Commentary on Political Economy

Sunday 7 April 2024



Democrats Play Into Hamas’s Hands

April 7, 2024 2:52 pm ET

Journal Editorial Report: Paul Gigot interviews Clifford May of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Images: Bloomberg News/Zuma Press Composite: Mark Kelly

The late, great Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis liked to quip that while it is dangerous to be America’s enemy, it can be fatal to be its friend. That sad wisdom comes to mind as leading Democrats increase their pressure on Israel to end the war against Hamas before the terror group is defeated.

The latest sunshine ally is Nancy Pelosi. The former House Speaker joined a letter signed by 40 House Democrats urging President Biden to stop transferring weapons to Israel. In the wake of the mistaken bombing on a relief convoy, the Members write, “we strongly urge you to reconsider your recent decision to authorize the transfer of a new arms package to Israel, and to withhold this and any future offensive arms transfers until a full investigation into the airstrike is completed.”

You’d think the U.S. never made a mistake that killed civilians in wartime. They ignore the Hellfire missile attack that killed seven children as the U.S. sought to avenge the deaths of 13 Americans in Kabul as Mr. Biden pulled U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021.


Israel has a history of accountability for such mistakes, and officers in charge have already been cashiered. That’s more than can be said for the U.S. failure in Afghanistan.

Mrs. Pelosi joins Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Bernie Sanders and others in urging conditions on U.S. support unless Israel obeys their military commands. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has ordered the Israeli people to elect a new government, pronto.

This pressure from his left explains Mr. Biden’s sharp turn against Israel’s elected coalition government, with his own implied threat of a weapons cutoff. Never mind that denying weapons to an ally in the middle of a war is the definition of betrayal. The growing Democratic animosity toward Israel may even endanger the party’s support in the House for the Ukraine-Israeli aid bill (see nearby.) GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene would be elated.

Democrats have a history of abandoning friends in hard times. Their aid cut to South Vietnam in 1975 doomed millions to re-education camps or death in rickety boats on the South China Sea. Democrats were gung-ho for the Iraq war before the going got tough, and they opposed the crucial and successful 2007 U.S. troop surge. The flight from Afghanistan has led to the revival of ISIS-K and the re-oppression of women and girls.

Democrats claim to be looking out for Israel’s best interests, but that’s for Israelis to decide. The threats to withhold weapons from an ally must overjoy Hamas, whose strategy of hiding behind civilian deaths is the real source of Gaza’s humanitarian tragedy.


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Appeared in the April 8, 2024, print edition as 'Democrats Play Into Hamas’s Hands'.

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