Former President Obama appeared to draw a moral equivalence between Hamas murdering Israelis and the Israeli “occupation” of Gaza during a discussion with his former staffers.
He emphasized the need to acknowledge complexity and the multiple truths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“If there’s any chance of us being able to act constructively, to do something, it will require an admission of complexity. And maintaining, what on the surface may seem contradictory ideas — that what Hamas did was horrific, and there’s no justification for it; and what is also true is that the occupation [sic] and what’s happening to Palestinians is unbearable,” Obama began.
🚨🚨🚨Obama says Israel is engaging in “OCCUPATION” Of Palestinian land.
Then makes a moral equivalency between the State of Israel and Hamas.
Hard to quantify how radical and extremist this world view is coming from a former President who funded Iranpic.twitter.com/cXwT8WBUcC
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) November 5, 2023
“And what is also true is that there is a history of the Jewish people that may be dismissed, unless your grandparents, or your great-grandparents, or your uncle or your aunt tell you stories about the madness of antisemitism.”
“And what is true is that there are people right now who are dying who have nothing to do with what Hamas did.”
“And what is true, right — I mean, we can go on for a while. And the problem with the social media, and trying to — TikTok activism, and trying to debate this, on that, is you can’t speak the truth. You can pretend to speak the truth. You can speak one side of the truth, and in some cases you can try to maintain you moral innocence, but that won’t solve the problem.”
“And so if you want to solve the problem, you have to take in the whole truth, and you then have to admit nobody’s hands are clean, that all of us are complicit to some degree.”
“I look at this, and I think back, ‘What could I have done during my presidency to move this forward — as hard as I tried, and I’ve got the scars to prove it. But there’s a part of me that’s still saying, well, “Was there something else I could have done?’ That’s the conversation we should be having.”
“Not just looking backwards, but looking forward. And that can’t happen if we are confining ourselves to our outrage. I would rather see you out there talking to people, including people who you disagree with. If you genuinely want to change thin, then you’ve got to figure out how to speak to somebody on the other side, and listen to them, and understand what they are talking about, and not dismiss it. Because you can’t save that child without their help. Not in this situation.”
Critics argue that Obama’s approach minimizes the evil of Hamas’s violence and creates a false equivalence.
They also point out his past dismissive approach towards the Islamic State and the Crusades.
While encouraging dialogue with those who disagree, Obama’s audience applauded his remarks about the “occupation” rather than his condemnation of Hamas.
Critics highlight Obama’s hostile posture towards Israel during his presidency and his actions that undermined Israeli interests.
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