The Republican Jewish Coalition’s Matthew Brooks says it’s “shocking” that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi thinks Hamas is a humanitarian organization. Megyn Kelly on Fox News Channel says Pelosi is arguing that Hamas “is out to do good.”
Does Pelosi think Hamas is a humanitarian group? The interview Brooks and Fox are pointing to has Pelosi telling CNN:
We have to confer with the Qataris who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization.
So Pelosi does not actually endorse the notion that Hamas is a humanitarian organization, she just notes the Qatari claim. But is she giving the Qatari claim credibility?
Brooks made his remarks about Pelosi in an interview with the Washington-area CBS affiliate WUSA.
The only context WUSA has is the quote above; Fox News Channel includes the immediate follow up, where CNN’s Candy Crowley asks Pelosi whether she agrees with the U.S. designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization, and she answers “mmmhmmm” affirmatively.
Kelly mocks the “mmmhhmmm” as not adequately affirmative. But the clip used by Fox also stops short and does not include what ensues, where Pelosi tells Crowley, “We’ve had that discussion.”
A longer clip of the Crowley interview was circulating on social media before it rose to mainstream outlets. It includes Pelosi’s remarks before the “humanitarian” quote, and in them, she embraces the narrative that Hamas is responsible for the war and uses civilians as human shields.
PELOSI: But let me just say that any missile that comes from a some place has a return address, and if Israel is responding to that address, then it’s a shame that the Palestinians, are using, are rumored to be using children and families as shields for their missiles.
Should we all try to first of all avoid conflict? The Hamas initiated this. So again, this is something that we have the two state solution, that we have to support Abbas and his role as leader there, we have to support Iron Dome to protect the Israelis from the missiles, we have to support the Palestinians in what they need, and we have to confer with the Qataris who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization, maybe they could use their influence to …
CROWLEY: The U.S. thinks they’re a terrorist organization, do you?
PELOSI: Mmhhmmm, we’ve had that discussion.
So Pelosi says that Hamas initiated the conflict, that Israel has a right to respond, that the United States should assist it in its response, and that Hamas uses civilians as human shields.
With that as a lead-in, Pelosi’s reference to the Qataris’ description of Hamas does not seem to be an endorsement of the claim but more of a “prove it”; and Pelosi’s saying that the Qataris have argued the point to her “over and over,” suggests she is not buying it, particularly when, as she says, Hamas is starting wars and hiding behind civilians.
UPDATE: Drew Hammill, Pelosi’ spokesman, sends this along:
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.