Joe Scarborough's 'Asinine' Attack on Israel

Joe Scarborough's 'Asinine' Attack on Israel

Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, claimed Thursday that he is a “100% supporter of Israel,” but that Israel’s “continued killing of women and children, in a way that appears to be indiscriminate, is asinine.” 

The truth, self-evident in Scarborough’s rant, is that he is no friend of Israel–and that he knows nothing about the Hamas terror group, either, which he described as merely “corrupt” and not actually “a radical Islamist group.”

Scarborough’s basic claim–that Israel is killing Palestinian civilians indiscriminately–is demonstrably untrue. Israel is going to extreme lengths to protect civilians in Gaza–not only warning them in advance of attacks, but calling off many attacks when too many civilians were present, and evacuating wounded civilians to hospitals in Israel. (One Palestinian woman saved by Israeli soldiers even prayed for their safety from her hospital bed.)

Col. Richard Kemp (Ret.), the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, recently commended Israel for its protection of civilians. “Three days ago,” he told an interviewer, “I spoke to an Israeli pilot that told me that the same morning he had aborted an enemy target a total of 17 times because there were civilians in the target zone, and eventually he abandoned the operation.” No other military matches Israel’s record, he notes.

Evidently, Scarborough buys the Hamas-inflected mainstream media spin on recent events in Gaza, blaming Israel for attacks on a market and UN school that cost many civilian lives. He ignores Hamas’s own culpability–placing weapons in UN schools, firing weapons from civilian facilities, launching rockets that misfire and hit Palestinians–which led Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper to assign blame, correctly, to Hamas itself.

Scarborough’s claims about Hamas are even more ridiculous. What is Hamas, if not a “radical Islamist group”? 

Perhaps Scarborough is confusing Fatah and Hamas: the former is typically cast as corrupt, though not Islamist (although Fatah has enthusiastically supported Hamas throughout the war). Or perhaps he is echoing faulty U.S. military intelligence conclusions, which suggest that something worse than Hamas could replace it in Gaza.

In reality, Hamas–which executes anti-war demonstrators and kills Palestinian children forced to dig terror tunnels–is as bad as it gets. As counter-terrorism scholar Amichai Magen argues: “Those…who seek to preserve Hamas’s rule in Gaza under the false guise that it is somehow the lesser evil, understate Hamas’s perniciousness and effectively condemn millions of Israelis and Palestinians to a future of perpetual conflict and misery.”

Someone who is a “100% supporter of Israel” would not presume Israeli guilt or minimize the evil that Israel faces. It is interesting how Israel’s most vicious critics lately feel compelled to shroud their slander with absurd superlative claims. “I take a back seat to no one in my hostility to Hamas,” said Peter Beinart on July 28, before bashing Israel on CNN. Likewise, Scarborough says he deserves a “gold-plated” key to the city of Tel Aviv.

These boasts echo President Barack Obama’s own style, perhaps unconsciously, which is to claim he is the most outraged person in America at whatever scandal emerges–and then to shove that scandal under the rug. True defenders of Israel rarely indulge such puffery. 

Scarborough is not a supporter; he is not even well-informed enough to have a serious opinion. He is kicking Israel when it is down–and, effectively, supporting Hamas rule.

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