Cliff May

The essential facts of the Hamas/Israel conflict are not complicated: Hamas is a client of Iran's ruling mullahs whose rallying cry is "Death to America!" Hamas' ideology is indistinguishable from that of al-Qaeda. For these two reasons alone, it cannot be in the U.S. interest for Hamas - or any similar group - to prevail anytime, anywhere.

Also beyond question: Hamas has been raining missiles on Israel for years. No nation can passively endure such punishment - and remain a nation. It was only a matter of time before Israel had to take action against Hamas, a sworn enemy that openly expresses its genocidal intentions, and which routinely uses Palestinian women and children as human shields, exploiting their suffering for public relations benefits.

What's curious is who gets this and who does not. Jeffrey Gedmin is president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty whose Iranian service, Radio Farda, has been receiving messages from its Iranian listeners regarding the war in Gaza. Many have been along the lines Iran's rulers prefer and you might expect: "Death to Israel, to the imperialists and Zionists!" But the "majority," Gedmin told me, has been of a different nature.

Here's a sampling (translated from the Farsi):

"The clerical regime is lying. It was not Israel who started this war."

"Any other country [apart from Israel] would have done the same a long time ago."

"Hamas should be destroyed. This cowardly group is taking cover in hospitals and residential areas. The people of Gaza should help Israel."

"As long as [Iran's rulers] are helping Lebanon and Palestine, we're not going to have a decent living."

"We're soldiers from Jebrani and we don't have enough to eat, but the government is airlifting food and medicine to Gaza." (Actually, the Iranian government is not.)

"In my opinion, it would be better if our leaders, together with their supporters, would relocate to Palestine. ... This way we would have peace and quiet in Iran and our economic situation would improve."

"Yes, it's true. [I hear] they want to give part of our salaries to Hamas."

In the Arab world, too, there are those whose views may surprise you. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told a visiting delegation of European foreign ministers that Hamas "must not be allowed to emerge from the fighting with the upper hand."

Karam Jaber, editor of the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Youssef, blamed Hams for inflicting "death and destruction on the Palestinians. ... We hope the Hamas leaders will realize that they are fighting a destructive war on behalf of the Iranians and Syrians."


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.