During an interview with Bill Hemmer on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom Wednesday, former New York City Mayor and failed GOP Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani attacked and insulted former President Jimmy Carter over Carter’s recent op-ed in Foreign Policy. Carter, along with former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, published an op-ed on Monday calling for an end of the war in Gaza. Carter and Robinson, who are members of The Elders, a humanitarian group started by Nelson Mandela, stated in the piece that both the United States and European Union need to recognize Hamas as not just a military force, but a political one.
The international community’s initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea. Concurrently, the United States and EU should recognize that Hamas is not just a military but also a political force. Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons. Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West’s approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result.
Ultimately, however, lasting peace depends on the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel.
Besides calling on Hamas to be treated as a legitimate political organization by the international community, Carter and Robinson also pointed out that the actions by the Israeli Defensive Forces have been disproportionately vicious in response to Hamas and that the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians represented war crimes by Israel. While the op-ed was very critical of Israel and the IDF, it did not let Hamas off the hook for its role in this conflict. The Elders condemned Hamas for shooting rockets into Israel with the intent to kill civilians. However, they made sure to highlight the vast differences in civilian deaths caused by IDF in comparison to Hamas.
Overall, Carter and Robinson took on the difficult task of rationally discussing a diplomatic solution to a situation that usually breaks down into emotionally charged rants revolving around terrorism and Israel’s ‘right to exist and defend itself.’ Of course, that is right up Fox News’ alley and they did not disappoint on Wednesday. From the very beginning of Giuliani’s interview, all semblance of serious discussion went right out the window. Then again, what should one expect when a news organization brings on Mr. 9/11 to discuss foreign policy, right?
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Fox News:
Right off the bat, Giuliani placed nearly all of the blame for the ongoing violence in the Middle East at Carter’s feet. The former mayor claimed that it was Carter’s failure to stop the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979 that brought us to the events of today. Per Giuliani, “90% of what’s going on in the Middle East today can be traced” to Iran, but Carter was just too weak of a President to do anything about the Ayatollah in the ’70s, so Carter is largely responsible for what’s going on in Gaza right now. Of course, Giuliani also had to get a shot in at President Obama while ripping Carter. Giuliani said that “until Obama, [Carter] was the weakest President of the last 50 years.”
Sadly, that was the high point of the interview. After that, Giuliani tore apart Carter’s legacy and compared him unfavorably with Ronald Reagan. He said that Carter was already dealing with an awful legacy as President of the United States and now has made “an absolutely irresponsible statement” supporting a terrorist group. Giuliani then made an asinine and head-scratching analogy where he said that if there was a boat on the Hudson with children on it that was shooting missiles at his city, then he “has to take that boat out.” I guess that was his comparison to what is currently going on in Gaza.
Now, what Fox News segment wouldn’t be complete without a Hitler reference? Thankfully for Fox, Giuliani was more than willing to oblige. After Hemmer had read a portion of the op-ed where Carter stated that Hamas was elected democratically in monitored elections, Giuliani said, “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy…read your history. They also elected Hitler!” Sigh. Finally, just to reach the very bottom of the barrel that is political discourse on Fox News, Giuliani said the following about Carter after Hemmer said that Carter did not mention Hamas smuggling in thousands of missiles.
“Somehow, he is on their side. He should sign up as a spokesman for the Hamas terrorist group.”
Giuliani ended the interview with a few more personal potshots at the former President. He said that the Obama Administration has no respect for Carter, much like the Clinton Administration previously. Giuliani also insinuated that if one were to personally ask Bill Clinton about Jimmy Carter, Clinton would not have anything nice to say about Carter.
All in all, this was a worthless and noxious interview that shows Fox News is not interested in having substantive discussions about any political topics. Instead of bringing on a foreign policy expert to discuss Carter’s opinion piece, perhaps someone who has worked in the State Department or with the United Nations, they brought on a former mayor with no diplomatic experience. While Carter has spent his entire post-presidential life working on humanitarian projects and peace missions, Giuliani has spent his post-mayoral life reminding everyone that he was the mayor of NYC on 9/11 and trying to find ways to monetize that bit of notoriety. Since he has no knowledge about international relations, all Giuliani can do is personally attack those he disagrees with.
I think I’ll listen to Jimmy Carter when it comes to foreign policy, thank you very much.