Paul: “Hamas was encouraged and really started by Israel”

posted at 1:40 pm on December 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Not long ago, Newt Gingrich got into some trouble for claiming that the Palestinians are an “invented people,” although there is some basis for that statement, as prior to the British Mandate there was no such official designation for “Palestine” — and the British clearly included present-day Jordan as a major part of “Palestine” in the mandate. Another Republican candidate offered a history lesson on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2009, a moment recalled by Jeff Dunetz in this clip from the House floor. In it, we discover that Israel “started” Hamas as a counterweight to Yasser Arafat, or something, and manages to blame the CIA for radicalizing Muslims and the US for supplying weapons and funds that “kill Palestinians”:

This may be why Paul doesn’t get a lot of support from his own party in Iowa or New Hampshire, as Byron York reports today:

In a hotly-contested Republican race, it appears that only about half of Paul’s supporters are Republicans. In Iowa, according to Rasmussen, just 51 percent of Paul supporters consider themselves Republicans. In New Hampshire, the number is 56 percent, according to Andrew Smith, head of the University of New Hampshire poll.

The same New Hampshire survey found that 87 percent of the people who support Romney consider themselves Republicans. For Newt Gingrich, it’s 85 percent.

So who is supporting Paul? In New Hampshire, Paul is the choice of just 13 percent of Republicans, according to the new poll, while he is the favorite of 36 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats who intend to vote in the primary. Paul leads in both non-Republican categories.

“Paul is doing the best job of getting those people who aren’t really Republicans but say they’re going to vote in the Republican primary,” explains Smith. Among that group are libertarians, dissatisfied independents and Democrats who are “trying to throw a monkey wrench in the campaign by voting for someone who is more philosophically extreme,” says Smith.

So who started Hamas?  Was it really Israel?  Er … no, not really, and the suggestion that Israel wanted Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO is simply ludicrous.  Hamas developed from a network of Muslim Brotherhood charities in Gaza in the mid-1980s.  The Muslim Brotherhood was one of the most notorious of anti-Israeli organizations in the region, formed in the 1920s in opposition to the collapse of the Caliphate and the British Mandate that followed. At the founding of Hamas, it called for “jihad” to seize Israel and create an Islamist state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.    They formed in direct opposition to the PLO (now called Fatah in the Palestinian Authority government), to some extent because Yasser Arafat was negotiating with Israel, albeit in bad faith while trying to drum up financial and political support in the West. Hamas gets its funding from Iran, hardly a disinterested third party in this conflict — and the main engine of radicalizing Muslims, eclipsing the Muslim Brotherhood ever since the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Paul only gets one thing substantially correct in this speech, which is that the US screwed up by pushing for an election in Gaza while Hamas had such a strong hold on the territory.  We did warn, however, that we would not work with terrorists in a Gaza government, and after the unilateral Israeli withdrawal in 2005 it would have been difficult to argue against elections in Gaza.  “Imposing” democracy in this case ended up backfiring, as it legitimized Hamas to some extent and made it more difficult to fight against their terrorism.  But that’s a far cry from claiming that Israel started Hamas, a statement that is so nutty that it should be by itself disqualifying for voters looking to select the next Republican nominee.

Update: A few people have e-mailed me this opinion piece from the WSJ in 2009 as “proof” that corroborates Paul’s claims.  It doesn’t back up Paul’s claim that Israel “started” Hamas, and it really doesn’t make the case that Israel encouraged the formation of Hamas, either.  The closest it comes is this:

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.

How did Israel “encourage” Hamas?  By keeping tabs on it, as any intel service would have done:

Instead, Israel’s military-led administration in Gaza looked favorably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy. The university was one of the first targets hit by Israeli warplanes in the recent war.

Brig. General Yosef Kastel, Gaza’s Israeli governor at the time, is too ill to comment, says his wife. But Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who took over as governor in Gaza in late 1979, says he had no illusions about Sheikh Yassin’s long-term intentions or the perils of political Islam. As Israel’s former military attache in Iran, he’d watched Islamic fervor topple the Shah. However, in Gaza, says Mr. Segev, “our main enemy was Fatah,” and the cleric “was still 100% peaceful” towards Israel. Former officials say Israel was also at the time wary of being viewed as an enemy of Islam.

Mr. Segev says he had regular contact with Sheikh Yassin, in part to keep an eye on him. He visited his mosque and met the cleric around a dozen times. It was illegal at the time for Israelis to meet anyone from the PLO. Mr. Segev later arranged for the cleric to be taken to Israel for hospital treatment. “We had no problems with him,” he says.

In other words, people want to “credit” Israel for creating Hamas because they didn’t oppose the establishment of (then) non-violent social charities.  Later, in 1987, the Muslim Brotherhood formed these charities into Hamas, which adopted violent jihad and the destruction of Israel as the key goals of its charter.  Israel didn’t stop it and continued for a brief time to maintain its contacts with the group until it launched an intifada, but that’s not the same thing as “creating Hamas,” or even “encouraging Hamas.”

Here’s the entire statement made on January 9th, 2009, from the Congressional Record:

Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution, not because I am taking sides and picking who the bad guys are and who the good guys are, but I’m looking at this more from the angle of being a United States citizen, an American, and I think resolutions like this really do great harm to us. In many ways what is happening in the Middle East, and in particular with Gaza right now, we have some moral responsibility for both sides, because we provide help in funding for both Arab nations and Israel. And so we definitely have a moral responsibility. And especially now today, the weapons being used to kill so many Palestinians are American weapons and American funds essentially are being used for this.

But there is a political liability which I think is something that we fail to look at because too often there is so much blowback from our intervention in areas that we shouldn’t be involved in. Hamas, if you look at the history, you will find that Hamas was encouraged and actually started by Israel because they wanted Hamas to counteract Yasir Arafat. You say, Well, yeah, it was better then and served its purpose, but we didn’t want Hamas to do this. So then we, as Americans, say, Well, we have such a good system;
we’re going to impose this on the world. We’re going to invade Iraq and teach people how to be democrats. We want free elections. So we encouraged the Palestinians to have a free election. They do, and they elect Hamas.

So we first, indirectly and directly through Israel, helped establish Hamas. Then we have an election where Hamas becomes dominant then we have to kill them. It just doesn’t make sense. During the 1980s, we were allied with Osama bin Laden and we were contending with the Soviets. It was at that time our CIA thought it was good if we radicalize the Muslim world. So we finance the Madrassas school to radicalize the Muslims in order to compete with the Soviets. There is too much blowback.

There are a lot of reasons why we should oppose this resolution. It’s not in the interest of the United States, it is not in the interest of Israel either. I strongly oppose H. Res. 34, which was rushed to the floor with almost no prior notice and without consideration by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution clearly takes one side in a conflict that has nothing to do with the United States or U.S. interests. I am concerned that the weapons currently being used by Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza are made in America and paid for by American taxpayers. What will adopting this resolution do to the perception of the United States in the Muslim and Arab world? What kind of blowback
might we see from this? What moral responsibility do we have for the violence in Israel and Gaza after having provided so much military support to one side?

As an opponent of all violence, I am appalled by the practice of lobbing homemade rockets into Israel from Gaza. I am only grateful that, because of the primitive nature of these weapons, there have been so few casualties among innocent Israelis. But I am also appalled by the longstanding Israeli blockade of Gaza–a cruel act of war–and the tremendous loss of life that has resulted from the latest Israeli attack that started last month. There are now an estimated 700 dead Palestinians, most of whom are civilians. Many innocent children are among the dead. While the shooting of rockets into Israel is inexcusable, the violent actions of some people in Gaza does not justify killing Palestinians on this scale. Such collective punishment is immoral. At the very least, the U.S. Congress should not be loudly proclaiming its support for the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza.

Madam Speaker, this resolution will do nothing to reduce the fighting and bloodshed in the Middle East. The resolution in fact will lead the U.S. to become further involved in this conflict, promising “vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” Is it really in the interest of the United States to guarantee the survival of any foreign country? I believe it would be better to focus on the security and survival of the United States, the Constitution of which my colleagues and I swore to defend just this week at the beginning of the 111th Congress. I urge my colleagues to reject this resolution.

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Paul gave that speech before Congress. Was he objected to, shouted down, contradicted, scolded, censured for telling outrageous lies? Nope, because while his fellow Congressmen may have objected to his conclusions, they agreed with his premises.

Mr. Arkadin

No one is ever shouted down in Congress, or censured for telling outrageous lies, so I guess that means all Congressmen agree with everything ever said in Congress.

xblade on December 27, 2011 at 5:06 PM

There is no use in posting anything about this strange man Ron Paul.You could have video of him saying anything like maybe the earth was flat,the moon was made out of cheese,.His blind supporters would still clam he was taken out of context or the video was edited.The real danger is in my opinion Paul believes everything controversial thing he has said over the last 30 years.I remember early this year at the CPAC meetings in D.C.just walking past a group of Paul supporters wearing my large Palin for president button.I thought his people were going to attack me and you should have some of the language coming our of their mouth.

logman1 on December 27, 2011 at 5:15 PM

You’re not entirely right.
Under Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 of the Constitution, the National Guard – considered a state militia – is authorized to “execute the laws of the Union and suppress Insurrections and repel Invasion.” The Constitution says nothing about dispatching the military to fight domestic crime, a task usually undertaken by local law enforcement.

Pitchforker on December 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM

What is the difference between “execute the laws of the Union” and “fight domestic crime?”

cptacek on December 27, 2011 at 5:35 PM

RE Pitchforker

’m not acting cavalier. 200 million per day isn’t acceptable.

Especially to defend ourselves against an attack that you think we brought on ourselves, that the “Mossad and rogue CIA” were behind and that Bush let happen.

Elements of the operation need to be pared down and if this makes me appear heartless so be it.

It makes you look like you don’t have the slightest idea about what you are pontificating about. That and most everything else you write.

V7_Sport on December 27, 2011 at 5:35 PM

This is a major problem. Allowing Independents and Democrats to vote in a Republican primary turns it into a joke.

Why this is allowed is moronic.

If you want to vote in a party primary have the backbone to register with that party ahead of time (NOT ON THE SAME DAY).

LevinFan on December 27, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Totally agree. There should be a deadline for switching parties before you can vote in a primary.

cptacek on December 27, 2011 at 5:35 PM

He will tell any lie, omit any history he has to and hold to his theory and isolationist ideology.

Isn’t that the truth? I received this raging email from someone, who had read one of my Paul entries, screaming at me about how I was a “Neo-Con, Israel-Firster, Bilderberger, Socialist, NWOer, Tri-Lateralist, CFRer, Globalist, FEMA Camp Guard, Chemtrail Pilot, Vaccine Scientist, Secret Water Fluorinator, Black Helicopter Pilot, False-Flag Planner, MK-ULTRA Practitioner, Paid Propagandist, &/or CIA/MI6/DGSE/Mossad Operative,etc.” I am allegedly a warmonger even though I believe that the US probably played a proper role in only one ground war in the last 97 years and that was in WWII.

Why? Because, according to my “admirer” and Ron Paul, Hitler’s Germany was not the US’ enemy in WWII.

I couldn’t help but respond, which is something I try to refrain from doing, and ask what we should call a nation that declares war on us first? A friend? An ally? A cute bunny with funny whiskers?

Their revisionist history is worthy of the rabbithole.

Resist We Much on December 27, 2011 at 5:39 PM

If the Palestinians would stop killing Israelis, Israel would stop defending themselves causing Palestinian deaths…takes two to tango. Why Paul puts the egg before the chicken is telling.

aposematic on December 27, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Oh, now we have Paulnuts foolishly trying to give the WSJ article and Paul validity?

Hamas are a terrorist group, formed to create a Caliphate, and eradicate the world of Jews by methods of the sword. Their goal is genocide.

Any suggestion that Israel created, is responsible, supports, advocates, condones, deserves, or is the root cause of their enemy as we know them TODAY is certifiable hate mongering.

contrarytopopularbelief on December 27, 2011 at 5:52 PM

No one is ever shouted down in Congress, or censured for telling outrageous lies, so I guess that means all Congressmen agree with everything ever said in Congress.

Well, no, it’s not the House Of Commons, but yes, members of Congress do respond to each other, sometimes heatedly, as THIS famous gentleman shows.

As for a previous commenter’s suggestion that Paul was speaking to an empty chamber, check the Congressional Record. Paul was part of a full and vigorous debate involving a full chamber, including Pelosi and Hoyer. If I remember correctly, it was the smartest guy in the room, Newt Gingrich, who gave speeches to an empty House. The same smart guy who couldn’t figure out how to get on the Virginia ballot, unlike the certifiable nut job Ron Paul.

Mr. Arkadin on December 27, 2011 at 6:13 PM

unlike the certifiable nut job Ron Paul.

Mr. Arkadin on December 27, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Yep. Ed is at it again – Distort; Withhold facts; Do everything short of lie.

“Let’s cut the crap. The GOP establishment’s main beef with Ron Paul is his foreign policy. This ideological chasm is the subtext to most attacks on Paul from the right. To their credit, some of Paul’s critics are man (or woman) enough to confront the congressman on this subject directly. Paul welcomes these challenges and wants his fellow Republicans to debate what a true conservative foreign policy should look like. But the members of the Republican establishment do not want any such discussion. In fact, they fear it.”

Read more:

bmowell on December 27, 2011 at 7:23 PM

– continued –

Guys. Honestly.

Is it so difficult to believe that Israel would at one time use ANY organization to serve a timely purpose?

WE ourselves would certainly NEVER use questionable alliances to accomplish our goals.

Just excuse our support for Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan…

…Saddam Hussein in his war with Iraq…




bmowell on December 27, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Hopefully, Ed’s attitude toward Paul is borne out of misunderstanding. I find the alternative particularly disturbing, but not unfounded within the right wing of the party:

“Hamas was really started by Israel because they wanted Hamas to counteract Yasser Arafat. They say it was better then and it served its purpose but we didn’t want Hamas to do this.

“Then the United States says we have such a good system we are going to impose this on the world and have free elections, we encourage Palestinians to have free elections and they elect Hamas.” said Rep. Paul on the House floor.

The author of the blog where this was posted says this is proof that Congressman Paul is anti-Israel because clearly Paul blames Israel for attack from Hamas. He blames the United States for Hamas.

What does the Congressman say?

He says “blowback,” the military and intelligence term for consequence for foreign policy and interventions, is something the United States doesn’t want to deal with and yet is very real.

Is the Congressman factually correct in what he said about Hamas?

According to Avner Cohen, who worked for the Israeli government in religious affairs in Gaza for decades, it was 30 years ago when Israel tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged Hamas as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

So it would be incorrect to say that Congressman Paul is blaming Israel for bombings by Hamas.

Rather, his position appears to be warning about the consequence of blowback in both American and Israeli foreign policy.

That brings us to the second issue. Clearly Ron Paul is anti-Israel, detractors say, because after all he wants to deny Israel foreign aid.

“To me foreign aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in other countries, no matter how well motivated it is,” said Rep. Paul during the CNN Republican debate.

When Anderson Cooper asked if Paul would cut foreign aid to Israel, Paul answered, “I would cut all foreign aid. I would treat everyone equally and fairly.”

Despite the headlines, is that an anti-Israel stance?

It is an anti foreign-aid stance combined with consistency in foreign policy.

But Israel has had a special relationship with the United States for many years, some have said, and shouldn’t an exception be made?

Isn’t Congressman Paul turning his back on this nation that needs the United States?

“I’m the one who defends the Israel. I don’t want Israel to be beholding to us,” Rep. Paul told Fox News Anchor Megan Kelly.

Jeffrey Goldberg of “The Atlantic” recently wrote that Ron Paul’s position is actually the closest to a Zionist of all the candidates because, “In one sense, a true Zionist, is a believer in two core values of the Jewish Liberation Movement: Jewish independence and Jewish self-reliance.”

Is Ron Paul anti-Israel?

Well, consider history. In 1981, Israel bombed an Iraqi nuke plant. Rep. Paul went against both the U.N. and president Ronald Reagan when he defended Israel’s right to defend itself.

Today, that position hasn’t changed.

Paul seems to believe that the strongest stance with Israel is for the United States to no longer try to control that nation’s every move.

If today Israel decided that it must launch an attack on Iran to protect its own people, which candidate aside from Ron Paul would support that move without Israel first receiving U.S. approval?

bmowell on December 27, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Any suggestion that Israel created, is responsible, supports, advocates, condones, deserves, or is the root cause of their enemy as we know them TODAY is certifiable hate mongering.

contrarytopopularbelief on December 27, 2011 at 5:52 PM

You attribute ALL those verbs to Paul’s position? Honestly?


bmowell on December 27, 2011 at 7:47 PM

hot air bloggers seem to be in a crusade to take down paul.

nathor on December 27, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Ron Paul is batsh*t crazy and so are those that blindly support him.

Ron Paul on Video: The Bildersbergers Are Plotting To Control The Banking System And Our Natural Resources

Hard Right on December 27, 2011 at 10:21 PM

Herr Doktor sucks monkey balls.

catmman on December 27, 2011 at 10:21 PM

Just excuse our support for Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan…

…Saddam Hussein in his war with Iraq…

bmowell on December 27, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Why are you implying Israel armed and trained Hamas?
Hell, why are you implying Hamas is a single person and comparing an organization to individuals?

Anyone using the terms “Hamas” and “blowback” in the same sentence and thinks it’s a sensical sentence is fooling themselves.

You’re spouting leftist propaganda under the guise of supporting a reactionary old poof.

contrarytopopularbelief on December 27, 2011 at 10:27 PM

HAMAS, created by Israel? Next thing he’ll tell us that Taliban was created by the CIA. Oh, wait… Anyway, can we force him to choose Bolton for VP in the snowball’s-chance-in-hell event he makes it?

Archivarix on December 27, 2011 at 10:35 PM

Why does anyone bother at this point?

Paul won’t win, sane folks know he’s a joke, and his supporters have shields against reality that would make Spock raise an eyebrow. It’s the dishonesty that gets to me, no matter what he says, or does, his base is not only not disturbed by it, they’ll do half double twists to try and paint it as saintly.

Sorry, just celerbrated my saviors birth, don’t need another one.

I’m waiting for another video any day that’ll reveal just one more of the bats in his belfry…. won’t matter..

only in America…

mark81150 on December 28, 2011 at 2:10 AM

Those that vote for Paul are ones that want Obama to win, they know there is no way that Paul could win against anyone in a up and down election.

Pomai on December 28, 2011 at 7:09 AM

So many non-stories here…

Paul is insane – check.

PaulBots cannot be reasoned with, so don’t bother, no amount of xenophobic foreign policy or outfield libertarian social policies will ever be enough to convince the PaulBots that Saint Ron is not The One we have been waiting for – check.

PaulBots & Anti-PaulBots will forever be locked in endless pointless debate – check.

Paul has zero chance of winning – check.

Paul can assure Obama’s reelection by throwing a tantrum and going 3rd party – check.

Sick of all this BS – CHECK!

insidiator on December 28, 2011 at 7:42 AM

These people don’t belong in an insane asylum, and I can prove it.

Who else would have the common sense to know that if you spray vinegar into the air, you can eliminate the chemical crop dusting of commercial and military aircraft?

We need Vinegar Power !!!

Smf. yjsyd s;; z jsbr yp dsu snpiy yjsy/

franksalterego on December 28, 2011 at 8:23 AM

It has become increasingly clear that Ron Paul is an anti-Semite of long standing and great fervor.

I hope that unless Rand actually shares these views his support for his father’s candidacy will not tarnish Rand’s own image and brand.


herself on December 28, 2011 at 8:52 AM


Kissmygrits on December 28, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Ground Control to Major Ron: Take Your Geritol Pills And Put Your Tinfoil Hat On

Resist We Much on December 28, 2011 at 12:39 PM

hot air bloggers seem to be in a crusade to take down paul.

nathor on December 27, 2011 at 8:36 PM

I think Herr Doktor will manage that on his own.

dukecitygirl on December 28, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Well, now we know the truth. Paulnuts are just liberals hoping to make a mess of the GOP primary season. That makes more sense than anyone with a brain actually supporting him.

Freelancer on December 28, 2011 at 11:09 PM