On Thursday’s Morning Joe, the show’s liberal panelists were still reeling from the aftermath of President Trump’s speech yesterday publicly pledging to uphold Jerusalem’s status as the capital of Israel. MSNBC’s morning pundits were not upset at the violent protests being orchestrated by Palestinian authorities though. Instead, they blamed Trump for “setting the Middle East on fire.” Host Joe Scarborough was especially mad at Trump, pounding his fists on the news desk as he complained that Trump’s decision had now prevented Hamas, the terrorist Palestinian political party that rules the Gaza Strip, from becoming “more mainstream so we can bring peace to the region.”
Muslim feminist and founder of the nonprofit Women For Women International Zainab Salbi, who was a guest on the show, took her own opportunity to whitewash Palestinians’ long history of supporting genocidal terrorism by lying that “Palestinians have never claimed anything towards West Jerusalem.” In fact, for decades, Palestinian media and politicians have regularly called for destroying Israel by reconquering it for Arab Muslims.
Halfway through the first hour of their broadcast, Morning Joe brought on Salbi to discuss the fallout from Trump’s Jerusalem pledge:
SCARBOROUGH: So talk about the impact across the Middle East and talk about actually the historical opportunity that we had been seeing over the past three or four years with the rise of Iran, what that meant for Sunni Arab countries who suddenly did not see Israel as their grea- --as the greatest threat.
SALBI: It's true. Well, few things here. First, we have to remember that actually, it was President Obama who did acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He just never activated the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem and he didn't do that for security reasons. It is not an easy job to move the embassy to Jerusalem. This actually jeopardize [sic] the security, well-being of our personnel. So, one thing. Second, second thing is here, a lot of Israelis are against what President Trump said actually,-
SALBI: -a lot of it.
Actually, not right Joe, not at all. Although there are no polls of Israelis’ reaction to Trump’s speech available yet (at least in English), past polling indicates pretty clearly that Israeli Jews not only strongly support Jerusalem’s status as their capital, but they are some of the President's strongest supporters abroad.
Back in May, when the President appeared to be backtracking on his promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israelis’ belief that Trump was more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian “sank” from 79% to 56%. However, even this drop in support was temporary. After Trump visited Israel later that same month, 61% of Israelis returned to saying that Trump was more pro-Israel.
It’s very hard to imagine that Trump’s speech, which moves U.S. policy further in the direction of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, will make Israelis less supportive of Trump.
Salbi continued by railing against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “right-wing government” and suggested that they are a “fundamentalist regime” in a manner similar to the Iranian government, Lebanese terror group and political party Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Authority, which is run jointly by Fatah and Hamas:
SALBI: This serves the right-wing government of Netanyahu. It doesn't serve Israel. It serves a very particular right-wing government in here. So that, we -- let's remember that, and even Israelis are not pro-that because it jeopardizes their interests, it jeopardizes America’s interests. It just immediately took America as a, as a neutral player that can bring all, all sides together and it just eradicated America's credibility in that. So I don't know what Jared Kushner is thinking about, about Arabs trusting him and getting back onto the table. This just got erased in here.
SCARBOROUGH: [trying to cut in] He’s, he’s thinking, he’s thinking, he’s actually thinking about doing what -- he thinks he’s doing what Israel wants. He’s not thinking about the Middle East.
SALBI: Right-wing Israel here. Now we have to remember, this issue – Israel, Jerusalem, Palestine, all of that – is constantly being played by fundamentalist regimes and fundamentalist parties in the region.
SALBI: They use it to justify and legitimize their own, you know, militias, whether Hezbollah, whether Iran, all of these things. So that feeds into the fuel that they are -- it feeds into the fire they already use to mobilize the public.
Perhaps constant Palestinian state-sponsored propaganda calling for killing Jews and praising terrorist murderers as heroic defenders of Palestine is “feeding into the fire” of the conflict a bit more than presidential speeches. According to Palestinian Media Watch:
Palestinian political, religious, and social frameworks justify and promote violence and terror. On the one hand, Imams on Hamas and PA [Palestinian Authority] TV, political leaders and even children routinely express calls for future terror attacks against Jews and Israel. Citing the inherent evil Jewish nature, they proclaim that it is an Islamic and Palestinian duty to defend against the immediate threat and kill Jews.
On the other hand, the PA and Hamas actively glorify terrorists, particularly suicide terrorists, praising the killer and the act of killing as righteous and honorable.
Never mind, I’m sure this is all Trump’s fault somehow.
Later on in the same segment, Scarborough certainly came to this conclusion as he angrily lamented how Trump’s speech would prevent Hamas from becoming “more mainstream” and blamed the President for “strengthening” Hamas’s base of power:
Well you know, it is, it is important to note -- you know, people like Jeb Bush came out in support of this move. There are a lot of people who supported this move. I know back, back when I was in Congress, I'm sure I signed one resolution after another to move the embassy to Jerusalem. So much of that though for me was -- and by the way, my Chief of Staff always joked, just, just to put it out on the table here, he said: Joe, any time you want a key to the city of Tel Aviv, we can handle that for you. [panel chuckles] ‘Cause I was as pro Israel as you could get.
But everything I always did was about the deal, to push, to pressure, to bring the two sides together. And if the Palestin- -- which, by the way, the Palestinians at some point need to move to a point where they recognize Israel's right to exist. They're not gonna do that now. You’re not gon-, all -- you know, you have Hamas, who’s been in a weakened state for years, and every time Hamas has their back up against the wall, it happened a few years ago, [pounding the news desk] every time Hamas has its back up against the wall and maybe be [sic] more mainstream so we can bring peace to the region, the United States or Israel does something that feeds into their power, strengthens their base, and allows them to keep saying: We will never recognize Israel's right to exist.
Joe, how exactly would you define a group of genocidal terrorists going “more mainstream”? In the Palestinian Authority, it is already “mainstream” to have kids on TV waxing lyrical about blowing up Jews and waging jihad on Israel. Do you seriously believe that groups like Hamas that promote those sorts of destructive views can ever be politically moderate?
Salbi responded to Scarborough by reinforcing his argument, once again promoting the idea that Palestinians are just reasonable and responsible political actors who “have never claimed anything towards West Jerusalem” and simply want East Jerusalem for their own personal “emotional” benefit:
SALBI: That does that. But also, President Trump did not actually change any legal status in here.
SALBI: He kept it vague.
SALBI: Palestinians have never claimed anything towards West Jerusalem. They only wanted East Jerusalem, which is significantly important emotionally,-
SALBI: -emotionally for the 350 Arabs, Muslims and Christians, and the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. That’s what it does, it just fuels the emotions, exactly what you said. It just working into the psyche of, of right-wing people who wanted that. But it also -- it fuels the emotions in the street. It doesn’t change anything legally, actually.
In reality, Palestinians have claimed not just West Jerusalem, but all of Israel, for themselves [author’s note and emphasis mine]:
Ibrahim Mudeiris: There is no land we love as we love the land of Palestine. If the Jews hadn't expelled us from you, with their planes, tanks, and weapons, and with the help of all the [Arab] doublecrossing, we would never have left you, Palestine! But we say what the Prophet said - that he would return to [Mecca] because Allah promised him this. Allah promised him that he would return to Mecca as a conqueror. We say to you Palestine: 'We will return to you, Allah willing, we will return to you,' We will return to every village, every town, and every speck of soil, which was irrigated with the blood of our forefathers, and the sweat of our fathers and mothers. By Allah, we will return.
This does not mean that if we agree to return to the 1967 borders, we relinquish the Land of Palestine. No! I ask you: Are we entitled to the 1967 borders or not? Of course we are. Then let's return to them by any means possible. We may be able to return to the 1967 borders through politics, but to the 1948 borders, we will never return through politics. As for the 1948 borders – no-one in the world recognizes our right to them. Therefore, let's return to the 1967 borders, and this would not mean that we will relinquish Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle, or Tel Aviv [author’s note: all cities located in Israel, including some within pre-’48 borders].
Statements like those above are not exactly hard to come by. How did Salbi get away with spreading such blatant disinformation?
Whatever the explanation might be, it was honestly quite disturbing to see Morning Joe reduced to pro-terrorist propaganda and apologia.