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Mehdi Hasan Challenges Piers Morgan for Failing to Ask Guests About ‘Israeli Terrorism’ While Condemning Hamas

Former MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan pushed back against host Piers Morgan’s inquiry about whether he considered Hamas a terrorist organization, criticizing it as a “biased double standard” because pro-Israeli guests aren’t questioned about “Israeli terrorism.” Hasan appeared on Piers Morgan Uncensored Tuesday for a wide-ranging interview to discuss the Israeli military campaign […]

Former MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan responded to presenter Piers Morgan’s inquiry about whether he considered Hamas a terrorist group, criticizing it as a “biased double standard” because pro-Israeli guests aren’t questioned about “Israeli terrorism.”

Hasan appeared on Piers Morgan Uncensored on Tuesday for a wide-ranging interview about the Israeli military operation in Gaza, which was launched in response to a Hamas attack on October 7.

During the discussion, Morgan stated: “I don’t think you’ve called Hamas terrorists. In fact, you’ve gone out of your way to call them fighters. Do you still think that, or do you accept that what they did on October the 7th was an act of terrorism on a heinous scale, and therefore you have to call them terrorists?”

In response, Hasan pointed out that he had denounced Hamas’ attack as terrorism in his initial MSNBC speech after October 7. He argued that he had long been critical of Hamas, writing to a UK newspaper as a teenager to denounce the terror group’s bus bombings.

The exchange, however, was just beginning as Hasan aimed to challenge Morgan on what he saw as an inconsistency in approach.

Morgan: “So just to be clear, just to be clear, it was an act of terrorism and Hamas are terrorists. That’s your position?”

Hasan: “I think the Hamas fighters who went into Israel and killed civilians and kidnapped babies, certainly I would call them terrorists, just as I call Israeli soldiers who kidnap children and kill children terrorists. I use the terrorist label more freely because otherwise it’s just a politicised empty phrase that we just apply to our enemies. What I would say, Piers, is that I find it a problem, and you know this, you’ve joked about all the memes about you, this obsession with what we call Hamas, which is a question you pose, let’s be honest, Piers, to most of your pro-Palestinian brown guests. You don’t ask your Israeli or Jewish or pro-Israeli guests to condemn Israeli terrorism or Israeli war crimes at the start of an interview.
in the way you do with pro-Palestinians.”

Morgan: “I’ve been asked directly whether I think Israel are terrorists, and I’ve said no. So I don’t think they are. I think they had a right to defend themselves. The question is the scale…”

Hasan: “That wasn’t the point I made, Piers. That wasn’t the point I made. I said when you have Israeli guests on… let me finish my sentence…”

Morgan: “No, Mehdi, it’s not your show. It’s mine. I wanted to say that the whole interview, by the way. So we got that out of the way. I’m joking. But the point I would make is, I think that I asked all the pro-Palestinian guests who’ve come on that question quite quickly because I think it reveals a state of mind.”

[…]

Morgan: “The moment you have a pro-Palestinian guest who wants to avoid calling what Hamas did an act of terrorism by terrorists, I think it’s very revealing about their mindset. And I think it’s the wrong mindset.”

Hasan: “Here’s my problem with that. Why is that not applied to your Israeli guests? I would be fine, Piers, if you had Palestinian guests and you begin by asking them, do you condemn Hamas war crimes? Because what Hamas did on October 7th was a war crime. But then you should start with Israeli guests and pro-Israeli guests saying, do you condemn Israeli war crimes, which have been documented by the UN, every human rights group on the planet. You don’t, You had Naftali Bennett, the former Israeli prime minister, on a couple of weeks ago. I watched the interview. Your opening question was, how comfortable are you with the way Israel’s prosecuting the war? Bit of a softball to start with. You didn’t ask him to condemn Israel. Israeli terrorism, Israeli war crimes, Israeli genocide in Gaza. So a lot of people look at that and they say, they get your intention, but it comes across as a bit of a racist double standard.”

Morgan: “Well, look, I don’t think it’s a racist double standard. And I think that nobody has given pro-Palestinian voices a bigger platform more consistently since October the 7th than me. And if you go back and look at those interviews, you know, I think that clips get taken out of context and people assume they know what I’ve said. And often it’s completely misleading. I’ve tried to be fair minded about it. People do ask me, do you think Israel are terrorists? And I’ve said, no, I don’t think they are. But I have repeated it.”

Hasan: “Why?”

Morgan: “Well, I have repeated it because I think they have interest.”

Hasan: “Why?”

Morgan: “Because they were responding to an act of terrorism so heinous it demanded a massive military response. The question for me that’s caused me a moral quandary is what is an acceptably proportionate level of response? And I don’t know the answer. But I don’t think you can call people responding to an act of terror on that scale terrorists for responding. What you can do is hold them to account.”

Hasan: “The problem is if you go to Gaza, if you go to Gaza, Piers, and you talk to Palestinians, they will say that Hamas were responding. If we play the Who Started It game, we go back many decades. What we need to have is a consistent moral principle. What we need to have is…”

Morgan: “Hang on, when did Israel kill 1,200 Palestinians? When did Israel kill hundreds of Palestinian civilians? When did they kill 800 Palestinian civilians in one few-hour period?
in the way that Hamas killed those Israelis.”

Hasan: “But that’s not the definition of terrorism, how many hours you do it in. I can mention many Israeli massacres, going back to Sabra and Shatila, which they oversaw, going back to Qibya and Ariel Sharon, going back to Deir Yassin, where rape and violence happened. The point is not to compare atrocities. The point, Piers, is to have a consistent moral principle, which is to say if you kill civilians for a political cause, you are a terrorist. On that basis, Hamas have committed acts of terror and Israel have committed acts of terror. I think that’s only fair to say that.”

Morgan: “Yeah, listen, you’re perfectly entitled to say it.”

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