Below are the video and transcript of remarks given by an exceptional panel at the Freedom Center’s 2023 Restoration Weekend – just held Oct. 26-29 at the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans.
Many people have been joking around yesterday and today about how all we need now is a two-state solution and that will fix everything. If we just had a Palestinian state and the Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace. And many people do, of course, still assume and we are still hearing this rhetoric, that if only the Palestinians had a state, then everything would be okay.
Meanwhile, if we actually looked at what the Palestinians themselves are saying and have said with terrified consistency for decades now, we would know that no two-state solution will solve anything, but will only create a new jihad base for renewed attacks against Israel. This is a religious war. This is a religious war. It is not a political war or, if you prefer, it is a political war fought for religious reasons, because the religious system that is at war, started the war and is the cause of the war envisions a political system in which the whole world is subsumed under the hegemony of the people who hold to this religion.
Hamas made this abundantly clear from the very beginning, from its inception in the Hamas Charter in the late eighties. It says very clearly Israel will rise and will continue until Islam obliterates it. It didn’t say Israel will rise and continue until we work out a two-state solution or Israel will rise and continue until the proper combination of concessions and negotiations creates for a pathway to peace.
There is no peace and vision except through the obliteration of Israel, and the obliteration of Israel comes from very basic and core Islamic principles. There is no state of Israel–even if it were the size of a suburban front yard–that would be allowed to exist in this framework. In Hamas’s view, the state of Israel is an affront to Islam. It is not just an affront to the Palestinians, stolen land or any of the rhetoric that you hear all the time. The state of Israel is an insult to Islam, and as such it must be obliterated.
Why is the state of Israel an insult to Islam? Well, if you open your Qur’ans to chapter 2, verse 191, then you will see that it says drive them out from where they drove you out.
Now, that might seem like a very small phrase, very easy to pass by without realizing its implications. And yet its implications are absolutely gigantic and cannot be understated. Drive them out from where they drove you out is predicated on the assumption that any land that belonged to Islam at any point in history belongs by right to Muslims forever, and that Muslims not only have a responsibility to drive out the people who drove them out, but they have a divine command to do so.
It is not something that is optional. It is not a political view. It is not the view of one party as opposed to another. It is a command no less important for Muslims than the Ten Commandments are for Jews and Christians. Drive them out from where they drove you out is the perfect word of the creator of the universe. And thus it is a command from him that you have to take with the utmost seriousness.
Now you can say, well, the Israelis didn’t actually drive the Arabs out. You’re quite right. The Arab League and the Arab Higher Committee ordered the Arabs to leave in 1948 because they thought that the Sunni states surrounding Israel would obliterate Israel and then the Arabs could move back and meanwhile, they’d be out of the line of fire.
The fact is though, that reality, although it’s abundantly documented, has been completely obscured in the Palestinian rhetoric by the false claim that Israel drove the Arabs out. And the reason for the false claim was to trigger the relevance of the divine command that established that the Israelis drove out the Arabs. Then the Arabs have a responsibility before God to drive out the Israelis. There is no mitigation of that. And every negotiated settlement has not been a rejection of that, although many of the Arabs took them to be.
So, Yasser Arafat, after the conclusion of the Oslo Accords in the nineties, went back home and he said in Arabic, not in English: don’t worry about this.
This is like the treaty Hudaybiyya. What’s the treaty Hudaybiyya? It was a treaty that Muhammad concluded when he was weak and at a disadvantage. And then he broke it when he was stronger and had an advantage. But the larger point is that the negotiated versions, Arafat saw the negotiations and he was explaining to his people that the negotiations were only a means to an end, and that end was to destroy Israel altogether.
Now, the trigger of this immediate conflict was that the Israelis were caught napping. And we don’t know the full story of that yet, but we know that they had a very light presence, if any, at the Gaza border and Hamas bulldozed the Gaza fence at the Gaza border and were able to stream across and of course, paraglide into the music festival.
You all know the stories. Now, why did all that happen? Because Hamas had convinced the Israelis that they were more interested in governing Gaza than in fighting Israel. And they and Ali Baraka, who is a top Hamas official, went on Russia tell Russian television the day after the attacks October 8th, and explained all this; and boasted about how they fooled the Israelis and he said that we made them think that we were not a threat.
Now, why did the Israelis believe this? Because nobody is thinking about this as a religious war, and yet that’s what it is. And the religion tells them, Mohammed said, you can lie in several circumstances. You should never lie. But if your husband and you need to lie to your wife to keep things quiet, go ahead. And if you’re in war, lie.
War is deceit. Now, why don’t the Israelis keep that uppermost in their mind when they’re dealing with what Hamas is telling them? Because nobody, nobody in this conflict except me and maybe a few other people are saying Islam has to do with this war.
This war has everything to do with Islam. This war cannot be understood properly without Islam.
As the great Daniel Greenfield said. It’s about Islam, stupid. And he was absolutely right. This is not a war that can be properly analyzed or any solution found without taking Islam into account. If the Israelis had never considered the possibility of believing what Hamas was telling them and even what Hamas was doing and showing them, but always kept in mind drive them out from where they drove you out, that’s the Hamas objective.
They would never have let their guard down one minute. And so, we also have to remember, this it is already a world war. It is already World War III. Now, what do I mean by that? Mahmoud al-Zahar, another Hamas official said this is not just a conflict with Gaza. Some people think if they get their Palestinian state, then it’ll be okay. Or if they destroy Israel, even it’ll be okay. No, Mahmoud al-Zahar said this is a conflict with any system of unbelief and we’re going to destroy Christianity, we’re going to destroy the other religions, and Islam will reign supreme.
Now, is Islam going to rule the world? I don’t think so. But are they going to kill a lot of people trying? Absolutely. Is anybody paying attention to that? No, that is not a question that anybody is willing to consider because it would be Islamophobic to do so. This is the truth of this conflict. Even if, God forbid, Israel were destroyed in this conflict, which I don’t think it will be, but even if in the worst case scenario that were to happen, there would still not be peace in the Middle East.
Instead, you’d have emboldened jihadis moving against Europe and against the United States. And so, well, that is the situation as it stands. And these gentlemen will elucidate more of what happened.
What happens? That’s something that the great Robert Spencer raised and it’s something you don’t see in the media. You can watch MSNBC, CNN and Fox News. They’ll give you nonstop, 24/7 coverage of the latest Hamas propaganda that 7 billion Palestinian children were killed in the last 2 minutes by Israeli bombs. Courtesy of the statistics from the Gaza Ministry of Health and Rocket Storage.
And, of course, there’ll be lots of videos of airstrikes, but they’re not going to answer the basic question of journalism, what happened in the lead? And that’s something Robert Spencer touched on, what happened in the days and weeks before the attacks. What isn’t the media discussing? Well, let me tell you something you will not hear in the media.
Ten days before the attacks, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire. Did you hear that one in the media? Raise your hands. No. Funny. Well, all the people are screaming, the pro-Hamas protesters are screaming for in the streets: a ceasefire, a ceasefire, a ceasefire. There was a ceasefire in place when Hamas attacked. It was under a ceasefire.
Yeah, it was under a ceasefire. That’s what they want, another ceasefire. Robert Spencer again mentioned the Treaty of Hudabiyya. So there was a ceasefire in place. It had been negotiated ten days before the attacks began. And as part of the ceasefire, Hamas got a bigger fishing zone, more visas for people from Gaza to enter Israel and Israel got a cessation of the violence.
There had been border riots. Explosives have been thrown at Israeli soldiers. Incendiary balloons were being used to set fire to the fields and some of the same communities that were attacked. And after the ceasefire negotiated, by the way, by Qatar, the Islamic terror state of Qatar, which is a state sponsor of Hamas, which is now currently engaged in negotiating to release the terrorists, you can trust them, of course, Hamas pulled back the rights of the borders.
Israelis went into the final days of the high holy day season, believing that everything was okay. There was a light force at the border. Most of the focus was on the West Bank because the violence there has been in the West Bank and Gaza had been fairly peaceful for about two years, at least as far as Hamas went.
Hamas both have credibility to give everybody the impression that it could be trusted to follow its commitments. Of course, Hamas leaders also said that they’d been planning the attack for two years. For those two years, there was a certain amount of quiet because those were the two years that Hamas was planning the attack. Now, here’s a bit of a funny thing.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan had an article in Foreign Affairs magazine this week describing his great diplomatic achievements. Among them was de-escalating Gaza using diplomacy between Israel and Hamas. Now, the funny thing about this article is if you find the print version of the article, you can still find those words there. But online, those words have been erased.
They no longer appear in the article because National security adviser Jake Sullivan is no longer as eager to take credit for this incredible diplomatic achievement because its diplomatic achievement led to the murder of over 1000 Israelis. That’s what diplomacy had accomplished. Now, the thing is, Carter didn’t just play us this way. This time they played us the same way twice.
Carter was the one under whose auspices the agreement with the Taliban was negotiated in Afghanistan, and the Taliban agreed to join a multiparty government and the United States would withdraw from Afghanistan. And the moment the United States began withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Taliban began conquering Afghanistan province by province. And you know what the State Department did? The State Department kept insisting until the very last minute that the Taliban were just building up a leverage to form a multiparty government.
The Taliban conquered a third of Afghanistan, half of Afghanistan. And the State Department kept negotiating with them to form a form of multiparty government. Of course, Carter had managed to pull off the same thing twice within a matter of a few years, but the first time leading to the Taliban conquest of Afghanistan, the second time leading to the brutal Hamas attack and the saw the worst slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.
Have we learned anything from the experience? Absolutely not that we learned anything from the time that Carter was hosting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of September 11th. We went in there to try to get them. The Qataris tipped off. Could we take Muhammad? He was off on a government plane before he could work. So, we learned nothing from that experience because right now we’re still thanking Qatar for engaging in negotiations.
Now, let’s talk about the terms of the ceasefire that Hamas wanted. They wanted a bigger fishing zone. What did they do with that fishing zone? That they go fishing? That they catch some trout? No, they used that to launch a naval invasion of Israel. Now, what about the work visas? And 2021, Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke at J-Street, the anti-Israel lobby group, and he told J-Street that one of the things he convinced the Israelis to do was to make life better in Gaza; to provide work visas to Gazans to come and work in Israel.
After Hamas took over Gaza, Israel logically closed it down because you don’t want people who want to kill you into your country. They only allow people in for medical care. And even that was too much. But in 2019, then in 2021, Israel with significantly expanded the visa program, the work permit program. By 2019, they were allowing in some 12,000 by 20, and by 2021 it was about 19,000.
Under Netanyahu. Unfortunately, they kept the program and they expanded it over to about 21,000. Now they’re finding these work permits all over the place, and those are all now in the bodies of the dead terrorists, because the terrorists knew exactly what who was living in those communities, what their security arrangements were. People who survived in those communities are saying that the terrorists knew who left where, how many kids they had, even if they had a dog.
All those day laborers, they went into their communities. Those day laborers came back as terrorists. They provided Hamas with info on how to attack those communities, how to bypass them, how to kill everybody in there now that nobody sees this attack coming. Of course, they saw the attack coming. We just dismissed it as impossible. Inconceivable. If you actually go back to September, in September the media is reporting that there are border riots on the border and that Hamas is practicing, quote–storming settlements and kidnaping Israelis.
But all the experts, including our experts, come out and they say that Hamas does not actually mean the surge; it’s doing this in order to improve their position, negotiating position for the negotiations, just like up until about a week before Kabul fell. The State Department was insisting that the Taliban were just improving their position for the negotiations. So, we actually saw Hamas doing this in plain sight, but nobody took it seriously because we believe that Hamas was a rational actor, that they were not out to do this.
Again, as Robert Spencer said. These are really the roots of this disaster, because the moment you believe you can trust terrorists, the terrorists have set you up for the kill. And that is the fundamental catastrophe here. And absolutely nobody, none of the people responsible for this, particularly in the State Department, want to claim credit for this, want to talk about how they enabled the terrorists to go into Gaza, to go into Israel from Gaza.
They don’t want to talk about their diplomatic successes, but they’re still doubling down on the idea that there was a negotiated solution, that diplomacy can work with terrorists. And of course, it can never work with terrorists.
The fundamental catastrophe here is that we continue being played the same way, whether it’s by Qatar or whether it’s by Iran, whether it’s by all the various Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors.
We believe that they want the same things that we do. Hamas was getting in $2 million a day from those work permits. And so it was assumed that Hamas would not do anything to interfere with that. But Hamas cares about more than the 2 million and work permits or the bigger fishing zone is killing Israelis. All the Hamas negotiations were aimed at only one thing and one thing alone, and that was being able to invade and Israel and kill as many Israelis as possible.
What we saw was the expression of what Hamas had been all along. Back in the day, Hamas was described as a social work group back when it was operating under the usual Muslim Brotherhood rules as it got more and more violent. We still keep talk. He kept talking about how it wanted some sort of negotiated solution, how it wanted to open up Gaza.
The Biden administration pressured Israel into opening up Gaza to make life better for Gazans. This this is still the thing that they’re obsessed with. Get humanitarian aid into Gaza. Make life better for Gazans, and they are going to turn around. It never works that way because that is not what Hamas wants. It is not what any of the so-called Palestinians want.
It is not what any of the Islamic terrorists that we are up against want. What they want is the absolute destruction of civilization, our civilization. It’s again, as Robert Spencer said, it is their divine and religious mission. We still insist on thinking of the Muslim world as operating by our paradigms. They’re only operating by their paradigm.
When we negotiate with them, we have two choices. We are either appeasing them by negotiating with them, or we are ready to actually fight them and destroy them. There are a lot of lessons from Israel for us. Our borders are far more open than Israel’s was. We are far more prone to trusting terrorists and taking them in.
And if something were to happen on our border, we would be in far more at risk than Israel was. What would happen if 100,000 armed men or 50,000 armed men showed up on our border and started killing us in the same way? Are we ready for it? I don’t believe we are. There’s a lot of things for us to learn from the disaster, from the atrocity, from the catastrophe that happened in Israel.
And there are things for us to learned also from Israel’s response. The Israelis now have decided that they have no choice but to destroy Hamas. We need to learn from that, that we have no choice but to destroy Islamic terrorism. We cannot negotiate with it. We cannot coexist with it. We cannot treat it as a rational actor. We must either go to war and win or we must surrender to it. The Israelis are going to war. Let us go to war as well and destroy it once and for all.
Well, the great Robert Spencer had the pleasure of taking on Islamism and the great Daniel Greenfield had the pleasure of taking on the U.S. government. I have less great pleasure of taking on the Israeli government. I’m a historian and I just wrote a book on this subject, actually submitted it at the end of September, which I call Israel Victory.
As I see it, the Israeli – well, let’s call it the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though it wasn’t called that back in the old days – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict goes back 140 years to 1880 and there are three eras. The first was the era of 1880 to 1948 until the state of Israel came into being, when the Jewish community, the Yishuv was weak but very smart. So smart that in 1948 it was able to defeat six Arab state armies with very small resources.
From 1948 to 1973, 25 years, the Israelis took on the Arab states (Palestinians didn’t matter at that point), Egypt, Jordan, Syria. And it did incredibly well. It had good resources and it used them to the utmost. The 1967 war was arguably the greatest military victory in human history.
From 1973 to the present, the Arab states have receded with only a couple of minor exceptions. The Arab states have not been military engaged against Israel. Instead, the Palestinians have come back and now Israel is the party with the great resources, the F-35s, the high-tech industry, the startup nation. Israel has all the material power. The Palestinians have almost none.
And yet in this third era, the Israelis have gone from enormous cleverness and competence to all-out incompetence. In 1967, when Israelis took over the West Bank and Gaza, the so-called Dayan Policy was put into effect. It said, basically, as long as you Gazans and West Bankers don’t attack us physically, we’re okay with you. You can teach, think, preach whatever you like. We don’t care. Just don’t attack us. And by the way, we’ll help you get richer.
In 1993, Shimon Peres and others at the Oslo Accords built on that and said, we’re going to give you everything you want, a state, a functioning economy. Just leave us alone. And in 2005, Ariel Sharon took it a step further and said, we’re going to leave Gaza. We’re taking some casualties, so we’re going to leave Gaza. We’ll let you run it.
This series of incompetencies in 1967, 1993 and 2005 provides the background for where we are today. The Israelis just didn’t take Gaza seriously. They thought because they’re now strong, they don’t need to pay much attention to this clearly weak adversary. A man I respect very much, Efraim Inbar, a strategist in Israel, persistently called the Palestinians a “strategic nuisance.” Strategic nuisance. They just didn’t take them seriously, Peres said, “Pay attention to what they do, not what they say or think.” So, an Islamic and nationalist fervor built and built, and the Israelis just didn’t pay attention.
The key assumption, which has been alluded to, is the phrase: something to lose. Israeli policy was based on the hope that the administration of Gaza by Hamas and the West Bank by the Palestinian Authority, would be cautious due to having something to lose, whether fishing zones or employment in Israel or other benefits, and therefore they would get tame. The Israelis persuaded themselves of this.
I’ve been arguing with them for years. The security establishment just would not see this. They had what they call The Concept, and The Concept meant enriching Palestinians, placating them, so they eventually come around.
Now the question is what next? Clearly, Hamas needs to be destroyed. It’s going to be difficult. Clearly after that – and I might get dissent from the panel on this – no one wants an Israeli occupation of Gaza. It’s certainly not having the Palestinian Authority, which is almost as bad as Hamas and much weaker than Hamas, take over in Gaza. It’s not having an international contingent come in and take over. Having the Arab states take over will not work. Egypt doesn’t want to take over.
I believe that there is actually something positive that could come out of this tragedy. That is the following: since December 2008, almost exactly 15 years ago, the Gazan population has been used in a unique way. We’re all familiar with the notion of cannon fodder, unprepared soldiers being sent out, for example, in Ukraine. The prison recruits were just thrown in. And how many died? It didn’t matter.
That’s historically quite common. What Hamas did was something unique, as far as I know, which was to use its population not to win on the battlefield, but to suffer privation, to suffer bombings, to suffer injury, to suffer hunger, to suffer death. Every time that happens, Hamas’ stature rises. People globally are out on the streets and on the campuses. Hamas gains money from its supporters. It wins the approval of Iranian overlords in Tehran.
The Gazan population for 15 years has been subjected to destruction and death for Hamas’ purposes. Hamas is not interested in its population except to use that population to further its goals of destroying Israel. That population, I believe, in the course of the 15 years has changed. Not so the West Bank population. The West Bank population remains quite radical, but the West Bank population by and large has pulled back, just wants to live its life.
Therefore, the Israelis have a real opportunity now, presuming they take Gaza and they control Gaza to work with Gazans to set up a police force, to set up an administration and run the place in a decent sort of way, not a great way. I’m not looking for democracy. I’m not looking for friendship to Israel, but just a decent way in the sense that Egypt and Jordan, both of which are ruled by incompetent dictators, are decent places. They’re not sending over missiles to Israel, murderers to murder, but are living quietly side by side with Israel.
Israelis have the chance to build up a cadre of Gazans with whom they can work to create something decent. Then, presumably, they could do the same on the West Bank. So I think something good could come out of this.
But the Israelis are so incompetent. That’s what we’ve seen in the last 20 days. They continue to be incompetent. They had no plan to take over Gaza. That’s why it’s taking so long. So let’s hope they get shocked into competence. But I am not counting on it.
Well, good morning, everybody. Of having learned almost everything that I know about this subject from the three people on this panel. I’m going to try to just round out what they’ve already told you with a couple of other thoughts about what is going on here. I completely agree, though. I think I would characterize it a little bit differently with Robert’s suggestion that we’re in a religious war.
I would suggest we’re in a spiritual war. This is good versus evil. And Western civilization has its flaws. But by comparison with the alternatives, it’s pretty clear that we’re the good and the evil is abounding. What we’re seeing in the Middle East at the moment, I believe, is a function not only of the interests and evil of the immediate actors about which we’ve heard some this morning.
Hamas, notably Hamas is ISIS, as has been pointed out by, among others, the Israelis. Hamas is also the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is also the Taliban. Hamas is also Hezbollah and so on. These are, in short, all people who embrace, yes, a religious program. But as Robert has taught me, it is first and foremost a political program. And I’m speaking specifically of Sharia, the doctrine that impels, among other things, jihad.
And there’s really not a dime’s worth of difference between the various adherence to Sharia and the program that they follow, because it is all governed by that doctrine. And what does that mean? That means it is their obligation to use violence wherever possible to achieve the triumph of Islam worldwide. And that is a big problem because there are a lot of people, not all Muslims.
Let me hasten to add, but an awful lot of them who do believe that that is their obligation as faithful Muslims. And that is certainly the view of the authorities of Islam. So if that were not bad enough, of course, we have the problem that we remain utterly confused about all of that. The president of the United States yesterday met with three representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Now, they’re not billing themselves as such. One is the attorney general of Minnesota, Keith Ellison. Another is a guy who runs Emgage, which is a political action operation with whom Biden met before he was elected and pleaded in exchange for their support and contributions that he would populate his administration with Muslims, meaning they’re Muslims, the Muslim Brotherhood. And then third, a personal favorite of mine was Imam Mohammed Majid.
That may not be a household name, but if you’re following these guys, he is the past president of the largest Muslim Brotherhood front in the United States, the Islamic Society of North America. He is also one of their top influence operators. He serves on the U.S. International Religious Freedom Commission as a presidential appointee. He runs a nine mosque complex, maybe more now, in Northern Virginia, all of them Jihadi. Now it’s stealth jihad here, mostly a term I think Robert coined, but it’s indistinguishable in terms of its agenda from that that is being pursued elsewhere. I did want to introduce just one other piece of this, though. In addition to Iran, which has been, of course, the great enabler of all of this, with its money, with its missiles, with its US government supplied funding, enabling the jihad that we’ve just witnessed and more generally that we’re experiencing.
And will worldwide. But there’s one other element in this, and I’m going to shamelessly in the company of all these authors hold up the book as the minor one, which is outside, is about the guys who I believe have been instrumental in all of this and who are bringing us the Third World War and who are poised to win it.
The way things are going, and that would be the Chinese Communist Party and Communist China has clearly greenlighted the invasion of Ukraine. They’ve greenlighted the invasion of Israel. And my guess is they’ve got a couple more places that they intend to light matches and set off tinder boxes before we get to their invasion, which is coming. And that would be, of course, involving Taiwan.
But I don’t think it’ll be confined to Taiwan because it’s very clear that they regard us as the obstacle to the realization of their totalitarian ambitions, which is to rule the world. And it will be very interesting thing to see how these guys square off, the guys who believe that our law has destined them to be the world hegemon and the Chinese Communist Party who believes Xi Jinping has destined to become that hegemonic.
The point is, it’s not going to be good for us. And I’ll just leave you with this closing cheerful thought of this World war. Unlike the previous two, we’ll have a home front feature to it that is coming, and in part it has been greatly exacerbated by President Biden, who decided to allow the borders to be completely decimated so that any number of what it appears are predominantly unaccompanied military age fit young men, some of whom are from every garden spot in the Muslim world.
And that’s not even counting the 70 to 100,000 that Biden imported from Afghanistan after we surrendered the place to them. But there are, by some estimates, several divisions worth of Chinese People’s Liberation Army special operators who have also benefited from the open border and are now, with your tax dollars disseminated all over the United States. So we are in a world war.
There will be more of these conflagrations. I anticipate maybe Korea, maybe Pakistan and India, maybe Latin America. Who knows? But there will also be a war here and we best be getting ready for it. And we are not at the moment. Thank you.