Liberal attacks on Israel amid the country’s violent clash with Hamas militants in Gaza have the “deep, deep flavor of antisemitism,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday, condemning by name Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for their controversial takes on the bloody conflict.
In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Mr. Pompeo said some key figures in the Democratic party — prominent “Squad” members Ms. Omar and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in particular — are wrong to equate Israel’s military response with the indiscriminate shelling of Israeli cities by Hamas fighters.
“So, for my years in Congress, it was largely the case that support of Israel was a bipartisan effort. And that has changed over these last six or eight years,” said Mr. Pompeo, who served as former President Trump’s top diplomat.
“You have the hardcore folks on the far left, Ilhan Omar, AOC, all attacking Israel in ways that have the deep, deep flavor of antisemitism,” Mr. Pompeo said, referring to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez by her common nickname. “And then you have more mainstream Democrats, too, who simply refuse to support this important geostrategic partner for the United States.”
Both prominent Democrats have made headlines this week for their criticism of Israel. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, took issue with President Biden’s declaration that Israel has an unassailable right to defend itself from attack.
“Blanket statements like these w/ little context or acknowledgement of what precipitated this cycle of violence — namely, the expulsions of Palestinians and attacks on Al Aqsa — dehumanize Palestinians & imply the US will look the other way at human rights violations. It’s wrong,” the New York Democrat wrote on Twitter, referring to the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Ms. Omar also has condemned Israel’s actions, referring to some Israeli military strikes in Gaza as an “act of terrorism” and arguing that too few lawmakers in the U.S. are willing to stand up for innocent Palestinians.
“Palestinian children deserve advocates for their humanity, safety and security. No exceptions,” the Minnesota Democrat said in a Twitter post this week.
Dozens of Palestinians and at least seven Israelis have been killed in the fighting.
More broadly, Mr. Pompeo said Democrats are indirectly fueling the crisis by negotiating with Iran, which is the chief financial backer of Hamas. Biden administration officials are holding indirect talks with Tehran in the hopes of resurrecting the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Mr. Pompeo and others have long argued that the money Iran got in sanctions relief under the JCPOA has enabled the funding of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist outfits in the Middle East.
“Right now as we sit here, the United States is engaged in conversations in Vienna to hand the Iranian regime billions of dollars and go back into the flawed nuclear deal. Every Iranian-backed terror group in the region, Hezbollah, the Shia militias in Iraq, you see with Hamas in the Gaza Strip … Those terror organizations know that they are about to be flush with cash,” Mr. Pompeo said.
“This policy of appeasement of Iran is destabilizing in the Middle East, and the fact that Democrats don’t understand that, I find shocking,” he said.