Former President Barack Obama backtracked Friday on his early support for Israel against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, telling an audience at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum in Chicago that they had pushed him to modify his position.
“I had a conversation with a group of you around this issue, and you were passionate and pushed me around some of the public statements I’d made,” Obama told a group of activists and supporters. He said that all agreed on the desired outcome — ” an end to the killing, peaceful coexistence between two sovereign and free peoples” — but that people disagreed on the way to achieve it.
Left unsaid: the fact that Hamas does not want “peaceful coexistence,” nor do the pro-Palestinian demonstrators, in cities and on college campuses, who celebrated the Hamas attack and called for the State of Israel to be destroyed, “from the river to the sea.”
Initially, as Breitbart News reported, Obama had supported Israel “as it dismantles Hamas,” which it is now doing, in Gaza.
All Americans should be horrified and outraged by the brazen terrorist attacks on Israel and the slaughter of innocent civilians. We grieve for those who died, pray for the safe return of those who’ve been held hostage, and stand squarely alongside our ally, Israel, as it…
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 9, 2023
Subsequently, Obama began to backtrack, criticizing Israel for the way it was fighting the war, implying that Israel was ignoring the “human costs” of the war. On Friday, Obama acknowledged that he had backtracked in response to criticism within his own foundation, and said he was committed to a “two-state solution” and an end to “occupation” — though Israel left Gaza in 2005.
Obama did not make a moral distinction between the Hamas attack and the Israeli response, saying that both were the result of the ongoing failure to reach a solution to the conflict, rather than the result of an unprovoked act of mass murder by terrorists.
He then went on to say that his “democracy forum” would help the world build a better future, in the Middle East and elsewhere.
A day later, on Saturday, Obama said that “all of us are complicit” in the violence in Gaza, putting the various “truths” told by the different sides on an equal plane, and again criticizing the Israeli “occupation” — an occupation that has not existed for decades.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.