As the Israel-Hamas conflict rages on, it appears that the Israelis have lost Joe Scarborough as a trusted ally. On the July 31 edition of Morning Joe, the former Florida Congressman ripped Israel for their “indiscriminate” attacks upon Gaza, and feared that this would only cause the conflict to worsen in the future.
Following Ayman Mohyeldin’s pro-Hamas reporting on the issue, Scarborough reacted to the news that an Israeli rocket reportedly hit a UN school in Gaza: [MP3 audio here; video below]
I'm sorry. This is just – this is asinine. This continued killing of women and children in a way that appears to be indiscriminate is asinine. It is bad. Of course, it's tragic for the Palestinian people. It is bad for the Israeli people.
Scarborough wondered how long this violence could go on before the conflict radicalized a whole generation of Palestinian children:
I mean, we will rue the day that this is happening every day and women and children are being seen. Because you know what? As much as we all hate Hamas, what is going to replace Hamas is going to be much worse. It's going to be a radical Islamist group instead of just power hungry corrupt people that despise Israel.
Apparently Scarborough believes that Hamas is nothing more than a “power hungry corrupt people” that hates Israel, rather than the terrorist group many Western nations – including the United States – have labeled them. The Morning Joe host went so far as to say that Israel “has made them not only relevant again, but champions of the Palestinian people.” There was no mention of Hamas’s role in starting the conflict and no mention of their use of human shields to protect their caches of rockets, including their habit of muscling their way into UN hospitals and schools to turn them into weapons depots.
Morning Joe contributor and Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace offered a slight rebuttal, stating the obvious fact that Israel would “quibble” with the notion that their air strikes on Gaza are indiscriminate.
Scarborough then refused to back down from his point, once again asserting that the attacks were indiscriminate. He questioned just how long America could continue to support the state of Israel if these air strikes continued: “But you know what? The United States of America, you know, we cannot be associated with this if this continues. This is so bad, not only for the Israeli people, but for us.”
The relevant portion of the transcript is below.
July 31, 2014
6:04 a.m. Eastern
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, co-host: Separate strike in Gaza left 11 members of one family dead, including eight women and two children. Joining us now from Gaza, NBC News foreign correspondent, Ayman Mohyeldin. Ayman.
AYMAN MOHYELDIN: Good morning, Mika. Just before you came to us actually right behind me, about a mile or so down that road on the other side of the refugee camp, there was a strike. The smoke was just billowing. We’re not yet sure what the intended target was. But right now, we just heard it, we saw it, and we saw the smoke billowing as a result of it. It gives you a sense the operation is still very much ongoing. There has been no lull in the fighting that has been taking place here. Israel has continued to carry out strikes throughout the course of the night and into the early morning according to Palestinian sources, both health officials and Hamas's political wing. At the same time, that incident that happened yesterday, one that is drawing international condemnation from the United Nations and human rights experts. That attack at the UN school who have heard the Israeli response saying that there was fighting taking place in the vicinity of the school, the reaction from international human rights organizations and others is that is simply not enough. That to say fighting taking place in the vicinity of the school is not legitimate reason to target the school itself. But in addition to that, yesterday, also later in the afternoon, another very deadly incident taking place at the (inaudible) market. One that killed at least 15 Palestinians that, again, Palestinian sources were blaming on Israeli shelling of the area and according to witnesses there, was consistent with artillery fire but so a very bloody day yesterday and one, as of now, seems to be very much in the same way. Mika.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, co-host: Ayman, Joe Scarborough here. So you have the attacks of course on the UN schools even after the United Nations warns Israel 17 times not to have the strikes there. There is not the ambiguity that there was at a previous attack that we all were talking about where Israel gave four days warning. And then in this crowded marketplace as well, a popular marketplace, another attack there. Is there, is there anyplace, if I'm a father, and I've got young children, is there any place I can go in Gaza to protect my family?
AYMAN MOHYELDIN: Joe, the short answer to that is absolutely not. And we have documented this on more than one occasion. We have interviewed families and, in this case, fathers who have taken their families out of neighborhoods that the Israelis told them to leave. They followed the Israeli military's instructions. They came into Gaza City, which is the more upscale city in Gaza strip, home to 500,000 people. They thought that they would be safe. They took refugee in buildings, buildings that they are staying with relatives and families sometimes up to 60 in a single apartment. They thought they would be safe, but it turned out that there was, in that apartment, or in that apartment building, or that apartment complex or on that street a target that the Israelis wanted to target. Unbeknownst to them, the building was hit and this one father lost his two children, his wife, his sister, his entire extended family. There are stories like that all over Gaza City. The short answer, Joe, is no.
SCARBOROUGH: And Ayman, that is a man, and I read your article, I saw your report, that’s a man that did exactly what the Israelis wanted him to do. Exactly. He moved to the right place. He stayed out of the war zones. He did everything he could to protect his wife, and I think she was a pregnant wife and family, and they were all killed in an air strike. There is Willie, literally no place. Ayman, go ahead. I'm sorry.
MOHYELDIN: And Joe, this was a guy, this was a guy who is educated. He is not a member of any political faction here. He worked at a bank. He had traveled abroad. He had the option to go work abroad but wanted to stay here in Gaza to be close to his extended family, raise his kids here despite the challenges. He really had hope for Gaza, but at the end of the day he has now lost his entire family. And people will tell you, what does that mean for a future generation of Palestinians. How is all of this trauma going to harden the beliefs of Palestinians who the international community constantly tries to nudge into reconciling and making peace with Israel when a father like this loses his family and now his own feelings are going to be challenged and hardened by all of this.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much, Ayman. Just incredible reporting by Ayman. Nicolle, let me ask you. I mean, we never talked about Israel before. I've always been, like, 100% supporter of Israel. The joke in Congress was anytime I wanted a key to the city of Tel Aviv I could get a gold-plated one. I'm sorry. This is just – this is asinine. This continued killing of women and children in a way that appears to be indiscriminate is asinine. It is bad. Of course, it's tragic for the Palestinian people. It is bad for the Israeli people. I mean, we will rue the day that this is happening every day and women and children are being seen. Because you know what? As much as we all hate Hamas, what is going to replace Hamas is going to be much worse. It's going to be a radical Islamist group instead of just power hungry corrupt people that despise Israel. This is such a nightmare that is unfolding and the biggest nightmare is that Hamas was on the run. The Arab states hate Hamas. And Israel has made them not only relevant again, but champions of the Palestinian people. This is – this tragedy just keeps unfolding and it keeps getting worse.
NICOLLE WALLACE, former Bush staffer: Well I think the Israelis would quibble with the description of it as indiscriminate killing. I mean, they have been all over the airwaves articulating exactly what they are doing before a strike. But you’re right.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, they blew up a market – a popular marketplace yesterday. They blew up a UN school where there were 17 warnings. 17. That is indiscriminate. And you know what? We share Israel’s values a hell of a lot, a lot more than the people that they are bombing. But you know what? The United States of America, you know, we cannot be associated with this if this continues. This is so bad, not only for the Israeli people, but for us.
WALLACE: And the article that Willie references is stunning to me. I mean, when President Bush was in office and violence erupted, as it often does in this part of the world, there was a whole lot of criticism. It was immediate. It was swift and it was harsh on Israel.
WALLACE: From these nations, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE. Now, the disdain and the fear for Hamas and for the Muslim Brotherhood in the region exceeds all of the moral outrage about what they're seeing, what you described.