In an appearance Sunday on the Qatar-based news station via Zoom, former Trump White House official Jason Greenblatt sparred with an Al Jazeera journalist after she blamed Israel for Hamas’ terror attack against Israeli civilians last week.
Greenblatt, who served as the White House Middle East Special Envoy during the Trump administration, was asked in Arabic about Israel’s retaliatory strikes and whether a “resolution” can be reached if the Israeli military commits “atrocities against civilians in Gaza” in response to the barbaric attack by Hamas earlier this month that left hundreds of Israelis dead and ignited a war in the region.
Greenblatt rejected the host’s use of the word “atrocities” in this context, calling it a “false question.”
“If you’re suggesting that any country, Israel or anyone else, when they go into another country because they need to take care of those that attack them, that that’s considered an atrocity, I find that question a false question” Greenblatt replied, according to a translated version of the exchange.
“If a country is attacked and its citizens are murdered, the government of that country has no choice but to defend its citizens,” he continued. “Yes there will be casualties, very tragically, there will be many Palestinians and of course Israelis who lose their lives, but if you’re suggesting that Israel should just sit back and say ‘sure come and kill us and we won’t do anything,’ I don’t know of any country that would do that. I don’t think any Arab country would allow another country to come in, do what they did to their citizens and then say, well there will be casualties, so we can’t defend ourselves.”
The exchange later went off the rails when the host appeared to characterize Hamas’ brutal attack against Israel as a “consequence” of Israel-occupied settlements and Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership.
“There are a lot of victims now,” the host told Greenblatt. “The Biden administration was the most transparent criticizing Israeli settlements and Netanyahu’s right-wing government and warned of consequences. Now, we got those consequences. Is it right to blame the responsible party of this scenario and the result?” she asked.
Greenblatt, astonished at the insinuation, pulled no punches in his response.
“So let me understand what you’re saying. You’re saying that because there’s a land dispute, or other problems between two societies, Israeli and Palestinian, that it’s okay for hundreds or thousands Hamas terrorists to go in and burn babies, and decapitate people and rape women and drag them into captivity? Is that what you’re saying? That a land dispute allows civilization to unravel and people can commit those types of atrocities? I just want to make sure I get what you’re actually asking,” he replied.
The host pushed back, arguing that Greenblatt had misrepresented the question before doubling down on the issue. She again noted the Biden administration’s past criticism of Israel’s settlement activity and Biden’s position on Israel’s “extremist ministers,” like Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, claiming that Biden had warned of “consequences” over Israel’s policy and divisive rhetoric on the issue.
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“Now these consequences have happened,” she repeated.
The U.S. condemned Ben-Gvir in August for “inflammatory” comments after he said that the Jewish “right to life” trumps the rights of Palestinians in the West Bank. After taking heat from the State Department, Ben-Gvir said his comments were misunderstood and that he had been referring to Israeli settlers’ rights to protection from Palestinian terrorist attacks.
“Israel has a democratically elected government, I don’t agree with Ben-Gvir’s comments,” replied Greenblatt, “but I’m not sure what that has to do with the barbaric actions that were committed by Hamas. I’m really not understanding your question.”
The host interjected, “Extremism leads to extremism. That’s the simple context of the question.”
“Do you think Ben-Gvir’s comments, even though some of them may have been hateful, are on the same level as butchering Jews?” Greenblatt fired back. “I’m flabbergasted. I don’t understand… If Ben Gvir says things that are anti-Palestinian, which I don’t agree with either by the way, does that mean that Palestinian terrorists have a right to go in and slay Jews?”
Of course she does. She is a propagandist for Islamic Jew-hatred.