn’t he believe what his eyes saw – everyone knows that there is no such thing as a doctored video!

But he didn’t stop there, Rogan incredulously wondered how the same “tribe of people” who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust could, themselves, turn around and commit similar atrocities upon others. This is where Rogan hopes to display his virtue – by talking about the subject that no one else will expose.

There’s only one problem. None of it is true nor does he even attempt to substantiate it. He simply throws out the accusation – similar to the “blast from the sky,” which he saw but which he is unable to say from where it came, in what context, or when it occurred. In fact, he says, “It’s so hard to imagine.” Maybe that’s because it’s a lie spread by others which Rogan impulsively decided to adopt. But why? 

The man, who is among the most popular podcasters, with an audience of around 15 million, certainly has the means, the staff, the access, and anything else needed to check up on an explosive accusation, which he has to know will foment the outrage of millions, willfully chose not to fact-check such a scandalous and libelous charge – perhaps just to be controversial and grab the limelight of a 24-hour news cycle?

One would think that there had to be more to it than that, unless he was trying to be part of an experiment on how far he could go before getting canceled for his arrogance and incitement – an affront to those who are fighting terrorists that raped, mutilated, burned and tortured innocent human beings. 

One would ask, “Is anything sacred to him?”

It wasn’t that long ago that Rogan made the offensive comment: “The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous,” coming to the defense of US Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar who, when speaking about Israel said, “It’s all about the Benjamins,” causing many to equate the remark with repeating a well-known antisemitic trope – linking Jews to money.

Ironically, given his own vast fortune, estimated at $200 million, some might accuse him of having his own love affair with money. 

But why would Rogan go out on the ledge, ready to risk his career over an accusation that can so easily be refuted and debunked?

Could be that he’s figured out which way the wind is blowing as more and more well-known people and institutions, get on the “let’s dump on Israel” bandwagon; or it could be that he, like so many others, these days, has an inclination to be suspicious of Jews, willing to think the worst of them; or it could be that he wants to remain relevant, garnering more fame and money for himself – even though he considers that to be more of a Jewish pursuit?

In these days of AI-generated content, everyone knows that videos are being doctored, simulating brutality, scenes of death, and deliberate targeting by the IDF of innocent Palestinians. One such video shows dead bodies from a decade ago, in Egypt, but claims to be from the current Gaza conflict. The ugly truth is that Israel haters and anti-Jewish constituency have figured out a deviously clever way to use fake videos to their advantage in order to further the war of public opinion.

Even though old footage of deaths is passed off as having been caused by the current Israel-Hamas conflict, the vast majority of Google searches reveal the opposite, with well-known media outlets joining in to debunk Israel’s well-documented claims of Pallywood (the Palestinian media fraud, being utilized to manipulate the public as to who are the real villains). Apparently, the fear of being exposed got them thinking about how they could preempt the scam they intended to perpetrate, by accusing Israel of doing what they’re actually doing.

But these libels against Israel come so fast and furious that just as one is debunked, a new one is already being lodged (it’s a bit like the game of Whack A Mole). If it’s not the false claim of bombing a Gaza hospital, killing 500 innocents, then it’s the recent charges of IDF soldiers raping Palestinian women – a vicious accusation subsequently deleted by Al Jazeera after an Arab columnist admitted the story was fake – posting on X, “it was revealed through Hamas investigations that the story of the rape of women in Al-Shifa Hospital was fabricated.”

Nonetheless, there still remain a few brave souls who are willing to confront the lies head-on, and one of them is John Spencer, chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute, who has just returned from Gaza. Publicly challenging Rogan over his malicious comments, Spencer posted the following, “I am one of the world’s leading experts on urban warfare. Let’s have a conversation about the facts, opinions, disinformation, myths about it and the history of warfare.”

Spencer goes into detail in a Times Radio YouTube interview on March 28, explaining what methods the IDF uses in order to minimize casualties, and it’s well worth hearing. The question is whether or not Rogan is willing to listen to a real expert whose career has been dedicated to studying war and who also made the trip to Gaza to see what is actually happening for himself, rather than taking the unreliable word of biased antisemites whose agenda is to do injury to the reputation of Israel and their military.

Of course, such a face-to-face meeting might result in the need for Rogan to change his position and sincerely apologize for his baseless and ignorant remarks, which were not authenticated nor even prudently considered before rushing to detonate the verbal grenade he so carelessly lit. 

As many know, a fallacious claim is more often heard and disseminated than the retraction or apology that follows, once the truth comes out, and so even if Rogan does see the error of his ways, some may not hear or want to hear that part of the story.

In the end, it often comes down to another post made by Spencer as he quotes Mark Twain, “No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot.” 

This article originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post and is reposted with permission.

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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