Amid a surge in anti-Muslim and antisemitic hate fueled by the outbreak of war between Israel and the Hamas militant group, Watters fanned the flames as “The Five” discussed anti-Israel protesters seen tearing down posters of hostages taken by Hamas.
“I want to say something about Arab Americans and about the Muslim world,” Watters said.
“We — and when I say we, I mean the West and Western technology — have created the Middle East,” he said. “We made them rich. We got that oil out of the ground. Our military protects all of these oil shipments flying around the world, making them rich. We fund their military. We respect their kings. We kill their terrorists. OK? But we’ve had it. We’ve had it with them.”
He went on, saying that Presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden have ”tried to get the heck out of that stupid desert.”
He continued, “Just as we were about to get out … these crazy Muslim fanatics come in and massacre over a thousand of our allies, and hold Jewish people hostage, hold Americans hostage.”
Watters then warned Arab Americans that if “you rip down posters” of Jewish and American hostages, “someone is going to get punched in the face.”
The Fox News host’s remarks prompted a rebuke from the White House.
“These unacceptable remarks come just weeks after the heartbreaking killing of a 6 year old Palestinian-American child, and during a spike in threats against Muslim and Arab Americans,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement to HuffPost, referring to the fatal stabbing of Wadea Al-Fayoume in Illinois last month.
“Fox News owes an apology to every single viewer for this sickening attack on the rights and dignity of their fellow Americans,” Bates continued.
Tensions are high globally after Hamas militants on Oct. 7 launched a surprise incursion into Israel, killing more than 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostages back to Gaza.
Israel retaliated with a declaration of war and a weekslong siege on Gaza, which has a dense population of 2.3 million people. Israel’s bombardment of the coastal enclave has killed more than 8,700 people, including 3,648 children, according to Gaza health authorities.
Islamophobic and antisemitic hate crimes have skyrocketed in multiple cities since, including New York and Los Angeles.