Something happened to Geraldo Rivera, and it’s not something bad. Since the 2020 election, a media figure who at best lightly chastised people like Trump when they went too far — and only infrequently, at that — has gone rogue. He’s said he supported the impeachment of his good friend, the 45th president. He’s snapped at Charlie Kirk and sparred with Don Bongino. He’s also said not-great things, but it’s he’s doing better than anyone else on his side.
On Wednesday he went arguably farther than he ever has: He criticized Israel on Fox News. For the last two weeks, the world has watched in horror as war has exploded between Israel and Palestine, the former causing exponentially more death and destruction than the latter. On Sunday, John Oliver made waves by daring to come and accuse Israel of “war crimes” — something that has rarely been said outright before.
Rivera, speaking with Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum, didn’t go that far, but he went right up to the line.
Wow, this from Geraldo Rivera!
"The fact that the United States of America is providing Israel many of the weapons Israel is using today to kill Palestinian civilians without demanding a cease-fire, Tlaib is right. That makes us complicit in an ongoing crime against humanity." pic.twitter.com/JZhGSic2Ly
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) May 19, 2021
“We have dozens of Palestinian children who have been killed in the last week with American bombs,” Rivera told Fox News audiences. He called out the U.S. for “providing many of the weapons Israel is using today to kill Palestinian civilians without even demanding a ceasefire.”
Rivera then uttered three words that are like holy water to Fox News vampires: “Tlaib is right,” referring to Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress and an outspoken critic of Israel’s actions right now. That the weapons being used to kill civilians came in part from America, Rivera said, “makes us complicit in an ongoing crime against humanity.”
Rivera was speaking from experience. During the segment, he called the Gaza Strip under Israeli occupation “one of the most menacing places on Earth that I’ve ever reported from.” He continued:
“Everyone and everything going into and out of Gaza is controlled by Israel. Electricity, fuel, airspace, ports, cell phone service, even who gets to farm those meager fields. It’s effectively one of the world’s largest prison camps and it is being bombed with bombs supplied by the United States. It’s outrageous that we gave Israel these hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weapons without insisting on a ceasefire now.”
Rivera received some pushback, of course. Conservative pundit Katie Pavlich accused him of supporting Hamas’ violent attacks on Israeli civilians. Rivera tried to go back to his original point. “They have no place to run. Where are they going to go?!” Rivera replied, adding that “an Israeli F-16 going 500 miles an hour is going to kill civilians.” He also argued that Israel firing into the Gaza Strip is bound to result in civilian casualties. “You shoot an artillery round from a tank and you expect it to land only on the military version of Hamas?”
Surely few would expect that Geraldo Rivera would ever go completely against the Fox News party line, but then stranger things have happened these days.