Barack Obama argues ‘all of us are complicit’ in Israel-Hamas conflict, urges acknowledgement of whole truth

Former President Obama said during an interview on Pod Save America that the U.S. had to admit that “all of us are complicit” in the Israel-Hamas conflict and added, “nobody’s hands are clean.”

Obama argued that if there was any way the U.S. could act on the conflict in the Middle East, people would have to acknowledge several points of view that he said might seem “contradictory” on the surface. 

“What Hamas did was horrific, and there is no justification for it. And what is also true is that the occupation, and what’s happening to Palestinians, is unbearable, and what is also true is that there is a history of the Jewish people that may be dismissed unless your grandparents, or your great-great-grandparents or your uncle or your aunt tell you stories about the madness of antisemitism, and what is true is that there are people right now that are dying who have nothing to do with what Hamas did,” he said, noting he could go on for a while. 

The former president argued that it was important to acknowledge the “whole truth,” not just one side.

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He also criticized attempts to debate the conflict through TikTok “activism” and social media, suggesting people were trying to “maintain moral innocence” by speaking just one side of truth.

“That won’t solve the problem. And so, if you want to solve the problem, then you have to take in the whole truth. And you then have to admit nobody’s hands are clean, that all of us are complicit to some degree,” he said.

Obama also said he asked himself what he could have done differently during his presidency to “move this forward.”

“That’s the conversation that we should be having, not just looking backwards but looking forwards. And that can’t happen if we are confining ourselves to our outrage. I would rather see you out there talking to people, including people you disagree with,” he said. 

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The “Pod Save America” podcast posted a short clip from the interview on Saturday and said the former president was speaking about “violence in Gaza.”

“If you genuinely want to change this, then you’ve got to figure out how to speak to somebody on the other side and listen to them and understand what they are talking about, and not dismiss it. Because you can’t save that child without their help, not in this situation,” he continued. 

During a speech at his foundation on Thursday, he said the Israel-Hamas conflict was a “moral reckoning” for us all. 

“All of this is taking place against the backdrop of decades of failure to achieve a durable peace for both Israelis and Palestinians,” he said. “One that is based on genuine security for Israel, a recognition of its right to exist, and a peace that is based on an end of the occupation and the creation of a viable state and self-determination for the Palestinian people.”

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