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August 20, 2014 6:32 pm

Why Does President Obama Condemn ISIS But Ask Israel to Accept Hamas in Unity Government?

avatar by Alan Dershowitz

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Masked demonstrators rally in the Hague to support ISIS, but call for the death of Jews. Photo: SWC.

Masked demonstrators rally in the Hague to support ISIS, but call for the death of Jews. Photo: SWC.

President Barack Obama has rightfully condemned the ISIS beheading of American James Foley in the strongest terms.  This is what he said:

“There has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of the kind of a nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is group like (ISIS) has no place in the 21st century. Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security a set of values opposite of what we saw yesterday. We will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and stability.”

At the same time that President Obama has called for an all-out war against the “cancer” of ISIS, he has regarded Hamas as having an easily curable disease, urging Israel to accept that terrorist group, whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, as part of a Palestinian unity government. I cannot imagine him urging Iraq, or any other Arab country, to accept ISIS as part of a unity government.

Former President Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu have gone even further, urging the international community to recognize the legitimacy of Hamas as a political party and to grant it diplomatic recognition. It is hard to imagine them demanding that the same legitimate status be accorded ISIS.

Why then the double standard regarding ISIS and Hamas? Is it because Hamas is less brutal and violent than ISIS?  It’s hard to make that case. Hamas has probably killed more civilians—through its suicide bombs, its murder of Palestinian Authority members, its rocket attacks and its terror tunnels—than ISIS has done. If not for Israel’s Iron Dome and the Israeli Defense Forces, Hamas would have killed even more innocent civilians.  Indeed its charter calls for the killing of all Jews anywhere in the world, regardless of where they live or which “rock” they are hiding behind.  If Hamas had its way, it would kill as least as many people as ISIS would.

Is it the manner by which ISIS kills?  Beheading is of course a visibly grotesque means of killing, but dead is dead and murder is murder.  And it matters little to the victim’s family whether the death was caused by beheading, by hanging or by a bullet in the back of a head.  Indeed most of ISIS’s victims have been shot rather than beheaded, while Hamas terrorists have slaughtered innocent babies in their beds, teenagers on the way home from school, women shopping, Jews praying and students eating pizza.

Is it because ISIS murdered an American?  Hamas has murdered numerous Americans and citizens of other countries.  They too are indiscriminate in who they kill.

Is it because ISIS has specifically threatened to bring its terrorism to American shores, while Hamas focuses its terrorism in Israel?  The Hamas Charter does not limit its murderous intentions to one country.  Like ISIS it calls for a worldwide “caliphate,” brought about by violent Jihad.

Everything we rightly fear and despise from ISIS we should fear and despise from Hamas.  Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas—at the very least until it rescinds its charter and renounces violence.  Unfortunately that is about as likely as America rescinding its constitution.  Violence, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism are the sine qua non of Hamas’ mission.

Just as ISIS must be defeated militarily and destroyed as a terrorist army, so too must Hamas be responded to militarily and its rockets and tunnels destroyed.

It is widely, and in my view mistakenly, argued by many academics and diplomats that there can never be a military solution to terrorism in general or to the demands of Hamas in particular.  This conventional wisdom ignores the lessons of history.  Chamberlain thought there could be a diplomatic solution to Hitler’s demands.  Churchill disagreed.  History proved Churchill correct.  Nazi Fascists and Japanese militarists had to be defeated militarily before a diplomatic resolution could be achieved.

So too with ISIS and Hamas.  They must first be defeated militarily and only then might they consider accepting reasonable diplomatic and political compromises.  Another similarity between ISIS and Hamas is that if these terrorist groups were to lay down their arms, there might be peace, whereas if their enemies were to lay down their arms, there would be genocide.

A wonderful cartoon illustrates this:  at one end of the table is Hamas demanding “death to all the Jews!”  At the other end is Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu.  In the middle sits the mediator, who turns to Netanyahu and asks:  “Can’t you at least come half way?”

No democratic nation can accept its own destruction.  We cannot compromise—come half way—with terrorists who demand the deaths of all who stand in the way of their demand for a Sunni caliphate, whether these terrorists call themselves ISIS or Hamas.  Both are, in the words of President Obama, “cancers” that must be extracted before they spread.  Both are equally malignant.  Both must be defeated on the battlefield, in the court of public opinion and in the courts of law.  There can be no compromise with bigotry, terrorism or the demand for a caliphate.  Before Hamas or ISIS can be considered legitimate political partners, they must give up their violent quest for a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

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    RIGHT ON!!! A.D. 🙂

  • Walter

    Twenty years ago, the US mediated a peace agreement between one of her allies and a terrorist group. Today that group has disarmed, it’s leaders are serving in the government, and there is peace in Northern Ireland. Gerry Adams was a despicable man who authorized the murder of both Catholic and Protestants in the interest of seizing power. But the alternative of refusing to negotiate with the IRA would have had worse consequences.

    Countries like the United States are willing to negotiate with terrorists, if these negotiations have the chance of bring a sustainable peace. As bad a group as Hamas is, they are not as militant as Al-Qaeda or as ISIS. Their leaders are not massacring entire villages of Israelis, Shias, or other minority religions, and their rhetoric doesn’t match their actions. Which is why the US is trying to convince Israel to accept Hamas in a unity government.

  • Judy Silver-Shapiro

    obama is the most hostile-to-ISRAEL and the JEWISH people sitting US Pres in history.
    He has never attempted to hide his contempt for the JEWISH people as he is obsessed with ‘getting JEWISH money and votes’ in the past and currently for him and his immoral ANTI SEMITIC posse.



  • martin

    The answer is very simple..”Hussein” is an anti semite and an icompetent President..

    • Yonah

      Hamas will attack Israel because Ashkenazi Jews are NOT the true Jews of the land!

    • Yonah

      Israel left looking one way and came back looking like Khazars.. Read Harold Rosenthal’s interview – The Hidden Tyranny”.. and listen to former Zionist Benjamin H Freedman’s speech
      hese secular zionist are not Jews, but Khazars and Khazars never converted to Judaism, just the King and the elite of the country. The Rothschilds are not true Jews. They funded Hitler, sacrificed some Jews to gain power. These people are Luciferian worshipers. Wars don’t start until they create them… The way they took control of the land was wrong. HaShem is against these Zionists, Luciferian worshipers.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Obama has a very serious mental problem.

    His constant and consistent failures both domestic and international have completely unhinged an already far from stable mind.

    Now he has taken to running away from the problems he created and is hiding behind pretenses of holidays and golf games.

    His irrational contradictions, his innumerable repetitions, his turning on his friends and allies, bespeak a tormented mind that should be relieved of its duties forthwith before he can cause more harm and damage than he has already.

    Mickey Oberman

  • @Tutu? Did u see him on the str shouting abt Syria. Do u know how Mugabe calls him? The evil bishop. Do u think it is for nothing.

  • James Rowland

    I appreciate your writings because they are not rooted in ideology and are not a product of being on the left or the right. Rather, they are rooted in reason. Having said that, the article doesn’t really come to grips with Obama’s stance on Israel. A few years ago a friend and I were walking to work and he asked me if I thought Obama was an anti-Semite. I hesitated a bit, but finally said, “no.” I am not certain at all I would give the same answer today.

  • Frank Lee

    Cognitive dissonance is the only answer. Though President Obama isn’t leading the liberal herd in this case, it’s silly to blame him for his rhetoric asking for peace. The American shipments still keep arriving in Israel by his allowance.

  • Tzipporah

    When it comes to the Jews and Israel the world has a different standard.
    Eric Hoffer
    Before the Sabbath, p.6-7
    A world that did not lift a finger when Hitler was wiping out six million Jewish men, women and children is now saying that the Jewish state of Israel will not survive if it does not come to terms with the Arabs. My feeling is that no one in this universe has the right to and the competence to tell Israel what it has to do in order to survive. On the contrary, it is Israel that can tell us what to do. It can tell us that we shall not survive if we do not cultivate and celebrate courage, if we coddle traitors and deserters, bargain with terrorists, court enemies and scorn friends.

  • Rabbi Menashe Bovit

    Obama condemns ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State while coddling Hamas. But why? This article broaches but does not grapple with or even attempt to solve the conundrum. The reason has much to do with oil, as it is the reason for much of U.S. foreign policy. In fact oil tilts European policy far more as Europe is far more dependent on Arab/Muslim oil than the U.S. which has it’s own and other sources of the fuel the world still runs on. Many States fear ISIL, including Arab States (that fear ISIL grabbing their oil, however ISIL’s main backer is Qatar an oil kingdom that also bankrolls Hamas) and ISIL puts on a good show with the beheading and all. So they are easy to condemn. The Arab/Muslim world is a very xenophobic and paranoid. They have a big chip on their shoulder concerning the world of “infidels”. By being hypocritical and cynical and criticizing Israel for their efforts at self defense dealing with Hamas, which is of course equally vicious and evil as ISIL but focuses on killing Jews and destroying Israel, Obama bleats to the Arab/Muslim world (that has all that oil) that the U.S. is not against Muslims, just ISIL, “See we sympathize with the “Palestinian cause”, look we have condemned Israel, we love Muslims. It is all about oil politics.

  • Muhammad

    The first step is to learn to distinguish between right and wrong: Christians and Jews reject killing children to further their religious ends, ISIS, Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, etc. don’t. If we can’t admit that to ourselves, then we should expect the blood of children to flow freely in our streets.

  • This could be a multiple choice question.
    1)because he’s stupid 2)because he’s an antisemite 3)because he’s a Muslim sleeper agent 4)because he thinks he can make his legacy at Israel’s expense choose one or all of the above. Hamas wants to destroy Israel and kill Jews everywhere. This is fact. All else is just commentary.

    • Ruth

      Well said Henry all too true. So sad that the President of the United States is so pathetic and is totally unwilling to confront the situation and condemn
      ISIL and its cohorts.

    • Caryn

      All of the above

  • Fred

    Obama is in a quandary by sending attacks against ISIS for capturing & beheading an American & wows to defend American interests. However his tune changes when Israel is defending itself from a similar menace Hamas & its cohorts. Don’t do as I do, but do as tell you. A hypocrite as one can be. He should send Kerry to talk to ISIS.

  • Martin Bookspan

    Answer to the headline question: Because he’s a witless fool!

  • martin

    with leaders like we have in the west today we don’t need enemies muslims clerics around the world are calling for the death of jews and Christians and I haven’t heard 1 leader mention this but in ww2 we bashed hitler why is anyone afraid t say islam is a political movevent the ayatollah of iran is commander in chief of the military what does that make the shia faith

  • Issac ben David

    It seems to me that as Hamas and isis, have been receiving all of our attention, there is a far greater Evil who has remained relatively quiet.
    Iran a festering malignant cancer which has a far greater agenda, Nuclear capability !
    What is happening in Gaza,Syria and Israel maybe a smoke and mirror diversion for Iran to work harder in creating G_d forbid an Atomic weapon.
    We hear and know far less what is happening in this closed theocracy than we should, they fund Hamas and Isis every other fringe anti-Israeli group.
    But ask yourself why no news, not a whisper from Iran other than the obligatory support of Terror!
    Where does the greater terror exist ? 1600 medium range rockets or 1, 100 megaton atomic bomb.

  • Richard Wahl

    This article says it all. The world and its leaders must realist Hamas and ISIS are a cancer to the world, and like any cancer must be destroyed. Weather an attack on America, Europe, or Israel this cancer Isis and Hamas must be fought by freedom loving people and destroyed. WE the free nations of the world must band together as allies to destroy this cancer that is a danger to the whole world.

  • Alison Weston

    Hamas to be a political party? This has to be the most absurd idea. Israel has made so many concessions and as
    Governor Huckaby said there have been no concessions of any sort from the Palestinians, so enough is enough Israel must now take back Gaza and those marauding Palestinians must find somewhere else to live – how about a nice Arab state where they will feel really at home.

  • Siggy

    Abselutly agree.
    Why Why Why? in the last few weeks, i wake up every morning with the same puzzeled wonder … what exctly is it that the world ignores the ‘Charter of Hamas’?
    how worrying is it that Israel is condemmed instead? Will justice win?

  • David Chetakian

    President Obama’s stance on these matters can not be made clear by looking at it in a logical and fair perspective. You waste your time by doing this. One must look at it from the perspective of a communist/Natzi having a specific agenda. There is no truth in this man or his administration. Their adgenda is power and control.

  • Efram Paul

    Why? That’s easy. Hamas’ enemy is Israel and ISIS’ is not.

  • Evidences accumulates that Obama has some relations with the Muslim Brotherhood. That would explain a lot of things, like his “defense” of Hamas (but also the Bengazi affair). Since the 9/11 events in America, if not since Kennedy assassination, there are many unsolved mysteries in the US. The fact that cannabis is still in schedule 1, despite many medical use of it have been discovered, is also very mysterious, and shows that the “war on drug” is not a serious activity. Then the signature by Obama of the NDAA 2012 gives the feeling that the “war on terror” is itself something weird. If there were a real concern with respect to terrorism, I think that the prohibition of drugs would be have been stopped a long time ago, as it is a fuel of terror and criminal behaviors.

  • Lauren Goldman

    The bias is obvious; the world would like to see the end of Israel: two thousand years of Jew-hatred is reaching its culmination. It is gradually dawning that if the existence of Israel weren’t necessary to the fulfillment of Christian prophecy it would most likely have ceased to exist. They love the State of Israel; individual Jews, not so much.

  • Sonia Willats

    Agreed. Hamas must be defeated militarily; THEN one can deal with Gaza on a diplomatic and political level. Many in Gaza do not support Hamas, but cannot speak out. In the SAME WAY THAT THE NAZIs HAD TO BE DEFEATED MILITARILY before the madness of their racial idealogy could be tackled. In this way the same ‘sheeple’ who turned a blind idea to the concentration camps then denied knowing of their existence.

    Desmond Tutu is building up a huge debt with the only true G-d. What a pity that a man who played such a positive role in Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa has taken upon himself to stir people up to huge and active hatred against G-d’s people. He should be confronted at every level – via the Archbishop of Canterbury and at every level. Joel 3. Arch. Tutu cannot claim ignorance as an excuse, though I doubt he ever believed in the texts over which he presided.

    I HATED APARTHEID. I love Israel. I declare that Israel is NOT AN APARTHEID STATE. I lived under Apartheid and have lived in Israel.

  • Dr. Zhivago

    “There has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of the kind of a nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is group like (ISIS) has no place in the 21st century. Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security a set of values opposite of what we saw yesterday. We will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and stability.” So said President Obama.
    20 minutes later he was on a golf course playing with Alonso Mourning! I guess this was much more important!!

  • steven L

    Easy to explain: Ed. Said and R. Khalidi are spiritual leaders to our Pr, at the time he was at Columbia and thereafter. Then he has as we all know, a Muslim father (who neglected him: great example for a son!!!). Third he is supported by the American left who more and more shows its true colors. The left of every country becomes soon or later antisemitic. History shows it. Fourth, he stated that this country was no more Judeo-Christian. Does he plan to promote Islam for the US?

  • Mireille Mechoullam

    Well response to Obama and the European union.

    Thank you Mr Dershowitz.

  • Jeremy Brown – Europe

    Just like the Gazans deserve to be rid of Hamas, Iraq of Isis, so do Americans deserve to be rid of Obama.

  • Wm. J. Levy




    Sound familiar?

  • Scott

    You’re getting better and better in your old age!…..:-)

  • Does that answer the Question?

  • Do that answer the Question?

  • Sam Vaknin Analyzes Barack Obama (Part 3)
    Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the US government.

    FBI, Justice Department and Homeland Security purged of all Agents that believe the “Muslim Brotherhood” to be dangerous.

    Muslim Brotherhood White House Staff:
    Rashad Hussain, Huma Abedin, Daliah Mogahed, Kifa Mustapha, Momamed Elibiary, and Mohamed Magid.

    See Part 8: Team Obama & the Islamists | The Muslim Brotherhood in America (this goes to lecture 9, so go back to 8)

    Part 8: Team Obama & the Islamists The Obama administration has greatly exacerbated the penetration of the U.S. government achieved during the George W. Bush administration. This part of the course will concentrate on illustrative examples of Muslim Brotherhood-associated individuals who have bee…
    Contact your representative in congress and demand an investigation and Vote!

    Frank Gaffney is the Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.