In most people’s lists of humanitarian organizations, Hamas is unlikely to make the cut.
Unless the person compiling the list is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). During an appearance Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, the host asked Pelosi if she thought Israel should be doing more “to protect civilians in Gaza.”
Pelosi responded (in part), “We have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization.” In fairness, Pelosi did not exactly say she considers Hamas a humanitarian organization; she said the Qataris told her it was.
Unsurprisingly, once the quote percolated to the surface of Twitter, Pelosi’s people fired up the spin cycle. In a statement quoted in the Washington Examiner, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said:
As Leader Pelosi reiterated in her CNN interview, Hamas is a terrorist organization. As also stated, she believes that in supporting a two-state solution, we must support Abbas, we must support Israel's Iron Dome initiative and we must support the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians. She also believes that engaging the Qataris, who refer to Hamas as a humanitarian organization and fund such needs, would put additional pressure on Hamas to stop the rockets attacks and destroy all tunnels.
Apparently, Hammill didn’t watch “Leader Pelosi’s” spot on Crowley’s show or read the readily available transcript, a quick perusal of which reveals that Nancy “Are You Serious” Pelosi never once calls Hamas a terrorist group. In fact, if she genuinely believed Hamas is a terrorist organization (as it has been defined by the U.S. State Department since 1997) would she support giving control of a significant swath of the Holy Land to it?
And what of Pelosi’s reliance on the opinion of the unnamed claque of Qataris? The Washington Examiner observes:
Qatar is a major sponsor, both financially and ideologically, of Hamas. Though allied with the U.S., the Wahhabi regime in Doha is widely reported to have supplied hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas, shelters the group's political leaders and provides an outlet for its ideological leaders through the Al Jazeera satellite network, which it controls.
“Qatar has a long history of providing shelter to Islamist groups, amongst them the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban,” Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told Time magazine.
Maybe Pelosi’s identification of Qataris as the Hamas-admirers has less to do with her reliance on their ability to judge character and more to do with her hesitancy to denounce those who have donated cash to her campaigns. Consider this story published in November 2012 by The Daily Caller:
Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi headlined a high-dollar fundraiser in May that was attended by U.S.-based Islamist groups and individuals linked by the U.S. government to the Hamas jihad group and to the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Also present at that $5,000+ a plate fundraiser held to stuff the coffers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was Nihad Awad, the co-founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), The Daily Caller reports, citing data provided by Project on Terrorism.
Or, how about this endorsement as evidence of the mutual admiration between Hamas and Pelosi: In a statement to World Net Daily, Islamic Jihad spokesman Khaled Al-Batch said,
Nancy Pelosi understands the area [Middle East] well, more than Bush and Dr. [Condoleeza] Rice. If the Democrats want to make negotiations with Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah, this means the Democratic Party understands well what happens in this area and I think Pelosi will succeed.... I hope she wins the next elections.
In light of these statements, it seems that Pelosi’s ventriloquistic use of Qataris to praise Hamas is cowardly, but not uncommon.
Photo of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): AP Images
Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American. Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton.