JERUSALEM – The Hamas and Hizbullah terrorist organizations have “legitimate claims” that are being “weakened” by the violence the terror groups carry out, Sen. Barack Obama recently stated in largely unnoticed remarks in The New York Times.
Speaking in May with columnist David Brooks, Obama said the U.S. needs a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of problems and dangers.”
The presidential hopeful said both Hizbullah and Hamas need to be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.”
Brooks was speaking to Obama for clarification on an earlier statement the Illinois senator made implying Lebanese militias should be tempered with enticements.
Regarding Hizbullah, Obama earlier declared: “It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.”
Brooks took issue with that statement, writing it has the “whiff” of “appeasement.”
“Is Obama na?ve enough to think that an extremist ideological organization like Hizbullah can be mollified with a less corrupt patronage system and some electoral reform?” asked Brooks, who said he called on Obama to clarify his remarks.
Obama who has repeatedly condemned Hamas as a terrorist organization that should be isolated until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel, immediately affirmed that the organization is “not a legitimate political party.”
Instead, “It’s a destabilizing organization by any common-sense standard. This wouldn’t happen without the support of Iran and Syria.”
He then continued by stating Hamas and Hizbullah violence weakens the groups’ “legitimate claims.”
Hamas’s official charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of the Jewish state. It also calls for Muslims to “pursue the cause of the Movement [Hamas], all over the globe.” The terror group has carried out scores of deadly suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks against Israelis.
Obama previously was embroiled in controversy regarding Hamas after Ahmed Yousuf, the terror group’s chief political adviser in the Gaza Strip, said in an interview in April with this reporter that he “hopes” Obama becomes president.
In the interview with Brooks, Obama went on to defend his policy of engaging with Iran.
“If your opponents are looking for your destruction it’s hard to sit across the table from them,” but, he continued, “there are rarely purely ideological movements out there. We can encourage actors to think in practical and not ideological terms. We can strengthen those elements that are making practical calculations.”
Obama’s comments about “legitimate causes” of terror groups and “root problems of causes and dangers” seemed to echo remarks he made eight days after 9/11 in an article published in Chicago’s Hyde Park Herald.
In that article Obama wrote that the attacks were carried out because of a lack of “empathy” for others’ suffering on the part of al Qaeda, whose terrorist ideology “grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.”
Obama went on to imply that the attacks were, in part, a result of U.S. policy, warned the American military to minimize civilian casualties in the Middle East and urged action opposing “bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent.”