O'Reilly to Jewish caller: "[I]f you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel"
FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly responded to a Jewish caller to his radio show who objected to "Christmas going into schools" and explained that he "grew up with a resentment because I felt that people were trying to convert me to Christianity." O'Reilly told the caller that America is "a predominantly Christian nation" and that "if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel." O'Reilly labeled the caller's concerns "an affront to the majority" and insisted that "the majority can be insulted, too." During his exchange with the caller, O'Reilly also mistakenly referred to "the seven candles " of Hanukkah.
From the December 3 broadcast of the nationally syndicated The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
CALLER: I agree with what you've been saying recently -- you're concerned about the secularization of Christmas and -- I'm concerned about the secularization of Jews and about the -- and Christmas going into schools.
When I was growing up -- I'm Jewish, but I was not in a very Jewish area. There were some Jews there but, I was kind of -- grew up with a resentment because I felt that people were trying to convert me to Christianity --
O'REILLY: Were they?
CALLER: Yeah, when I got to college I found out -- that's true. A lot of people were. I found that millions of dollars were spent trying to convert --
O'REILLY: I mean that you really believe that people were trying to convert -- you personally -- were trying to make you change from being Jewish to Christian?
O'REILLY: How do they do that?
CALLER: Well, for example, there are various organizations in the colleges that go to people -- try to invite you to Bible study groups --
O'REILLY: Yeah, I know, but -- I mean, you don't have to go. I mean they do that to me. They come -- the Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door and invite me places. I mean, I don't care -- I just say no, get outta here.
CALLER: The thing is, is when you have -- for example, Christmas carols or gift exchanges being done in school, that kind of sets the kids up to being converted.
O'REILLY: Yeah, but you give gifts on Hanukkah, don't you?
CALLER: No, there's not really a Jewish tradition of giving gifts on --
O'REILLY: Well, the seven candles [sic], you get a gift for every night, don't you?
CALLER: Actually, the Jews give gifts on --
O'REILLY: All right. Well, what I'm tellin' you, [caller], is I think you're takin' it too seriously. You have a predominantly Christian nation. You have a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus. And you don't wanna hear about it? Come on, [caller] -- if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then. I mean because we live in a country founded on Judeo -- and that's your guys' -- Christian, that's my guys' philosophy. But overwhelmingly, America is Christian. And the holiday is a federal holiday honoring the philosopher Jesus. So, you don't wanna hear about it? Impossible.
And that is an affront to the majority. You know, the majority can be insulted, too. And that's what this anti-Christmas thing is all about.