Although he allowed that there is no justification for Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, former U.S. President Barack Obama appeared to equate the massacre to what he said was Israel’s “unbearable” treatment of Palestinians.
In the interview on Pod Save America, a podcast run by four alumni of Obama’s administration, the former president said, “If there is any chance of us being able to act constructively to do something, it will require an admission of complexity and maintaining what on the surface may seem contradictory ideas.”
He went on to explain that “what Hamas did was horrific, and there is no justification for it. And what is also true is that the occupation, and what’s happening to Palestinians, is unbearable.”
Also true, he said, “Is that there is a history of the Jewish people that may be dismissed unless your grandparents, or your great-grandparents, or your uncle or your aunt tell you stories about the madness of antisemitism.”
At the same time, he continued, “There are people right now who are dying who have nothing to do with what Hamas did.”
“And what is true,” Obama continued, “I mean, we can go on for a while.”
He said that one can pretend but can’t really speak the truth on social media. He added that “nobody’s hands are clean” and that “all of us are complicit to some degree.”
According to Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, it is Obama that is complicit.
When Israel faces “a barbaric attack from Hamas, Obama blames Israel,” said Brooks.
“It is Barack Obama who is complicit in the death and suffering over the last month in Israel and in Gaza. His policies and those of President Joe Biden put billions of dollars into Iranian coffers, money used to fund and train Hamas and other terrorist groups whose stated goals are the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of Jews,” he continued. “Obama’s attempt to dilute his own culpability in this situation doesn’t change the facts.”
Gilead Ini, a senior research analyst at the Committee For Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) watchdog, wrote that both the structure of Obama’s comments and their timing were “amoral.”
“The equivalence between Oct. 7 and a geopolitical conflict (one that’s unsolved and no small part because Palestinian rejection of peace) minimizes the horrors of the former,” wrote Ini. “We have most months of most years to pontificate about the occupation. Not now,” he added.
“On the one hand, children, grandparents and civilians [were] kidnapped, slaughtered en masse, burned and beheaded a few weeks ago. On the other hand, the land swaps in Olmert’s 2008 peace offer left 0.7% difference between Israeli and West Bank lands exchanged. Stop,” he said.
“Gaza, by the way, wasn’t occupied on Oct. 6,” he noted.
According to Israeli philosopher Yoram Hazony, it was Obama’s “complexity” theory that led directly to the current situation in the Middle East.
“Yes, he’s right about his own ‘complicity.’ He created this hell with his own hands,” wrote Hazony. “Obama’s theory of the ‘complexity’ of the Middle East—from which he concluded that Iran needs to be strengthened so it can ‘balance’ Israel,” led directly to the current crisis, he continued.
Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, called the former president the “Israel-hater-in-chief,” and Abraham Foxman, the former Anti-Defamation League leader, called Obama’s remark that no one has clean hands “simplistic arrogance.”