McConnell: ‘Terror And Self-Defense Are Not The Same Thing’

‘[L]ess than three weeks after the deadliest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, too many prominent corners of our society already need a reminder of the terrorist horrors that actually started the war.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding anti-Semitism and the war on Israel:

“It’s been eighteen days since the brutal terrorist attacks of October 7th.

“Eighteen days since savages confronted the world with the depths of human depravity…

“Since one of the oldest forms of hatred in human history reared its ugly head…

“Since radical Islamic terrorists reminded us they pose a persistent threat to the civilized world.

“In our shock, the West vowed solidarity. We pledged not to look away from the horrors Israel was grieving. We reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself. And we promised to stand with our ally as it fought back against pure evil.

“But in the last eighteen days, silence, amnesia, cowardice, and outright hate have begun to take their toll. All too quickly, the West’s resolve has shown signs of weakness.

“First, we saw the most elite corners of higher education rush to blame Israel for the deaths of its own children. We saw college administrators tie themselves in grotesque moral knots to avoid acknowledging reality, even in the face of alumni revolts

“Last night, at George Washington University here in the nation’s capital, student activists projected anti-Semitic messages on the side of a campus building named for a pair of Jewish benefactors.

“They issued a call to, ‘free Palestine from the river to the sea.’

“For anyone unfamiliar with Israel’s geography, that is a call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

“But just a few blocks away, the Biden Administration is in denial.

“After protesters in Times Square displayed the Nazi swastika and an Israeli student at Columbia University was beaten with a stick, the White House Press Secretary replied to a question about rising concerns of anti-Semitism that, quote, ‘we have not seen any credible threats.’ That’s the White House Press Secretary.

“Even more absurd was how – in the very next breath, without even uttering the word ‘Jew’ – she pivoted abruptly to condemning Islamophobia.

“Seriously, Mr. President – after thousands of Jews have been tortured and murdered…

“After hundreds have been taken hostage…

“After the sight of Jewish bodies paraded through Gaza was met with rejoicing from Arab capitals to London…

“After all of this, President Biden’s press secretary reverted to disgraceful ‘both-sides’ talking points.

“Of course, as I’ve discussed before, the media organizations who engage with her deserve their own share of shame.

“Some in the press are already indulging the same tired language designed to sap the free world’s sense of moral clarity.

“Headlines are already warning about the indiscernible ‘cycle of violence’ and amplifying morally bankrupt calls for a ceasefire.

“For anyone who needs a reminder, a ceasefire is what Israel thought it had with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad earlier this summer.

“A ceasefire today is an amnesty for Hamas. A free pass for terrorists from the same savage tribe as ISIS and al Qaeda.

“So, less than three weeks after the deadliest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, too many prominent corners of our society already need a reminder of the terrorist horrors that actually started the war.

“Yesterday, I welcomed a group of important visitors to my office. Among them were family members of Israelis being held hostage by Hamas. Two had survived the attacks and witnessed the terror firsthand. I’d like to share with our colleagues two of their stories.

“First was Netta, a 20-year-old student who lived in a kibbutz in southern Israel. Netta told me that he woke up on October 7th to the sound of sirens.

“He talked about how he armed himself with a kitchen knife, barricaded himself in an interior room, and leaned against the door as terrorists ransacked his apartment.

“Netta told me about how he realized hours later, when his mother stopped replying to his texts, that his parents had been taken hostage by Hamas.

“I also heard from a young woman named Maya, who was at the musical festival that morning with her friends.

“Maya described to me yesterday the sounds of rockets interrupting the party at sunrise. She described how she cried the first time she saw a victim lying in the road as she fled, not knowing if he was alive or dead.

“She recalled how she turned left on a road in search of safe haven, while many of her friends – two of whom would be murdered – turned right.

“She told me how she called her father to say ‘I love you, and I don’t know if I will make it out’, and how she waited hours in a kibbutz shelter assuming that her ‘time was coming.’

“She remembers how news spread in message groups about which of her friends had made it out alive. And how friends witnessed bodies blown apart by grenades.

“Maya told me she is haunted by the images her friends shared of Hamas desecrating bodies and by ‘how they enjoyed it.’

“She said she feels guilty for encouraging her friends to join her at the music festival that Saturday.

“Mr. President, this is why Israel fights.

“The attacks of October 7th confronted the world with the sort of horrors Jewish communities have no choice but to remember for generations. From European villages caught in pogroms… To the horrors of Nazi Germany… To Israeli kibbutzes burned and bloodied by Hamas terrorists.

“For decades, the free world’s refrain has been ‘Never forget. Never again.’

“God help us if we do not mean what we say.

“There is no room for false moral equivalency.

“Let me repeat that: there is no room for false moral equivalency.

“We must not forget who is responsible and we must hold them accountable.

“Terror and self-defense are not the same thing. One side started the war, but another side will finish it.

“And the United States must give Israel the time, space, and support to bring innocent people home and bring murderous terrorists to justice.”


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