Hamas's Useful Idiots
Members of the Squad dodge questions.
In today’s Morning Shots:
MAGA’s threats backfire this time
Jim Jordan fails (again)
The rush to judgment in Gaza
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We really don’t know who first said that “A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” It wasn’t either Mark Twain or Winston Churchill, but it still seems relevant, even though it comes from that simpler time before social media, viral news, and the vast modern apparatus of disinformation and bullsh*t.
Hopefully, by now you know how misleading this was:
The NYT’s headline, which relied on Hamas propaganda, was bad enough but, writes Cathy Young in today’s Bulwark:
The initial New York Times story about the “Israeli strike” was accompanied by a photo of a severely damaged building which one could reasonably presume to be the hospital after the strike; in fact, it’s not only an entirely different building but one located, as the text on the photo reveals, in a different city (Khan Younis, about fifteen miles away).
It wasn’t just the NYT.
The evidence now (overwhelmingly) suggests that the explosion at the hospital was not an Israeli strike, but rather an errant rocket fired by Islamic Jihad terrorists. Much of the rest of the story put out by Hamas has also been debunked.
But not before the street was inflamed, Arab leaders cancelled their meeting with the president, and the usual suspects rushed to judgment.
The journalistic fiasco was an example of the media's tendency to adopt the Palestinians' narrative about the conflict with Israel, even when that narrative is unsupported by the facts. In this case, there were geopolitical consequences: U.S. Democratic lawmakers and Arab leaders condemned Israel for the bombing, Jordan canceled a planned summit with Biden, and riots broke out in the West Bank and elsewhere in the Muslim world.
The media stumbles can be attributed to the “fog of war,” and most of the outlets have since corrected their stories and headlines.
But the political reaction was worse.
Here’s the Squad’s Rashida Tlaib, who not only amplified the Hamas claim, but also seemed to blame Joe Biden for the carnage.
Despite the new evidence, she is doubling down. “Tlaib refuses to apologize for blaming Israel for Gaza hospital blast, attacks Biden.”
She is also dodging questions. NR’s John McCormack writes:
On Tuesday afternoon, Democratic congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar rushed to Twitter to repeat Hamas’s claim that Israel had bombed a Gaza hospital, killing 500 civilians, as though it were a fact….
Twenty-four hours after posting their false claims blaming Israel, Omar and Tlaib still haven’t deleted them. In the Capitol on Wednesday, both Omar and Tlaib were unwilling to answer any questions from National Review about their decision to post and stand by misinformation that has incited riots around the world.
Fellow progressive John Fetterman isn’t having it. “It’s truly disturbing that Members of Congress rushed to blame Israel for the hospital tragedy in Gaza,” he posted Wednesday. “Who would take the word of a group that just massacred innocent Israeli civilians over our key ally?”
Exit take: Kudos to Biden for quickly correcting the record.
Bully Pulpit Update: “Biden to address nation after Israel trip, says 'I got it done' on aid to Gaza.”
Jim Jordan’s threats are backfiring
Several GOP lawmakers went public Wednesday with complaints about death threats and other intimidation aimed at them and their staff after voting against Jordan for speaker. Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) all issued statements. Jordan and his allies have used conservative media to pressure colleagues to back his bid for speaker. Jordan condemned the threats toward members, but it still hurt his efforts inside the conference to win over wayward Republicans.
[Since] my vote in support of Chairwoman Granger, I have received credible death threats and a barrage of threatening calls. The proper authorities have been notified and my office is cooperating fully.
One thing I cannot stomach, or support is a bully.
How is it going for the guy that former GOP speaker John Boehner described as a “legislative terrorist”?
The Wapo’s headline today bluntly reads: “Jim Jordan won’t be the next speaker.”
One House Republican told Jordan to his face Wednesday that he will never be speaker, one Republican aide said. It was a blunt assessment delivered with certainty. Since then, others have directly encouraged him to stand down.
1. Hey, House Republicans: It’s Time to Govern
Despite the cost they have already paid, the Republicans who defied the pressure must piss off their party more. Because it’s not enough to reject Jordan. Now it’s time to govern.
This is not a request for bravery in the face of Trump tweets. There is an urgent vacuum in American leadership that must be filled by patriots who appreciate the peril this moment represents.
We need a gang of the good.
2. Why the GOP Can’t Unite
There is no longer a cohesive Republican Party. There’s a pre-Trump GOP and a post-Trump GOP, living together uneasily. They may be roommates but they’re not married.
Which is why it was unintentionally unironic for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), after watching 20 Republicans oppose his candidacy for speaker, to lament what could come next in the House. “No one in our conference wants to see any type of coalition government with Democrats,” Jordan told reporters after the first vote Tuesday.
Yet that’s precisely what his own conference has become — a would-be coalition government, if under the same banner. The fitful and still fruitless negotiations that have taken place since Kevin McCarthy’s ouster two weeks ago are closer to a European-style coalition-led parliament struggling to be born than a factional dispute within an American party.
3. The Lessons of 9/11 Can Help the U.S. Dismantle Hamas
Among the other apposite lessons from the post-9/11 experience: Adherence to the rule of law is essential to maintaining the credibility of the nation executing the war. The shameful abuses of Abu Ghraib, enhanced interrogation techniques, and interminable detention at Guantanamo Bay cannot be repeated.
The Israeli government needs to direct its energy toward conducting the war on Hamas on the ground. Moreover, Israeli civilians and civil society all need to mobilize in support of that war effort; this will be a multi-generation, all-of-country effort to defend itself and support their warfighters. One of many ways the United States can play a useful role is by taking on the location, apprehension and prosecution of Hamas leaders and operatives in the court of law, under circumstances where some of those individuals may be located in countries where military activities are unrealistic or impossible.