Talk Show Host Schooled on Israel’s Fight Against Terrorists by Ukrainian Politician

Cargo shipments en route to Israel’s field hospital in Western Ukraine. Photo: Sivan Shachor/Israeli Foreign Ministry

MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan is well known for his support for the Palestinian cause, tweeting regular — and often baseless — accusations about the Jewish state to his 1.1 million followers (see here, here, and here). Indeed, in the last three months alone, he has tweeted about Israel and Palestinians nearly 50 times.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has evidently heightened Hasan’s fixation on Israel’s defense of its citizens from terrorism — characterized by a rash of bizarre comparisons that Mehdi has made between Jerusalem and Moscow.

On March 10, for example, he took to Twitter to speculate about how the citizens living under US-designated terror group Hamas’ iron-fisted rule in Gaza might feel about the conflict taking place: “Wonder how people in Gaza feel about the intensifying debate over no-fly zones in Western capitals right now.”

This had been preceded by a February 25 tweet in which he lambasted a speech by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who had condemned Russia’s military action as a “violation of international order,” while pledging humanitarian assistance to affected peoples.

“Who better to denounce wars of aggression and illegal occupations than *checks notes* the foreign minister of Israel?” Hasan wrote in a remark that garnered more than 1,900 retweets and 8,100 likes.

Hasan, therefore, may have been taken back when a guest on his program pushed back against parallels between Russia and Israel’s ongoing dispute with some of its neighbors.

On March 18, Hasan welcomed a former vice prime minister of Ukraine and current member of parliament, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, to discuss the ongoing conflict that has ravaged her homeland over the past month.

In a shorts clip of the interview posted online, Hasan asked Klympush-Tsintsadze whether she was optimistic about a possible ceasefire being negotiated.

Klympush-Tsintsadze responded by invoking Israel’s decades-long struggle against aggressors hellbent on its destruction:

No, I do not see any compromises at this particular moment that would be going into concessions towards [the] Russian Federation […] So, it’s pretty difficult to have negotiations with a country — a terrorist country — that works exclusively through ultimatums and that wants to destroy you. Basically, that’s something that Golda Meir at some point said about Israel. That it is impossible to negotiate on peace with someone who came in to, with an only goal to kill you. That’s exactly what we are going through right now.”

Golda Meir, the late Israeli prime minister, was steadfast in her view that she should not negotiate with terrorists who sought to annihilate the Jewish state.

In talks held in 1975 at the White House between Meir and then-US president Gerald Ford, alongside Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Meir explained her position on negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) thus:

With our neighbors, we can negotiate. So as soon as they want to, we can agree instantly. But we can’t negotiate with terrorists who just want us out.

The PLO, which was founded on a charter in 1964 that expressed its overarching aim as the destruction of Israel, had perpetrated numerous terror attacks against both Israelis and Jews around the world, including the infamous massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, in which members of the Black September terror group broke into apartments being used by the Israeli team and murdered its occupants.

While German negotiators had leaned towards capitulating to the terrorists’ demands when news of the hostage-taking first emerged, Meir took a harder line and insisted that any such surrender would only inspire more attacks.

“If we should give in, then no Israeli anywhere in the world can feel that his life is safe,” she remarked.

Israel and Palestinian leaders did eventually sit down to negotiate, and reached a series of agreements that became known as the Oslo Accords. Yet, such steps towards lasting peace have not been actualized, particularly due to the Palestinian Authority’s continuous incitement to murder Jews, such as, for example, by incentivizing terrorism through the paying of “salaries” to jailed terrorists and to the family members of those killed attempting to perpetrate attacks against Israeli civilians and children.

Going forward, Hasan might want to consider Israel’s long history of defending itself from external aggression before comparing Jerusalem’s defensive measures to Russia’s war of choice, aggression, and destruction against Ukraine.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

Javier E. Swan