(April 20, 2018 / JNS) Why does Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren keep putting her foot in her mouth over Gaza?
The state’s senior senator responded to the Gaza violence last week with this statement: “I am deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries in Gaza. As additional protests are planned for the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.”
I don’t know who is advising the Democratic senator when it comes to Gaza, but it’s remarkable how many misstatements are packed into that little two-sentence comment.
Let’s start with her “concern about the deaths and injuries.”
The Gazans who have been killed were military-age men. Many of them are documented members of the Hamas terrorist organization. And even the ones who were not known to be official Hamas members were engaging in very Hamas-like behavior—by throwing firebombs and rocks at the Israelis on the other side of the fence, and burning tires as a smokescreen in the attempt to reach the border fence to infiltrate Israel.
Some of the Gazans who were injured were likewise throwing firebombs and rocks. More recently, they flew lit kites to burn nearby Israeli fields and forests. Some of them were injured from tear gas or gunfire because they chose to venture into a live-fire battle zone—a battle that Hamas has initiated, organized and sponsored.
I’m disappointed that the senator did not express any “concern” about a terrorist regime busing thousands of women and children to a site where some of them will inevitably be hurt.
Sen. Warren went on to defend “the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.”
A line like that would have worked in, say, the 1940s, when most Americans didn’t have television sets. But who’s kidding who? Anybody with eyes has seen the video footage of Palestinian mobs rushing towards the Gaza fence, hurling Molotov cocktails and rocks, and using sling shots and even catapults. No reasonable person can call them “peaceful protesters.”
And what exactly are they “protesting”? The Gazans have openly proclaimed that they want to tear down the border fence so that they can overrun Israel, which they call “Occupied Palestine.” They are not “protesting” some Israeli policy. They are “protesting” Israel’s very existence. Shouldn’t that elicit some “concern” from the senator?
Warren also took Israel’s soldiers to task. She demanded that they “exercise restraint” in the face of mobs trying to murder them. If mobs of firebomb-throwing foreigners were trying to storm across one of America’s borders, I doubt she would lecture our border guards to “exercise restraint.” There’s no justification for her giving such advice to America’s ally.
The irony, of course, is that Israeli soldiers do exercise restraint, often risking their own lives to avoid harming enemy civilians. Yet despite taking such risks, they find themselves excoriated by Israel’s relentless critics.
Four years ago, another comment by Sen. Warren about Gaza caused a stir. She was speaking at Tufts University outside Boston. At the time, Hamas was firing thousands of rockets into Israel, and the Israelis were striking back. A woman named Eva Moseley, who claimed to be “a Holocaust refugee,” rose during the question period and said she was “extremely concerned that Jews don’t do to another people [in Gaza] what was done to them.” In other words, Israel was carrying out a Holocaust in Gaza! Moseley asked the senator if it was “fair” to raise that question.
“I think that’s fair,” replied Warren.
But Ms. Moseley was not merely raising a question. She is a virulent opponent of Zionism. She has, among other things, signed an online petition calling Zionism “colonialism” and accusing Israel of “racism and genocide.” Her question to Sen. Warren was a way of making a point.
Remember how former Gov. Howard Dean said the notion that President George W. Bush knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks was “an interesting theory”? Remember how Donald Trump said he was “just pointing out” a National Enquirer report claiming that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was connected to Lee Harvey Oswald?
Those are rhetorical devices people use to make a point when they don’t want to take responsibility for their point. It’s “just a question” or “an interesting theory.” They’re just mentioning what somebody else said; they themselves didn’t say it. But, of course, they did.
Sen. Warren could have slapped down that Gaza-Holocaust analogy. She didn’t. She called it a “fair” question. She could have told the truth last week about Gaza. She didn’t. She chose to falsely call the rioters “peaceful protesters.”
A United States senator should be more careful with her words.
Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.