A Closer Look at the Escalating Feud Between Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens Over Israel

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The Hamas terror attacks against Israel on October 7 and ensuing war have elicited strong reactions from all sides. While it has made strange bedfellows out of some, it has caused rifts between others. 

At The Daily Wire, a feud between co-founder Ben Shapiro and host Candace Owens became public this week as the two have traded increasingly personal barbs over differing views on the Israel-Hamas war.

On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Dave Rubin, host of The Rubin Report, to take a closer look at what is going on between Shapiro and Owens and what it means for conservatives.

The Feud

While the tensions between Shapiro and Owens reached a fever pitch this week, Megyn and Rubin agreed it’s been “percolating” for some time. “I think it’s been percolating since the Kanye [West] stuff, which was probably over a year ago now,” Rubin noted.

After the rapper posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) that he would “go death con 3 on Jewish people” last fall, Owens said that any “honest person” would not think the tweet was antisemitic. “You did not think that he wrote this tweet because he hates or wants to genocide Jewish people,” she said at the time. “This is not the beginning of a Holocaust.”

While Megyn noted that Owens was likely trying to give her friend West the benefit of the doubt, her recent dustup with Shapiro puts the defense in a new light. 

The latest beef between the two conservative commentators began earlier this week when a user posted a video on X that showed Shapiro criticizing Owens over her stance on Israel at a private event. “I think her behavior during this has been disgraceful, without a doubt,” he said in the clip. “I think that her faux sophistication on these particular issues has been ridiculous.”

Shapiro’s remarks were at least in part a response to a tweet Owens posted earlier this month in which she wrote, “No government anywhere has a right to commit a genocide, ever. There is no justification for a genocide. I can’t believe this even needs to be said or is even considered the least bit controversial to state.” While she didn’t mention the Jewish state by name, many believed it was implied.

After Owens posted a series of Bible verses on Wednesday – including one that said “you cannot serve both God and money” – Shapiro responded that she should “by all means quit” if “taking money from The Daily Wire somehow comes between you and God.”

That led Owens to accuse Shapiro of “acting unprofessional and emotionally unhinged for weeks now.” She also said he was “utterly out of line for suggesting that I cannot quote biblical scripture.”

In an interview with Tucker Carlson that also premiered Wednesday, Owens called Shapiro’s comments “ad-hominem attacks” that she couldn’t respond to “on a level of intellect.”

What Comes Next

In Megyn’s view, Shapiro’s reaction to and coverage of the Israel-Hamas war has been anything but unhinged. “He’s a very openly Orthodox Jewish American, who has… been under death threat after death threat because of that from the alt-right and from the lunatic left who are antisemites as we are very clearly seeing,” she explained. “So, I don’t think there’s been anything even close to ‘emotionally unhinged’ about Ben’s reaction… I was more emotional about what happened on 10/7 on my show.” 

Rubin said the situation is challenging to watch and respond to because he considers them both friends, but he has found Owens’ reaction to October 7 “very disappointing.” “She basically said something to the effect of ‘I’m not an expert in these things. We don’t have to comment on everything’ – except she’s in the business of commenting on everything and she does comment on everything,” he explained. “But she’s had a couple moments related to things with Jews where she seems unable to comment, so people can glean into that what they want.”

While Megyn and Rubin questioned if Owens is looking for a way to leave The Daily Wire in a “glorious exit,” both agreed the tiff benefits no one. “This is the last thing the right needs right now,” Rubin said. “It’s the last thing we need spiritually and religiously… and it’s the last thing we need politically and culturally if we’re going to fix what the problem is.”

As he explained, the “bigger problem” for those on the right is “related to what the woke have done and what has happened to the Democrat Party and the collapse of our institutions and everything else.” The feud between Owens and Sharpiro, in his view, distracts from that. “Too many of us are about to just dive off either side,” he concluded. “And I think for those of us that want to hold this thing together and realize what the real problem is, it’s going to be very, very complex.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Rubin by tuning in to episode 672 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.