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NY governor apologizes to Palestinians for comparing Canada, Hamas

The geographical comparison was “inappropriate analogy” and “poor choice of words,” Kathy Hochul told “The New York Times.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo by Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo by Lev Radin/Shutterstock.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul apologized in a statement to The New York Times on Friday night for an “inappropriate analogy” and “poor choice of words” in making a geographical comparison between Hamas and Canada.

“If Canada someday ever attacked Buffalo, I’m sorry, my friends, there would be no Canada the next day,” Hochul said in a speech on Thursday night to the UJA-Federation of New York. “That is a natural reaction. You have a right to defend yourself and to make sure that it never happens again. And that is Israel’s right.”

The governor apologized not for slandering Canada and comparing it to a terror organization, but instead for, as the Times put it, implying “that Israel would be justified in destroying Gaza because of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.”

“While I have been clear in my support of Israel’s right to self-defense, I have also repeatedly said and continue to believe that Palestinian civilian casualties should be avoided and that more humanitarian aid must go to the people of Gaza,” Hochul told the Times.

Warren Kinsella, a non-Jewish Canadian columnist and author, who is a strong supporter of Israel and who is penning a book about rising antisemitism after Oct. 7, saw things differently.

“Kind of a weird thing to say,” he wrote, of Hochul’s suggestion of Canada attacking Buffalo.

“I do note, however, that her predecessors attacked us at three different spots in 1812, and we defeated them,” he added. “Decisively.”

Many pro-Israel advocates have made similar comparisons to the one that Hochul made—suggesting that Americans would think differently if a terror organization, either in Mexico or Canada, was regularly firing rockets into U.S. cities.

“I wonder why there’s shock over Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza. Imagine the U.S. response if Mexico kidnapped and killed hundreds of Americans,” Sacha Roytman, CEO of the Combat Antisemitism Movement, wrote on Oct. 27.

“Think of France’s reaction to Belgium if they were attacking French citizens and firing thousands of rockets. Nations act to defend their citizens and neutralize threats,” he added. “This is what Israel does and don’t be surprised.”

Danny Ayalon, former deputy Israeli foreign minister and former Israeli ambassador to the United States, wrote that then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made the same comparison in March 2001, when he accompanied Sharon on his first meeting with then-U.S. president George W. Bush at the White House.

“The meeting was during the height of the Second Intifada. 9/11 didn’t yet occur and Sharon wanted to be sure Bush understood Israel’s need for self-defense: ‘Mr. President, you were governor of Texas,’ Sharon said, ‘Imagine if Mexico fired rockets over the border into Texas,'” Ayalon wrote.

“‘If that was the case,’ Sharon added, ‘I’m sure in one hour, there would be no more Mexico,'” Ayalon added. “There was an awkward silence, then Bush shook his head. ‘Why?’ Bush asked. ‘Why what?’ Sharon replied. ‘Why 1 hour?’ Bush exclaimed, ‘In 10 minutes, there would be no more Mexico!'”

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