Ex-Israeli ambassador slams progressive Democrats for supporting ‘genocidal, jihadist’ Hamas
Michael Oren said he doesn't know how long the president will be able to resist the pressure from his party's anti-Israel progressive wing.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Israel's former ambassador to the United States is blaming the Biden administration's resumption of aid to Palestinians and its negotiations with Iran for prompting the current violence in the Middle East, singling out progressive Democrats in Congress for supporting an anti-Semitic, "genocidal, jihadist organization" in Hamas.
Michael Oren told the "John Solomon Reports" podcast on Thursday that while "it's difficult to quantify" how much the Biden administration's negotiations with Iran and the Palestinians contributed to the recent attacks, "The administration, regrettably, resumed a policy of rewarding the Palestinians for not negotiating."
"And I don't know who gets it into their heads that they think this is good for the Palestinians," he continued. "It's actually the worst thing you can do for the Palestinians. It creates a situation we almost can't negotiate because there are people who say, 'Wait, you're gonna negotiate? You're making so much by not negotiating, when they're making concessions, right?'"
Oren also condemned the Biden administration for refunding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), "which is the only refugee program in the world which perpetuates a refugee problem, doesn't solve it, and educates kids to hate Israel," he said. "Really, I don't understand why anybody would resume that funding."
"I think the general message [of the Biden administration] is there was a new sheriff in town," Oren said, "and the new sheriff is going to be very loath to pull his gun out and enforce the type of tough law, except, perhaps, coming down harder on Israel, because that was the memory of the Obama administration."
"So far, I must say I've been rather pleasantly surprised," he said, "that the Biden administration and Secretary of State Blinken appear to have been resisting mounting pressure from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to come down very hard on Israel." But, he added, he doesn't know "how long they'll be able to resist that pressure."
Oren said that while he knows Biden comes from a "generation that has Israel in its heart" and "is deeply committed to Israel's security ... he is a Democrat, and he has to answer to a party, as well."
"The voices of the Democratic Party that are calling on the administration to start squeezing Israel, to criticize Israel, are growing and they are going to grow in direct proportion to the number of Palestinian casualties," he predicted. "You're going to see, there's a number out there, there's a red line, I don't know what it is. We haven't reached it yet, but we're getting closer to it.
"And we're dealing with an enemy, Hamas, that uses its own population as a human shield. They want Israel to kill civilians so that then they can have the world delegitimize it, and have the world come in and impose a ceasefire on us, that will redound to Hamas' benefit. That's just what they want, they're very clever. And so the Democratic Party, the progressive wing, plays right into that, right into that. Because they're going to say, 'Look at the massacre in Gaza. Look at all the civilians being killed. Let's come down hard on Israel and impose a ceasefire.'"
Hamas "is a genocidal, jihadist organization that is committed to our destruction, which has an anti-Semitic charter," said Oren in response to the messaging of progressive Democrats in Congress. "Read that charter. The Jews are blamed for World War I and World War II, everything — bubonic plague. This is the organization that these members of Congress are supporting? So by supporting an anti-Semitic organization, doesn't that make you a little bit anti-Semitic?"
He also described Iran's role in supporting Hamas and its attacks on Israel.
"Iran is a major sponsor of Hamas," he noted. Hamas' big competitor in the Gaza Strip, an organization called Islamic Jihad, is wholly owned and controlled by Tehran. Both organizations use Iran-made missiles, most of the missiles — rockets being fired at us are not homemade, made in Gaza, but actually smuggled in from Iran. And if they aren't smuggled in from Iran, the people who made the rockets were trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, usually in Damascus. So Iran is everywhere.
"Iran has a great interest in getting Israel bogged down in a ground war in Gaza. They're willing to fight Israel to the last Palestinian, they don't care. And this has a number of benefits for Iran: It detracts Israel's attention from Iranian efforts to transform Syria into a forward military base against us, it takes pressure off Iran in the Iran nuclear talks going on in Vienna, it makes America come down harder perhaps on Israel later, and Israel will be then preoccupied with dealing with American pressure about Gaza and not focused on the Iran nuclear deal. It all really redounds to the benefit of Iran. And I think it's very important that American policymakers be cognizant of that and understand that this game is a very complex game."
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