Florida Republican Rep. Brian Mast raised more than eyebrows on the House floor Wednesday by comparing Gaza’s “innocent Palestinian civilians” to “innocent Nazi civilians” during World War II.
“I think when we look at this as a whole, I would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of ‘innocent Palestinian civilians’ as is frequently said,” Mast began. “I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term ‘innocent Nazi civilians’ during World War II.”
“There’s not this far stretch to say there are very few innocent Palestinian civilians,” Mast went on to say. “I haven’t seen the videos of the innocent Palestinian civilians that were out there trying to protect the Israelis, that were out there trying to stop attacks.”
The 20-second clip went viral quickly on social media, but Mast, who has volunteered alongside the Israeli Defense Forces in the past, explained his stand and took aim at the Palestinian education system which he said indoctrinates children with “antisemitic teachings” from an early age.
“The list goes on and on of the examples we can give of what somebody might just call a rank-and-file Gazan, or rank-and-file person in the West Bank, or just a Palestinian – that maybe they don’t say, falls under the name of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad – but by any classical definition would absolutely be considered a terrorist, somebody that in the last couple of weeks had been conducting kidnappings, murders, brutality that is nearly unspeakable,” he said. “I would ask that it be looked at through that lens.”
Mast has been consistent with his message.
During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last month, arguing for the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, H.R. 340, a bill he sponsored in the House, Mast asserted that any assistance or humanitarian aid to the region should be made with caution.
“Any assistance should be slowed down — any assistance,” “Because I would challenge anybody in here to point to me, which Palestinian is Hamas, and which one is an innocent civilian?
“I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term innocent Nazi civilians.” Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), speaking on the House floor. pic.twitter.com/eR8dh4edpU
— thedailybs w/ Snerdley (@thedailybs_Bo) November 2, 2023
The recent statements landed hard with critics. The responses came in fast and furiously from lawmakers, pundits and X/Twitter warriors.