“Friends of Hamas” Even Stupider Than You Thought

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Karl Marx remarked that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Apparently this is still true. The conservative demagoguery that took down Susan Rice was a tragedy. The demagoguery attempting to take down Chuck Hagel is now officially a farce.

Remember “Friends of Hamas,” the absurd terrorist front group that Hagel supposedly received funding from? Turns out it’s even more absurd than we thought. New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman says he unwittingly made up the whole thing:

Here’s what happened: When rumors swirled that Hagel received speaking fees from controversial organizations, I attempted to check them out. On Feb. 6, I called a Republican aide on Capitol Hill with a question: Did Hagel’s Senate critics know of controversial groups that he had addressed?

Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France”? And: What about “Friends of Hamas”? The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them.

Read the whole thing for more. Apparently the aide somehow mentioned this to someone else, who mentioned it to Ben Shapiro at Breitbart.com, who swallowed it whole, and from there it caught fire with the entire conservative movement. That’s all it took.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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