Bush spokesman Johndroe: Hamas “thugs”
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised U.S. President George W. Bush for supporting Israel in its military offensive against Hamas in Gaza, naming Hamas’ culpability as an aggressor and terrorist organization and for demanding an end to its terrorist rocket assaults upon Israel from Gaza. In a press briefing, Presidential Deputy Secretary Gordon Johndroe said, “For six months, a ceasefire, a state of calm, was in place between Hamas and Israel. Recently, Hamas refused to renew it. During that ceasefire, Hamas continued to fire rockets. Last week, Hamas substantially increased its rocket and mortar attacks on the people of Israel. Hamas has once again shown its true colors as a terrorist organization that refuses to even recognize Israel‘s right to exist. In order for the violence to stop Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel, and agree to respect a sustainable and durable ceasefire” (‘Press Briefing by Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Johndroe,’ December 29, 2008). It was also reported, “‘What we’ve got to see is Hamas stop firing rockets into Israel, that’s what precipitated this,’ said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, calling the Islamic group ‘thugs.'” (Tabassum Zakaria, ‘U.S. blames Hamas for ceasefire break with Israel,’ Reuters, December 27, 2008).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We commend President Bush for forthrightly lending principled support to Israel‘s right to defend itself against Hamas attacks by launching this offensive against the terrorist organizations in Gaza. Our praise for this position is all the more pronounced in view of the immoral, false equivalence displayed by many other international leaders who immorally treat Israel and Hamas equally by demanding an immediate ceasefire.
“Demands for an immediate ceasefire fly in the face of Israel‘s inherent right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter and have been rightly rejected by the Israeli government. The international leaders making this call seek to imply that justice and the interests of peace are best served by shielding a terrorist group with genocidal intentions like Hamas (see Hamas Charter, Article 7) from just Israeli retaliatory action. This is self-evidently wrong. It also reeks of hypocrisy when viewed against their comparative silence during the many previous months of Hamas aggression against Israel to which Israel did not respond. During that period, these leaders did not take any effective action internationally to see Hamas’ aggression curbed or reined in, in contrast to their current, breathless activity to bring about a ceasefire and curtail prematurely Israel‘s necessary military action.
“As we said in our previous statement this week, we believe Israel will have to make a sustained assault on the Hamas infrastructure and reoccupy at least certain parts of Gaza, at least in the short to medium term. We applaud President Bush for acknowledging that it was Hamas continuous and mounting aggression that compelled Israel to take action. We applaud him for recognizing both the justice and necessity of Israel‘s current actions and trust the Administration will lend its continuing support to them.”
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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.