This 2024 - Let's Win the Battle of Headlines
OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

An annotated guide to American Middle East madness

From Robert Malley to Antony Blinken to John Kerry, some selected quotes documenting America's insanity regarding the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before flying to Israel and Jordan on Oct. 11, 2023. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before flying to Israel and Jordan on Oct. 11, 2023. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/State Department.
Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services.

Take note that a trapped Hamas in extremis will go to desperate lengths to survive, from trying to prompt lone-wolf killings in Western cities to drawing in Arab nations to share in their jihad to enlisting Western elites and expatriate Muslims both to deny it is a murderous organization and simultaneously to cheer on its macabre killing.

In this regard, the anti-Jewish nature of Iran and Hamas (read its 1988 Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement) should have been obvious, but Westerners suffered from a pathological desire to be deluded. But to aid Israel in overcoming the current genocidal agendas of its enemies, we should remember first how we in the past have unfortunately contributed to this nightmare.

What follows are some brief annotated quotes of American Middle East insanity. Consider our late point man in Iran, and supposed Obama-era expert on Hamas and Islamic State, Robert Malley (2008):

It is “a mistake to only think of them [Hamas] in terms of their terrorist violence dimension.”

Was it a mistake to envision the Third Reich also in terms only of its “terrorist violence,” given that it also promoted a green agenda?

Malley also included Hamas in his groups of terrorist organizations that “are social and political movements, probably the most rooted movements in their respective societies.”

I agree that Hamas is certainly the “most rooted” of the movements in Gaza and perhaps the West Bank as well. And I concur that it is not a mere aberration in Palestinian society but reflects its collective “rooted” values.

“There is so much misinformation about them,” said Malley.

Please elaborate: does your “misinformation” include things like our ignorance of the fact that Hamas likes to rape Jewish women and desecrate the dead bodies of Jews?

“I speak to them and my colleagues speak to them [Hamas], and now we may disagree with them, but they have their own rationality … none of them are crazies,” he said.

Can you please provide transcripts of those occasions when you and your colleagues (also then in the Obama administration?) spoke to Hamas? That was also quite big of you, Mr. Malley, to note that you “may” disagree with Hamas. Was it over which of their killing methods is the most effective?

I agree that Hamas certainly has its own “rationality.” Its recent murder of more than 1,300 Jews—the vast majority civilians—during a religious holiday, which followed a year-long carefully-planned blueprint for mass death and counted on the near-criminal naivete of Western diplomats, might rival the “rational” genocidal agendas of, say, the SS.

As for “crazies”—do you mean that Hamas does not crazily fantasize about extermination, but carefully and rationally carries it out? If so, I concur.

“It has a charity organization, a social branch; it’s not something you can defeat militarily either, and people need to understand that,” according to Malley.

All of these statements would have equally applied to the Nazi party. It too was a “political movement” (which did not preclude its use of systematic murder). It too had its own “rationality” (kill Jews and destroy elected governments). It too had “a social branch” and “even charities” (all the better to disguise its murderous agendas).

And, yes, one can defeat Hamas “militarily,” as the Allies did Nazi ideology. And yes, “people need to understand” that it is quite possible to ensure that Hamas murders no more.

John Kerry at Davos in 2016:

“I think that some of it [the millions released to Iran by the Obama administration] will end up in the hands of the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—the terror specialists of the Iranian armed forces] or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists.”

As for “are labeled terrorists?”—Mr. Kerry, does your use of “labeled” mean that Iranian terrorists are terrorists in name only?

“You know, to some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.”

To “some degree”? If American money cannot be prevented from being used by Iranians for terrorism, then does “some degree” mean only 50,000 missiles sent to Hezbollah and Hamas rather than 100,000? Or does “some degree” perhaps mean, someday, 1,300 Jews murdered—rather than, say, 130?

“There is no way they [the Iranian theocracy] can succeed in what they want to do if they are very busy funding a lot of terrorism.”

But Mr. Kerry, what do you think Iran really wants to do? Isn’t Iran “busy” building nuclear bombs, not subways and hospitals? And their nuke program is complementary to, rather in place of, their vast terrorism budget. Or do you mean that if Iran spends the money on terrorism, they won’t have enough funds to complete building their nuclear-tipped missiles?

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (2023):

“We have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship.”

At what upcoming date do you think you will need to amend this ridiculous declaration—in the same fashion you just deleted your recent tweet calling for a ceasefire the moment Israel was posed to strike back?

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price (2023):

“Since April of 2021, we have demonstrated in very real and significant terms our commitment to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people. We’ve provided over $890 million for Palestinians, including over $680 in humanitarian assistance for refugees in the region through UNRWA. … When Secretary Blinken was in Ramallah, he announced another $50 million in funding for UNRWA.”

You certainly did show your commitment to the needs of the Palestinian people, which in the case of Gaza resulted in the most sophisticated, reinforced concrete labyrinth of military tunnels in history, given the plethora of imported building materials purchased with fungible Western dollars to prepare for the mass murder that we just saw in southern Israel.

U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns:

“The Trump administration’s decision to end U.S. assistance to Palestinian refugees is wrong on every level … heartless and unwise.”

What was wrong on every level, and certainly heartless and unwise, was the Biden State Department’s nihilist decision in the very moments of taking power to resume the flow of hundreds of millions of fungible dollars to the Palestinians, much of which no doubt ended up in increased spending for rockets and tunnels.

Note that in 2021 the Biden administration was warned of just that danger by its own state department—and was ignored by diplomats such as yourself: “We assess there is a high risk Hamas could potentially derive indirect, unintentional benefit from U.S. assistance to Gaza.”

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates