Hamas "is a humanitarian organization," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday in a discussion of how the U.S. should handle the Islamist extremist group's conflict with Israel.
How does she know? The Qataris "have told me over and over again."
Here's a lesson for Pelosi, D-Calif., on why the word of the Qataris should not inform her thoughts on U.S. policy:
1. Hamas is not a "humanitarian organization." In fact, the Palestinian branch of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood has been on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations since 1997. Pelosi, as a former House speaker, should have known this.
2. Qatar is a major sponsor, both financially and ideologically, of Hamas. Though allied with the U.S., the Wahhabi regime in Doha is widely reported to have supplied hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas, shelters the group's political leaders and provides an outlet for its ideological leaders through the Al Jazeera satellite network, which it controls.
“Qatar has a long history of providing shelter to Islamist groups, amongst them the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban,” Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told Time magazine.
Here endeth the lesson.
UPDATE, 8:34 p.m. -- Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill offered a clarification of her statements:
"As Leader Pelosi reiterated in her CNN interview, Hamas is a terrorist organization. As also stated, she believes that in supporting a two-state solution, we must support Abbas, we must support Israel's Iron Dome initiative and we must support the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians. She also believes that engaging the Qataris, who refer to Hamas as a humanitarian organization and fund such needs, would put additional pressure on Hamas to stop the rockets attacks and destroy all tunnels."
Indeed, the Obama administration has lately been seeking Qatar's help in trying to negotiate a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, but it's hard to see how Doha can offer much assistance, since the record shows it's part of the problem.