Warnock: Fidel Castro was "complex," but Netanyahu is George Wallace all over again

It’s always good to see candidates for federal office give their thoughts on foreign policy. In the case of Raphael Warnock, it’s especially good — for Republicans. In the latest drop of oppo research, it seems Rev. Warnock gave lots of room for nuance on the records of foreign leaders — at least those in communist dictatorships:

“We pray for the people of Cuba in this moment,” Warnock said. “We remember Fidel Castro, whose legacy is complex. Don’t let anyone tell you a simple story; life usually isn’t very simple. His legacy is complex, kind of like America’s legacy is complex.”

Hmmmm. I suppose one could make the case for Castro’s complexity, if one wanted to overlook things like concentration camps for dissidents, denial of basic human rights, and pretty much any rights at all. They murdered thousands after taking power, and continued murdering and oppressing opponents right up to the moment at which Warnock called Castro’s legacy “complex.”

Just to give an idea of how outside the mainstream this was, Barack Obama’s adviser on Cuba — not exactly a hardliner — had this to say about Castro at the same time:

Some tributes to Castro misjudged the balance, said Christopher Sabatini, a Columbia University expert on Cuba who advised Barack Obama’s administration and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“Unfortunately, his human rights record will not get the weight it deserves. You see that in many of the declarations of presidents calling him a revolutionary icon. Let’s be honest: this was a regime which when it came to power lined up its opponents and shot them.”

In fairness, perhaps Warnock spoke these words out of Christian charity. Maybe he wants to always see the best in people, holding out hope for their redemption, and — oh, wait, never mind:

In a 2016 sermon, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to a two-state solution for peace in the region.

He called Netanyahu’s stance “tantamount to saying occupation today, occupation tomorrow, occupation forever,” a line similar to former Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s call for, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.”

He went on to argue that there could be no democracy in Israel without a two-state solution because of the disenfranchisement of Arab voters.

“If you don’t have a Palestinian state, you cannot have a Jewish democracy,” he said. “That state will either be Jewish, or it will be a democracy. It cannot be both.”

The problem with the two-state solution is that the Palestinians won’t commit to it either, and neither will their supporters. “Palestine free from the river to the sea” is their slogan, which is a demand for the annihilation of Israel. As Prince Bandar bin Sultan finally revealed a few months ago, Israel repeatedly agreed to two-state solutions brokered by Saudi Arabia, only to renege on those later.

Warnock’s campaign did some damage control, but …

A campaign spokesman on Wednesday restated Warnock’s backtracking from the apartheid remarks.

“As Reverend Warnock has said and said again yesterday, he does not believe Israel is an apartheid state,” he told Fox News.


In 2019, Warnock signed a statement with a number of fellow Christian faith leaders comparing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories with apartheid in South Africa.

“We saw the patterns that seem to have been borrowed and perfected from other previous oppressive regimes,” the statement read.

It went on to criticize the “heavy militarization of the West Bank” and likened it to “military occupation of Namibia by apartheid South Africa.”

During a virtual campaign event on Tuesday, Warnock walked back that criticism, saying “I do not believe Israel is an apartheid state as some have suggested.”

That only leaves two options. Either Warnock is a hard-Left radical who supports Castroism, or he’s an intellectual lightweight who doesn’t comprehend what he’s saying when he says it. There aren’t any other options with this set of facts, and it’s likely that Georgia voters are going to notice it. Especially with the GOP spending $240 million on advertising to hammer that point home.