What is becoming known as the Hamas Caucus in the U.S. Congress, especially in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, is made up of a growing number of leftist progressives who hate the Jewish state of Israel. The members of the Hamas Caucus believe that Israel is an apartheid oppressor, not a country under relentless attack for simply wanting to remain the one and only Jewish state in the world. They believe that when terrorists fire rockets at Israeli civilian population centers with abandon, the Israeli military must not fight back to defend Israel’s residents. This is the perverted thinking of individuals who also claim that their own country is built solely on the foundation of white supremacist racism and must be fundamentally transformed.
Hamas Caucus members have shared their vitriolic anti-Israel remarks on Twitter in recent days, including the following tweets from four Israel-haters who are part of the radical left “Squad” in the House.
“We should all be grateful that a ceasefire will prevent more civilians and children from being killed,” Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted. “But now what? We need accountability for every war crime committed. And we need to stop underwriting crimes against humanity while doing nothing to end the occupation.”
“A ceasefire is necessary, but will not alone achieve freedom, justice, and equality for all who live under Israel’s apartheid government,” Democratic-Socialist Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, tweeted. “The U.S. must condition funding to uphold human rights, and end the funding entirely if those conditions are not met.”
“A ceasefire ends the bombardment — not the violence,” tweeted a Squad newbie, Democratic Rep. Cori Bush. “The Israeli military’s occupation continues. The blockade continues. The ethnic cleansing continues. Our government must stop funding the apartheid status quo.”
On May 19th, before the announcement of the ceasefire that temporarily ended the conflict initiated by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Democratic-Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that “The United States should not be rubber-stamping weapons sales to the Israeli government as they deploy our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing.”
Senator Bernie Sanders was willing at least to criticize Hamas for its rocket attacks, but he also rationalized them as responses to Israel’s policies. Sanders spent most of his time in his May 14th column for the New York Times going after Israel. The Democratic-Socialist senator denounced what he called Israel’s “increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism” under its “right-wing” leader. In using words like “racist nationalism” in reference to Israel, Sanders has effectively bought into the anti-Semitic trope that Zionism is a form of racism. He wrote that “Palestinian lives matter.” So do Jewish lives. Sanders should have focused far more of his attention on the Palestinian terrorists and their enablers who are willing to sacrifice both Palestinian and Jewish lives in the cause of radical Islamist supremacism.
The Democratic Party used to stand unflinchingly with America’s closest ally and the only democracy in the Middle East. But now the Hamas Caucus is moving the center of gravity of the party away from supporting Israel, benefiting Hamas and other terrorist groups who are devoted to the complete annihilation of the Jewish state.
Hamas was founded in 1988 with a call in its Covenant to “obliterate” Israel and launch a jihad against “the Jews’ usurpation.” Nothing has changed since then, except for Hamas’s build-up of a massive rocket arsenal, courtesy of Iran. In 2017, for example, Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, a co-founder of Hamas and a member of the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, said that “removing the Jews from the land they occupied in 1948 is an immutable principle, because it appears in the Book of Allah….Our position is: Palestine in its entirety, and not a grain of soil less. (The Quran says:) ‘Kill them wherever you may find them’ – Allah did not define the 1967 borders or the 1948 borders. We will fight them wherever we can…”
Hamas is a U.S. designated terrorist organization. It has the blood of innocent Israeli children on its hands, not only during the most recent barrage of rocket attacks but also during past relative lulls in fighting between Hamas and the Israeli military. For example, a Palestinian terrorist affiliated with Hamas killed a three-month-old baby girl when he deliberately rammed the vehicle he was driving into her stroller and other people near a train station in Jerusalem back in October 2014. The baby who was killed had an American passport, and her parents were American citizens visiting Israel to study. Hamas, which applauded the attack including the murder of the three-month old baby, has killed at least 25 Americans living in Israel since 1993.
This is the terrorist group that the Hamas Caucus makes excuses for. The Squad members and Senator Bernie Sanders are even seeking to block a pending American weapon sales to Israel because they blame Israel for the devastation caused by the fighting between the Palestinian terrorists and the Israeli military.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should forcefully denounce the blood libel against the Jewish state that members of her party in the House are spewing. So far, she has not done so.
In fact, last week in the House under Pelosi’s leadership, Democrats blocked an attempt by Republicans to move the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act along for consideration by a party-line vote of 217-209. The bill would have imposed sanctions targeting Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and any affiliate or successor groups. It would also have imposed sanctions on any foreign person or entity that “directly or indirectly, supports the terrorist activities of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor thereof by knowingly and materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial or material support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor thereof…” The bill provided for certain exceptions and waivers in circumstances where U.S. national interests would be served. But the House Democrats would not even allow the bill to be debated, let alone permit a substantive vote on the bill’s merits.
Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad initiated the latest war. They unleashed their aggressive campaign of terror upon the Israeli people with massive barrages of rocket attacks. Their purpose has always been, and remains, to drive the Israeli Jews into the sea and replace the Jewish state with an Islamist Palestinian state. Just read their own words. “These criminal killers have no place in our country and in our region and they will certainly be terminated,” said Ziyad Al-Nakhaleh, the secretary-general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He declared that “we will fight them until they depart.”
On May 7th, just days before the rocket attacks began, Hamas’s political leader Ismael Haniyeh had issued an ultimatum to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Haniyeh demanded that Israel withdraw from the Temple Mount Compound or Israel will “pay a price.” Haniyeh added, “This is a battle that you cannot win. Israeli arrogance and tyranny will be smashed on the stones of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu was certainly not going to yield to Hamas’s outrageous ultimatum and threats, but he did seek to lower tensions. Israel reportedly sent a message to Hamas, through Egyptian mediators, calling for de-escalation. The purpose was to prevent local clashes in Jerusalem, which Israeli police claimed had started when Palestinians threw rocks and bottles at Israeli police officers trying to maintain order in and around the Temple Mount, from escalating into a major war. But Hamas answered with force instead. When the deadline unilaterally set by Hamas for Israel to meet Hamas’s demands passed on May 10th, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad started launching their rockets at Israeli civilian population centers. Only then did Israel begin exercising its inherent right of self-defense under international law, with military operations that intensified as the Palestinian terrorists’ rockets reached as far as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and killed Israeli civilians.
All things considered, the Israeli military used incredible restraint in defending its own residents against more than 4000 rockets launched by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Each of those rockets should count as a double war crime because each rocket was fired deliberately at Israeli civilians from locations in Gaza that the terrorists knew would also put Palestinian civilians in harm’s way. Israel’s military operations were proportionate to the unremitting rocket attacks against its residents.
In providing advance warning of attacks on buildings and other objects with dual civilian and military uses and avoiding harm to civilians to the extent possible, Israel followed international law. When Palestinian terrorists hide among civilians and use hospitals, schools, residential and office buildings, and places of worship as bases for their military and intelligence operations, the terrorists are the ones who need to answer for their war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Not surprisingly, the United Nations Security Council does not see it that way. After several failed attempts to issue a statement while the military conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza was underway, the Security Council finally issued an official statement on May 22nd. It called for the parties to continue observing the ceasefire that took effect on May 21st.
The Security Council statement made no reference to the Palestinian terrorists’ deliberate firing of rockets at civilians in Israel or the terrorists’ use of Palestinian civilians as human shields. The statement did not acknowledge the inherent right of a UN member state under the UN Charter to defend itself. The statement called on the international community to provide “support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery” in Gaza without requiring the establishment of verifiable mechanisms to ensure that the aid does not end up in the hands of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or other terrorist groups in Gaza. The statement failed to require, as a condition for sending building materials to Gaza, that all terrorist weaponry and attack tunnels in Gaza be destroyed under international supervision.
The UN Security Council, by its silence and refusal to call out the terrorists as the murderous thugs they are, is acquiescing in their war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, the members of the Hamas Caucus in the U.S. Congress have done worse. As former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman remarked, “I would say that the ones who are furthest off the page, which is the page of fairness and American values and interests, are Senator Sanders and members of ‘The Squad.’” The former senator added, “To jump on Israel, to threaten removal of arms sales to Israel in this kind of conflict is just outrageously unfair.”
Hamas preaches the same hatred and violence against “infidels” as Hezbollah, ISIS, and al Qaeda. By serving for all intents and purposes as apologists for Hamas and condemning Israel for defending its own people, the Hamas Caucus is complicit in the terrorists’ war crimes and crimes against humanity.
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