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Glenn Greenwald Clobbers Eliot Spitzer in Debate on the Gaza Flotilla

One of the best cable news smackdowns ever recorded.

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SPITZER:  OK, can we…let’s step back for one second.  Let’s see if we can agree on one thing.  Is Hamas, in your view, a terrorist organization?

GREENWALD: Hamas is the democratically-elected leadership of the people in Gaza and they’re recognized in fair and free elections as having been elected by everybody across the world, so that’s what they are.  Have they engaged in terrorism?  Yes.  Have the Israelis, who founded the Israeli government and the Israeli state, engaged in terrorism?  Yes, they have. Turkey says that what Israel just did is an act of terrorism itself.  But Hamas is the democratically-elected government of the Gaza Strip and is the chosen government and is to be represented.  Has Israel been brutally occupying the Palestinian people for the last 40 years?  Have they or haven’t they?

SPITZER: Does it affect your analysis Hamas has as its stated policy the destruction of the State of Israel? And, in fact, Egypt as well is blockading Gaza and Hamas because Egypt as well views Hamas as a terrorist organization. So, both Israel and Egypt here are agreeing that only humanitarian materials can go through and both have as a stated objective to prevent more material from going through over this border by land or by sea. And so it would have…

GREENWALD: What you’re referring to is the Egyptian dictator that is the leading recipient of US aid, several billion dollars, billions of dollars a year, right after the Israelis.  So, yes, the Egyptian dictatorship, along with the Israeli government under the patronage of the United States, all agree that the people of Gaza should be suffocated and closed off into a prison. And if you’re going to cite actions of the Egyptian dictatorship, as though that lent moral authority to this horrendous blockade. That’s pretty bizarre.  Now yet…

SPITZER: Wait.  In all fairness, I think, Glenn, I think what you also need to acknowledge is that Egypt is in form a democratic government as well, as is Israel, of course. And so when you say that that alone…

GREENWALD: As is Hamas. As are the Gazans.

SPITZER: Hamas has — again, let’s get agreement where we can – Hamas has stated very clearly that it wants…that the destruction of Israel is what it seeks, and therefore it is rational for people to say they are trying to get armaments, they have been shelling into Israel for many, many years, so Israel has a legitimate reason, in terms of self defense, to check to make sure that armaments are not flowing through with humanitarian resources. I assume agree with that.

GREENWALD: Nobody ever claimed or thought until today that those ships had arms, and they didn’t have arms. Not even the Israeli government claims they have arms. Everybody knew that the purpose of that flotilla was to try and deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, which is not being allowed to pass through by the Israeli government as a means of dramatizing what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians. That was the entire purpose of that flotilla, and nobody ever claimed, “oh, this is a terrorist organization trying to deliver arms.”  That’s an absolute, after-the-fact lie and the entire world knows it.


GREENWALD: So I was just saying, you could have as many Netanyahu aides on your show as you want, but the entire world outside of the United States is condemning Israel. Democracies all over the world…

SPITZER: Glenn. I appreciate your participating. I think there are startling, divergent views here about both the morality and the legality of what we’re seeing. I think, to a certain extent, you assume your conclusion when you say there are only humanitarian materials…only humanitarian materials are on those ships. That is precisely what the Israeli government said it wanted to verify.

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