Secretary of State Antony Blinken would not say Monday that Hamas bore full responsibility for the recent rocket attacks against Israel.
Blinken testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Republican South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson pressed him on the “false narrative” that any party other than Hamas, backed by Iran, was responsible for the civilians killed in Israel and Gaza.
Wilson began his time by criticizing American media in general — and the New York Times specifically — for being “complicit” in promulgating the narrative that Israel was responsible for attacking civilian targets.
“The media of the left has become a propaganda arm of Hamas terrorists,” Wilson said, noting that the NYT had published photos of civilians killed when the Israelis returned fire without acknowledging Hamas’ responsibility for instigating the conflict.
“But for Hamas using children as human shields, no child would be dead. The photo display is disgusting smear of Israel and of the people of Israel. What is your view of the American media coverage, and what can the State Department do to prevent further attacks on families by Hamas from Iranian rockets?” Wilson asked, making a point to address Iran’s suspected role in the conflict. (RELATED: Sec. Blinken Won’t Say Whether He Believes Iran Is Funding Hamas Even After The Terror Group Admitted It)
“I will focus on the policy, and so I will leave it to others to do the politics,” Blinken replied. “It would be unacceptable for any country to have rockets rain down on it, disproportionate — indiscriminately targeting civilians and not do something about it. As you know, we strongly supported Israel’s right to defend itself, to defend its people, against these indiscriminate rocket attacks. As a democracy, Israel also has an extra burden to do everything it possibly can avoid civilian casualties. And I have to tell you I think we are all, irrespective of politics, we can’t lose sight of the fact that lives were lost on both sides in this most recent —”
“This would not have occurred if there hadn’t been rocket attacks,” Wilson pushed back, interrupting. “This was not just an incidental occurrence. The rocket attacks were the sole cause of the death of these children, and that is not politics.”
“As a former journalist myself, I am just shocked that we would have American media be so complicit in promoting a false narrative that Hamas is not totally responsible,” Wilson continued. “I’ve been to Israel to see mothers there protecting their children, it is just horrifying. We need to be specific and go after the war criminals.”
Wilson went on to press Blinken further on Iran’s role in destabilizing the area even as President Joe Biden’s administration looked at the possibility of reentering the Iran Nuclear Deal.