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By Robert McElvaine
President Biden’s outstanding speech on Tuesday spoke the plain truth from the start: “There are moments in this life — and I mean this literally — when the pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world.” He referred to “the bloody hands of the terrorist organization Hamas — a group whose stated purpose for being is to kill Jews” and named it what it is, “an act of sheer evil.”
His remarks contained many words and phrases that accurately reflect the enormity of the act:
Yet, there are many who refuse to condemn this pure evil. Several student organizations at American colleges and universities condemned Israel and supported Hamas. Two examples:
There is no excuse for such failure to condemn pure evil.
Yes, Benjamin Netanyahu is a corrupt politician who has aligned himself with right-wing
religious extremists who are misogynists, racists, and complete opponents of freedom—and worse. He has made many bad moves over his long career. His attempts to save himself from prison by ending the independence of the Israeli judiciary split Israel apart and almost certainly weakened the nation’s capabilities in intelligence and military response. Yes, Israel is far from perfect. Building settlements on seized territories is wrong.
None of that means that there is one iota of justification for the murderous terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas. Hamas is a hate group. It is completely anti-democracy and does nothing for the Palestinian people other than rile up hatred. It has no interest in improving the lives of the people. It has no interest in a two-state solution and peaceful coexistence. The only sort of peace they seek is a Carthaginian peace—one of the utter annihilation and slaughter of an entire people.
As Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League correctly put it on Andrea Mitchell Reports on Tuesday, Hamas doesn’t seek a two-state solution. “Hamas has pressed for a Final Solution.”
Lanny Davis well summarized what Hamas is in a piece on RealClear Politics on Tuesday.
Hamas openly states its hatred for Jewish people. Its position on Jews is indistinguishable from that of the Nazis. They boast about slaughtering and torturing innocent people—beheading children, executing captives. Credible reports of what Hamas did to its victims are reminiscent of what happened in such massacres as that at Sand Creek in 1864, or countless pogroms, or slaughters by the followers of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and numerous others.
Netanyahu ≠ Israel
Hamas ≠ the Palestinian people
Like the United States, Israel is a democracy. It values human rights, women’s rights, and the good. As we do, it falls short. As in the United States, there is a dangerous anti-democracy force operating there.
Hamas doesn’t even pretend to believe in any of these values.
So, unless you would excuse the Holocaust, genocide, enslavement, rape, lynching, and so on, don’t dare try to excuse Hamas. No “whataboutism,” no “both sides do it,” no “very fine [or very bad] people on both sides.”