Biden Claims Israel’s Response to Hamas Is ‘Over the Top’
In a press conference late last week, a reporter asked President Joe Biden how he thought Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has handled the Israeli-Hamas conflict. In response, the president said, “I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response … in the Gaza Strip has been over the top.”
His remark on Thursday received immediate backlash. And yet, on Friday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre sent more mixed messages, stating that Biden has “been clear that the U.S. wants to see the Hamas terror organization defeated.” She added, “That is a shared goal that we have with Israel.” As a result, many continue to be skeptical — and confused — about where the Biden administration stands.
“I don’t think anybody could ever go ‘over the top’ in their response to Hamas after what they did in the first place on October 7th,” said Lela Gilbert, senior fellow for International Religious Freedom at Family Research Council, on “Washington Watch.” Despite Biden’s comment during the press conference, Gilbert urged people to think back to how he responded to the initial attacks several months back. “[I believe it] was quite genuine, and it appeared to be from the heart,” she said.
The atrocities committed against more than 1,200 Israelis were gruesome and have resulted in sons and daughters being deployed to unknown battle grounds and families having to uproot from their homes. Gilbert lived in Israel for over 10 years and saw smaller “wars and uproars,” but she stated that “there’s been nothing like this [attack] … since Israel became a country.” She added, “[A]ll that to say, I think Biden responded well at the beginning.” But since the beginning, Gilbert emphasized, it appears Biden has “changed his tune” as more input is given.
“If there is any part of this … that is over the top, it is Hamas,” former congressman and guest host Jody Hice argued, along with the suggestion that Israel “does not have the right to defend themselves.” But Biden’s comment shouldn’t be surprising, he added, since he has “dropped the ball in many regards [to] foreign policy.” In addition to the war in Israel, Gilbert recently highlighted how there are thousands of Nigerian Christians being slaughtered every day that Biden seemingly ignores, noting that despite the push for him to designate Nigeria as a country of particular concern (CPC), he’s done nothing.
Gilbert emphasized that “radical Islam” is the “common denominator” in both the war in Israel and the persecution in Nigeria. “And nobody really talks about that because, we don’t want to insult [anyone],” she said. “But the fact is … it’s all coming from the same source. It’s coming from radical Islamists with different names on their militias and so forth.”
What’s happening in Nigeria has “been ignored,” Gilbert contended. “And these are slaughterhouse cases. They’re all October 7th.” She added that not all of this hostility is happening to the same degree, but the sexual violence, murders, and destruction are all shared in these areas under attack, “and the survivors are left with nothing.” Ultimately, Gilbert concluded, “[I]t’s all part of the same game.”
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.