Chris Van Hollen, Ari Emanuel Use Dubious Quote to Attack Netanyahu

Van Hollen

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) used a dubious quote Tuesday in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing to attack Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, implying the latter had backed Hamas to prevent a Palestinian state.

Van Hollen has stood out among fellow Democrats in his opposition to Israel since October 7. His party, too, has shifted leftwards on the issue, but Van Hollen’s own criticisms are more strident and uncompromising than most.

Van Hollen was questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was testifying about the State Department budget.

He said:

So — I want to read to you something else that now-Prime Minister Netanyahu said back in 2019 at a Likud [Party] meeting, and this has been well-reported [sic], and I quote: “Anyone who wants to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state needs to support strengthening Hamas. This is part of our strategy to divide the Palestinians between those in Gaza and those in Judea and Samaria.”

A source close to Netanyahu who spoke to Breitbart News denied the authenticity of the quote.

Van Hollen also ignored the fact that the vast majority of Israelis oppose a Palestinian state — a reversal from a decade ago — because of Hamas’s repeated campaigns of terror.

But he made a more basic mistake: the Netanyahu quote itself does not appear to be authentic.

It was cited in an opinion article in the UK Guardian, which in turn linked to a Vox article, which in turn cited a column in Ha’aretz, a left-wing Israeli daily newspaper, whose writers hate Netanyahu.

The quote in that column appears to be derived from secondary stories — that is, people who said they heard Netanyahu say something like it.

Several different versions of the quote exist. Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel cited it on Wednesday evening in a speech in which he called for Netanyahu to resign:

Here’s what [Netanyahu] said in 2019: “Whoever opposes a Palestinian state must support delivery funds to Gaza because maintaining separation between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Emanuel, like Van Hollen, did not cite the source of the quote.

Ian Bremmer, a left-of-center political commentator, cited a similar quote in October 2023:

The Israeli government had been pressured, years ago, to allow Qatar to send funding to the Hamas administration in Gaza. It agreed, given that Hamas was theoretically responsible for the humanitarian needs of the civilian population, and given concerns at the time that Hamas could be replaced by the so-called “Islamic State,” or ISIS, if it collapsed.

The funds sent to Gaza were also meant to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe on Israel’s borders. If basic services such as water and infrastructure were not funded, there were concerns that diseases in Gaza could have hurt Israel.

But there is no evidence that Netanyahu purposefully funded Hamas with the intent of preventing a Palestinian state.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.