Andrea Mitchell to Ambassador: 'Israel May Be Losing Its Soul' Over Gaza

Not only is Israel on the wrong side of opinion when it comes to the liberal media, but evidently the world’s lone Jewish state is losing its soul as well. At least this was the opinion of Andrea Mitchell on her midday MSNBC program.

In a conversation with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, the Andrea Mitchell Reports host – in reference to the large number of civilians dead in Gaza – questioned what he would say to Americans: “And what do you say to them that Israel may be losing its soul, may be losing the war because of the political impact of what is happening on the ground?” [MP3 audio here; video below]

While the suggestion was clearly offensive, the Ambassador calmly knocked it down, asserting that he was horrified by the deaths of children in Gaza. At the same time, he placed the blame solely on Hamas for the violence:  

The difference is Hamas is using their civilians as human shields. They're placing missile batteries in hospitals, they’re putting weapons depots in mosques. They’re storing rockets in UN schools. This is sick and grotesque. And what the American people should be doing is giving the sense of outrage that they have, and turning it on Hamas, not Israel.

On July 16, Mitchell reported on Israeli air strikes and demanded, "How long can Israel withstand this kind of international pressure?"

The day before, Andrea Mitchell Reports correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin parroted Hamas denials that they were using civilians as human shields. Today, Dermer criticized Mohyeldin for his analysis of Israeli-American relations, stating, “I just heard the report of Hamas questioning the US-Israel relationship which I can tell you is strong, it’s stronger than ever...your reporter in Gaza should not forget who Hamas is and what they are about."

One has to wonder when the media – in the United States, Europe and elsewhere – has ever been on the side of Israel, considering they are quick to blame Israel for their perceived moral failings in virtually every conflict with Hamas.

The relevant portion of the transcript is below.

MSNBC
Andrea Mitchell Reports
July 29, 2014
12:08 p.m. Eastern

ANDREA MITCHELL, host: Reuters is just reporting, I'm told that Israeli television is now saying that all parties have agreed to a ceasefire, but the timing to be determined.

RON DERMER, Israeli Ambassador to the US: Well, in Israel we have real government and a real country. We have a process of decision making. The Israeli cabinet meets. The prime minister would actually –  

MITCHELL: You have to have the security cabinet meeting.

DERMER: And the security cabinet will meet on any proposal and have to have a vote. I wanted to show one thing which is very important. Because I know this was reported yesterday. There was an attack. Today you had a power station. We will have to figure exactly who attacked that power station.

MITCHELL: We don't know yet?

DERMER: We don't know yet who did it. We’ll have to investigate it. But yesterday –  

MITCHELL: You can see right now showing on the screen –  

DERMER: Yesterday there was an attack. Yesterday there was an attack on a hospital and on a refugee camp. And I can show you right here. This is a radar photo. The radar photo shows that four rockets were fired from within Gaza. Four rockets. One went to the sea.

MITCHELL: We see the red lines.

DERMER: One hit the al-Shifa hospital. The hospital that was hit yesterday. This was I think an Islamic jihad, not a Hamas rocket that was fired from within Gaza that hit the hospital. A third rocket went to the refugee camp killing a group of children who were playing and a fourth rocket went to Ashkelon and was intercepted by Iron Dome. So it’s important in covering the conflict to not rush to judgment and not also to  present it as he said/she said. This is a case of Hamas is actually using their own people as human shields. We’ve had hundreds of rockets that have been fired at us that end up in Gaza hitting their own people. That’s what happened yesterday. We have to find out what happened today as we continue the investigation.

[...]

MITCHELL: Ambassador, what do you say to Americans and other people around the world who admire and cherish Israel as the only democracy in the region yet see the images, uncontested images, of Palestinian children, you say that some have been hit by Hamas rockets misfiring but the overwhelming majority of those within Gaza, the civilian deaths, have been caused by Israeli aerial bombing. And what do you say to them that Israel may be losing its soul, may be losing the war because of the political impact of what is happening on the ground?

DERMER: I hear what you're saying. Israel is not losing its soul. We are upholding our values under the most extreme circumstances. We have two thirds of our people in bomb shelters. Our soldiers are going into a hornet's nest of Palestinian terrorism. They're being fired upon and we're maintaining those values. I would tell the American people, we share your concern for the civilian casualties. Believe me, Israel is concerned about Palestinian civilians killed in Gaza. I'm a father, as well. When I see a  child who is killed, I – it's heart wrenching, those photos. Those hit me in the same way they’ll hit anyone else. The difference is Hamas is using their civilians as human shields. They're placing missile batteries in hospitals, they’re putting weapons depots in mosques. They’re storing rockets in UN schools. This is sick and grotesque. And what the American people should be doing is giving the sense of outrage that they have, and turning it on Hamas, not Israel. We are you and you are us, Israel and the United States. We uphold the same values. We cherish life. We sanctify life. We are fighting an enemy that glorifies death. That’s the moral difference. It shouldn’t be forgotten.

Connor Williams
Connor Williams
Connor Williams is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.