“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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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