Martin Bashir, the British-born MSNBC host with a knack for asking inflammatory questions, decided to host hip hop mogul Russell Simmons on his MSNBC show yesterday. The topic of conversation? Occupy Wall St. Or more specifically, the anti-Semitism that has been seen down at the NYC encampment.
Mediaite recounts the relevant portion of the interview:
“There’s been some reporting that anti-Semitism has begun to emerge and…” Bashir began. Simmons incredulously interrupted, “Can you repeat that?!”
The interview had initially begun amicably, with Bashir asking multiple softball questions before completely gobsmacking Simmons.
“Well, anti-semitism,” Bashir repeated.
“Can you repeat that?” asked a mystified Simmons. “Where’d you get that from — Bill O’Reilly or somebody?”
“No, let me show you,” Bashir said. “A group called the Emergency Committee For Israel has released this advert, watch this.”
Bashir then showed an ad we brought you on The Blaze showing examples of anti-Semitism (featuring an interview I conducted down at the protests), and calling on the president to stop standing with the protesters. Simmons brushed it off.
“I go down there every day and I see sweet, compassionate and astute people," he said. "I see the people who have high aspirations for America who are idealistic ... I see the most inclusive group America has to offer.”
To Bashir's credit, he did press Simmons a little: "I just have to press you on this, because this Emergency Committee would not have put a video like that together and posted it if there weren’t sufficient images, and that seemed like multiple cases of people being deeply offensive."
In a round about way, Simmons admitted there could be "infiltrators" in such a large crowd and blamed the former incidents on a few rogue protesters while repeating that the crowd is generally "sweet," "astute," and "smart."
After Simmons then challenged Bashir to go down there and see for himself if such a sentiment exists, Bashir backed off: "I have been down there, and I didn’t see any of those signs."
That may be true, but what Bashir seems to have missed is that anti-Semitism has popped up at at least one other Occupy movement in the country.
You can watch the video below: