Barack Obama says ‘all of us are complicit’ in response to Israel-Hamas war

Nov 5, 2023 | Political News

On Saturday, former President Barack Obama said that “nobody's hands are clean,” when it comes to the war between Israel and Hamas that began after the organization's Oct. 7 terrorist attack on the Jewish nation. 

In a promotional clip with the Pod Save America podcast, the former president refused to take sides in the conflict. He condemned Hamas for its actions, but added that “what is happening to Palestinians is unbearable.”  

Obama noted the history of antisemitism that the Jewish people have faced, which many young people may “dismiss” unless it's explained by an older relative who lived it. He said that activism won't solve the problem and “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.” 

The former president added that he has looked inward and asked himself, “What I could have done during my presidency, to move this forward?” He added that the conversation we need to be having is “not looking backward but looking forward.” 

“If you genuinely want to change this, then you've got to figure out how to speak to somebody on the other side,” Obama suggested, “and understand what they are talking about, and not dismiss it.” 

In a post on his Medium page from Oct. 23, the former president wrote that it is “important that those of us supporting Israel in its time of need encourage a strategy that can incapacitate Hamas while minimizing further civilian casualties.” He added, “while the prospects of future peace may seem more distant than ever, we should call on all of the key actors in the region to engage with those Palestinian leaders and organizations that recognize Israel’s right to exist to begin articulating a viable pathway for Palestinians to achieve their legitimate aspirations for self-determination.” 

The Daily Mail notes that former President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a complicated relationship while he was in office, especially as the Obama administration negotiated with Iran to form a deal to prevent the country from obtaining nuclear arms. Obama was a vocal supporter of a two-state solution for Israel.