Israel-Hamas War: Piers Morgan vs Bassem Youssef On Palestine’s Treatment | The Full Interview Transcript

Piers Morgan Uncensored is joined by Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef for a heated and emotive debate on the historical treatment of Palestine during their conflict with Israel.
Israel Hamas War Piers Morgan vs Bassem Youssef On Palestine's Treatment

Channel: Piers Morgan Uncensored
Publish date: October 17, 2023
Length: 33 minutes, and 15 seconds
Description: Piers Morgan Uncensored is joined by Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef and later on by co-founder of the Daily Wire, Jeremy Boreing, for a heated and emotive debate on the historical treatment of Palestine during their conflict with Israel and whether Israel’s decision to bomb Gaza in an attempt to get rid of Hamas is justified and proportionate after the attacks on October 7th.

Bassem condemns the terrorist organisation Hamas and tries to explain that people have been desensitised to accept that civilians dying is an inevitability of war.

Piers then suggests he doesn’t know what the “proportionate response” to a terrorist attack of Hamas’s scale would be. Bassem responds by referencing a graph that shows the total amount of deaths in the conflict prior to the attacks and questions the Palestinian killings in the West Bank, which has never been occupied by Hamas fighters.

Bassem then mocks Ben Shapiro for his public stance on Israel defending themselves, questioning how an occupier can be defending themselves. Shapiro’s friend and colleague Jeremy is then invited by Piers to debate Bassem’s criticisms.

Read more transcripts of Piers Morgan Uncensored here

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PIERS MORGAN: Joining me now to discuss the conflict in Israel and Gaza, it’s a TV host and satirist, Bassem Youssef. Bassem it’s great to have you back on the program. I wish it was under different circumstances. First of all, what is your reaction to what happened on October the 7th?

BASSEM YOUSSEF: Oh, it was terrible, of course. I mean, we kind of get our news kind of also secondhand because, you know, my wife’s family, they live in Gaza. They have cousins and uncles there. Their house also was bombed. We haven’t been able to communicate with them for the past three days. Communication is lost, so we don’t know actually what is, how they’re doing. But you know, we’re used to that. I mean, it’s just like, it’s very repetitive. We’re used to them being bombed every time and moving from one place to the other. You know, it’s just like those Palestinians, they’re very dramatic. ‘Ah, Israel is killing us,’ but they never die. I mean, they always come back. You know, they’re very difficult to kill, very difficult people to kill. I know because I’m married to one. I tried many times, couldn’t kill her.

PIERS: I mean, there’s a dark humor there, and I understand why. Because no–

BASSEM: It’s not dark humor. I really try to get to her every time, but she uses our kids as human shields. I can never take her out.

PIERS: Again, I understand the humor, but to be serious, Bassam, about this tonight, there is…

BASSEM: Okay, I will be serious. No, I will be serious. I was watching your interview with Ben Shapiro, and I’ll tell you one thing. I think that Ben Shapiro is one of the smartest people who ever walked this Earth. He’s very, very smart. I follow him, and I believe everything he said. And when he came out on your show, his solution was, and I quote, his solution was that the solution for this is for Israel to annex Gaza and to kill as many sons of b*tches as possible to make sure that this will never happen again. And anyone, anyone who calls for a ceasefire will be a terrorist sympathizer. So, God forbid—I don’t want to be labeled as a terrorist sympathizer—so, I agree with Ben Shapiro. I think we should kill as many sons of b*tches as possible.

PIERS: Let me… ok, Bassem, let me–

BASSEM: So far, 3,500 people were killed, including 5,000 sons of b*tches in the bombing of the Baptist hospital as we speak right now. One-third of those 3,500 were children. So, my question to Ben Shapiro is, how many more sons of b*tches do we need to kill so Ben Shapiro is happy? Because it changes from one year–

PIERS: Bassem, let me stop you there to say–

BASSEM: I’m sorry– I’m really at a disadvantage here. I’m looking at a camera. I don’t see you. I can hear you on my ear–

PIERS: The reason I’m interrupting is, I think you might be– I think you’re conflating different interviews with Ben Shapiro. He didn’t use the phrase ‘sons of b*tches’ with me. Let me play to you what he actually said on my show–

BASSEM: He did, he did, go back, go back to your interview.

PIERS: He didn’t. That was another interview. But let me play what he said to me here.

BEN SHAPIRO: ‘Well, I frankly, I don’t believe in proportionate response to terrorism. I believe that the way that you stop terrorism is with wildly disproportionate response. That doesn’t mean in terms of targeting civilians. It means in terms of killing as many terrorists as humanly possible. And allowing them to dictate the terms of engagement by hiding behind civilians in areas that they are supposedly responsible for means that the only option for Israel is to surrender to Hamas’s hatred of its own citizens, its willingness to use its own children as human shields. No country worth its salt could ever do that.’

PIERS: Now, that is substantively different to what you said he said. He’s talking there specifically about–

BASSEM: I agree, I agree with him. The thing is, the question is, what is a proportionate response? Because it has been different from one year to another. So if you look to this graph, for example, this is the death of Israeli and Palestinians, and it’s changing from one year to year. It’s like fluctuating like crypto. So my question is, today, what is the going rate today for human lives? I mean, 2014 was a great year for Ben Shapiro. 88 Israelis died, and there were 2,329 Palestinians killed on the other side. That is one Israeli for 27 Palestinians. That is a very good exchange rate. What I’m saying is, what is the exchange rate for today? So you guys will be happy, that’s my question. I want to know.

PIERS: Well, it’s not me, it’s not me, guys. I’m not on either side here.

BASSEM: No, not you. Like when I say ‘you guys’, I say like the people on the other side of that. I know that you don’t think like that, Pierce. You’re one of the good guys. But let me tell you something. The reason that I’m using this is that– I mean, I can’t remember what happened in 2014, and there was no music festival. But there, there must be something. I mean, they must do something. It is their fault. It has to be something. I mean, 2018, 300 Palestinians died. Ah, who’s counting, you know? So the thing is, what my question is, let’s find what is the exchange rate for human life today. So we know, expect the future death of Palestinians, and we’ll be happy to it.

PIERS: My response to that would be this, Bassem I thought carefully about this because I think it’s very tricky for people like me to immerse ourselves into a conflict where we’re not directly involved. And I thought carefully about what I feel about this. I feel that the scale of what Hamas did on October the 7th supersedes anything else I’ve seen in this conflict, really ever. That the savagery, the butchery, the slaughter of 1,300 people, the shooting of babies, the kidnapping of a grandmother, and so on. So if we can agree on that, which I think is inarguable, then the question then becomes again about proportion. I don’t disagree that there’s been a lot of bad stuff on both sides going back historically for decades. But if we agree that this was on a different level all together, quite deliberately by Hamas, designed, designed to provoke, designed to… Here’s my question. Let me ask you a question. And the question, you, you raised it earlier about proportion. I honestly don’t know what the proportionate response is. I honestly don’t. I don’t. I’ve been watching the airstrikes.

BASSEM: So, what’s your question? What’s the question?

PIERS: Well, I would ask you, if you were Israel, what would you…

BASSEM: Oh, if I was Israel–

PIERS: …if you were Israel, and that had happened to you, what would you think would be the appropriate way for the country to respond?

BASSEM: I would do exactly like Israel did. Kill as many people as possible since the world is letting me do it. I mean, I can do it because I can, you know. But the thing is, you know what, I agree with you. And you know what, I’m going to be even ahead of you because I see the question coming. ‘Do you condemn Hamas for the atrocity?’ Yes, I condemn Hamas. I condemn Hamas. I condemn H… Hamas is the source of all evil, they are the reason for this. And you know what, let’s for a minute imagine a world without Hamas. What will this world look like? Let’s give this world a name, and let’s name this world the West Bank. Hamas has absolutely no control in the West Bank. And since the beginning of this, only through August, 37 Palestinian kids were killed. No music festival, no paragliding, no Hamas. Since the occupation of the West Bank, 7,000 Palestinians were killed. No music festival, no paragliding, no Hamas. I can go on and on and on and on.

PIERS: No, you don’t need to because in a way, you’re preaching to the choir. I’ve followed this crisis.

BASSEM: So the thing is, like I…

PIERS: In a sense, I know that what you’re saying has validity. Of course, of course…

BASSEM: Pierce, by the way, Pierce, Pierce, Pierce. I am at a disadvantage here. I can hear you, I cannot see you. I am in a claustrophobic room so please cut me some slack and don’t interrupt me and interrupt my points.

PIERS: Sure.

BASSEM: So… because this has to be fair. Because if you want to only hear your opinion, I can just condemn Hamas and go home. I can do that. So if– do you want to do that, or do you have a much more nuanced conversation?

PIERS: No, I absolutely want to have a nuanced conversation. I wasn’t aware I was interrupting you. I thought I was letting you speak…

BASSEM: Amazing. So let’s… I would say, I really applaud Israel for doing one thing that no military force in the world does. Because I heard Ben Shapiro, and I heard Ron DeSantis, and they said, they said, Israel is the only military force in the world that warns civilians before bombing them. I mean, how f*cking cute that is. So nice of them. Because with this logic, if Russian troops started warning Ukrainians before bombing their houses, we’re cool with Putin, right? I mean, okay, Habibi, you have warned them, go invade, it’s fine. You have done your job. I mean, the thing is, and I understand, and I also heard Ben Shapiro talking about, uh, about human shields. So you remember, my wife’s family, they live in Gaza. So I asked them, I told them, when Israel gives you the nice warning, the cute warning, does Hamas force you to stay in your home so you can be bombed and used as a human shield? You know what, Hassen, here, my wife’s cousin, he’s a loser. You know, he told me, you know, when I asked him, does that happen, he told me no. The lying son of a b*tch lied to me. I told him, you don’t understand. Ben Shapiro and Ron DeSantis keep saying that Israel warns you, and Hamas asks you to keep, to stay put. So I told you, he’s a loser. He never kept a job. He even failed in all of the interviews to become like a human shield. I would believe Ben Shapiro. So let’s go with that. No, no, no, let’s… No, no, let me ask you…

PIERS: At some point, I must be able to ask you questions. It’s not…

BASSEM: If we agree, the 14,000 casualties, I mean, who’s counting, are human shields. Does that mean that every single one of those civilians was standing, obscuring a military target behind them? Because that’s a lot of weapons. I mean, Hamas is packing.

PIERS: No, of course, it doesn’t. And look, I, you know…

BASSEM: So there is some collateral damage. Lots of collateral damage. Yes, it’s fine. Yeah, you kill, you kill some to save some, and then kill some more. Yeah, I agree. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I agree. I would…

PIERS: Let me ask you this again. It comes back to proportionate response. When the world decided it had to get rid of ISIS because of the appalling butchery they were carrying out, it did so by also killing, very sadly, a lot of civilians along the way by doing airstrikes against places which…

BASSEM: Killing civilians are inevitable. You said that in the beginning, it’s inevitable.

PIERS: But once Israel, once Israel has decided that they want to get rid of Hamas, and Hamas is embedded with civilian population, I’m very concerned about what’s going to happen next. I’ve written a column tonight saying, I remember the Iraq war, which I opposed, right? I remember all this. So my question to you is,  what would be, what would you think would be in response by Israel to what happened?

BASSEM: Well, these are the years of disproportionate responses of Israel [he shows a graphic], did it solve the problem? Did it work before? What will be the surprise this time? What will be the twist that will make this work this time? What will be different this time? Seriously, I mean, like, this is only the last 15 years. I mean, because it’s too many papers, I just got this. But what– how will this be different? And the thing is, I am so glad in the introduction that you mentioned the Iraq War. I applaud you, Pierce, for saying that because you were honest about it. You said that spreading lies like WMDs [Weapons of mass destruction] make people look at those people as less of humans and they would accept the death of a million Iraqis, whether by sanctions or by invasion, right? You are a good man, this is amazing. And you know what is similar? It is when you spread the lies of 40 decapitated babies, although it was refuted. So, what happens when people hear that? You know, killing babies is horrible, but when you say decapitated 40 babies, you are planting a certain image trigger in people’s mind.

PIERS: Who has said that? Who has said 40?

BASSEM: Who said that?

PIERS: You said 40 decapitated. Who has said that?

BASSEM: You have, you have, repeat.

PIERS: No, no, I haven’t.

BASSEM: What, I’ve never said that. You haven’t said on your show 40 decapitated babies?

PIERS: Never.

BASSEM: Ben Shapiro didn’t say it? Ron DeSantis didn’t say it?

PIERS: Nobody has said that.


PIERS: Nobody said it.

BASSEM: Nobody said that?!?


BASSEM: Oh, okay, maybe I am wrong. Decapitated…

PIERS: You’re wrong. I’ve never said that.

BASSEM: The thing, what happened, what… Yeah, well, no, you’re wrong. But the thing is, when Iraq, the thing is, the same thing is happening in Iraq. Ben Shapiro once tweeted, not even about Gaza, about the West Bank, when Israel continued to build the illegal settlement. He said, 2017, ‘Israel likes to build things and Arabs, not Palestine, not Hamas, Arabs like the bomb crap and live in open sewage.’

PIERS: Yeah, I thought that was very, very […] to say…

BASSEM: The Israeli defense minister said those are human animals. And the thing is, Ben Shapiro should know better because, you know, long before the Holocaust, before Jewish people were thrown in the gas chambers, the Nazi propaganda called them rats. Now, as a human being, I will never accept that another human being being thrown in a gas chamber. But a rat, kill 10, kill a thousand, 3,500, they are sons of a b*tch, they are human animals who live in open sewage and decapitate babies. And because of that propaganda, Mr. Morgan, that guy in Illinois, the 71-year-old guy, he killed, stabbing the six years old Palestinian kid in Illinois, 26 times. And he used to play with him. They used to be friends, but he went in, marching into their apartment, stabbing his mother and killing him, shouting ‘All Muslims could die.’ It took you 80 years to change one word from Jewish to Muslim, and then you transferred your guilt to us and took away our land.

PIERS: Bassem,  let me ask you a question. How do we get from where we are now to peace?

BASSEM: Well, first of all, you need to change the perception. Uh, Nikki Haley, the American presidential candidate, said we are in Israel in this because it’s a fight between good and evil. Now, if you already decided someone is good, he can do no evil. And if you decided that someone is evil, it’s good to kill them. Killing them is good. You see, the thing is, it is not like something new. I mean, I look at history, and I see, I’m sorry to say, and I’m sorry to say this, but westerners have always dealt like this with indigenous people. You first treated them like savages. You know, Native American, First Nation, Aboriginal, ‘They’re savages. Kill all the savages!’ And then when they’re almost extinct, you start feeling sorry for them. You know, like animals. So maybe, maybe the solution is that we kill as many Palestinians as possible so the few of them that remain do not bother you. And maybe for another hundred years, he’ll become a tree hugger…

PIERS: Let me just challenge you on this.

BASSEM: …and he will campaign for preserving the…

PIERS: You keep talking about westerners like me, okay, so let me return the favor. Okay, Hamas is dedicated to the complete eradication of Jewish people.

BASSEM: I am not the spokesman for Hamas here.

PIERS: I’m not saying you are…

BASSEM: Why do you… Why do you… I’m not their spokesman… I f*cking hate them… Hamas, are you happy?

PIERS: You’re missing my point. You’re talking in a generalized way about people in the West who always talk about Arabs as savages. I don’t…

BASSEM: No, no, no, I’m talking about…

PIERS: I have never had… I led, the media campaign in this country against the Iraq War, okay, so I don’t see… I don’t see people in the Middle East as savages. But what I say is…

BASSEM: I am not talking about you, you’re great. You are amazing. We love you!

PIERS: No, no, it’s not about me being great… It’s about… It’s about the way Hamas behaved on October the 7th was like savages, like a pack of savages. It was the worst atrocity against Jewish people since the Holocaust. There has to be a response. And my question, be… My question for you is, what is the proportionate response?

BASSEM: But I don’t know, but there’s no Hamas in the West Bank and they’re still dying there. So what’s your excuse?

PIERS: I don’t have any excuse.

BASSEM: Okay, what’s… What’s your explanation? Sorry, sorry, uh, my earpiece went down.

PIERS: I… I listen. I don’t make any pretense that this hasn’t been a massive problem, between Palestine and Israel going back to the mid-40s. We all know this, right?

BASSEM: I… I’m… I’m… Yeah, yeah, yeah. Pierce, Pierce, Pierce, listen. I’m not saying that you’re making an excuse, but if you are adopting a certain point of view, you have to at least defend it. I’m telling you, there is no Hamas in the West Bank. What is… What is the excuse—not your excuse—what is the excuse to kill those people?

PIERS: Well, it’s… Listen, this question of proportionality is one that…

BASSEM: No, no, no, answer my question! I’ve been answering your question, you answer mine.

PIERS: It’s actually not my job to answer your questions. It’s not.

BASSEM: Okay, not your… Not your job. I… I agree with you.

PIERS: I’m more interested in you, who has family in Gaza. I’ll… Who’s an Egyptian in the Middle East, right? I’m more interested in what you have to say.

BASSEM: Okay, I’m telling you, I’m telling you, I think Hamas is the problem. Okay, now let’s say Hamas is removed. Let’s… Hamas… Yeah, I’m agreeing with everything. About… You want me to go ham? I will condemn Hamas. Hamas… So here’s the thing. Okay, let’s say, for example, Hamas ceased to exist. Hamas ceased to exist today. Now, right now, in Palestine, in West Bank, and Gaza, 20% of Palestinians go through Israeli prison system, whether imprisonment, whether interrogation, whether torture. And the rest of them, they live a life of daily loss of land, of homes, of life. And they are… They are suffocated by this… So let me ask you something. If you are a Palestinian living into these conditions for decades, would you… would you sympathize with your oppressor or sympathize with the people who claim they resist them, even if they are terrorists?

PIERS: I have made… I have made no secret that I think the conditions Palestinians have had to exist under are completely unacceptable. I’ve said that for years. So the question then becomes, how do you forge peace between two warring parts of that region who, for decades, have approached peace, in my view, with mutual sledgehammers, with no actual desire to have peace? And I think it comes down, in the end, to great leadership. And I… I don’t think there’s great… I don’t think. Well, hang on, let me make my point. I don’t think there’s great leadership on either side. Where is the Nelson Mandela figure here to come through all this? Where is that figure?

BASSEM: Nelson Mandela actually have criticized Israel for being a horrible state. All of the South African activists have actually… Israel…

PIERS: My point is, how he responded to a country that was so divided… is a template for how you get to peace, isn’t it?

BASSEM: I haven’t met Nelson Mandela, so I wouldn’t know, but there is a point, there’s a very important point here. You know, I want to understand what is the logic of Israel carpet bombing Gaza. I mean, if there’s a logic, if there’s a good, if this will make Israel safe, I want to hear the logic. So if they continue bombing, what are they hoping to achieve?

PIERS: We know what their stated aim is. Their stated aim is to eradicate and wipe out Hamas. They believe Hamas are living, are living predominantly in Northern Gaza. They also are aware they’re living amongst civilians, so it’s an incredibly difficult thing. As I said, as I said in my monologue, you know, it is very, very difficult to see how they do this without massive collateral damage.

BASSEM: So if I can understand this correctly, basically, Israel is doing this to pressure the Palestinian community in Gaza to turn against Hamas, is that right?

PIERS: I’m sure that’s part of it, yes.

BASSEM: That’s part of it. So this is exactly what terrorist organizations do because terrorist organizations will have no chance beating a whole nation in battle. So they terrorize and they kill the civilians in order to spread fear and terror, so they can turn against their government to change their policy or to resign. You have just compared Israel with ISIS.

PIERS: No, I haven’t. I don’t, I don’t see any comparison between Israel and ISIS…

BASSEM: It’s going to be the headlines tomorrow. ‘Piers Morgan: Israel is ISIS.’

PIERS: Only amongst people who weren’t listening. The comparison which is more appropriate is ISIS and Hamas. They are both nihilistic terror groups intent on killing as many Jewish people and others as they can possibly kill, and you can’t get people like that.

BASSEM: Absolutely, you know what, I’m going to do something that nobody has done on your television. I’m going to do on your episode? I’m going to pretend that I’m an Israeli citizen. I’m going to put myself in the place of an Israeli settler in the kibbutz, and I want to speak to my prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, I have voted for you because you have promised us peace and prosperity and security. On the 7th of October, those sons of b*tches, Hamas, they went into defense that is regularly heavily guarded. Usually, if there’s like a dove that comes close to it, it will be shot. Those people went in, and they went for 6 hours before IDF forces were deployed, killing our friends, our families, kidnapping our grandmothers and babies, and went in. I want to ask you, Mr. Prime Minister, after you have fractured the Israeli community and you have f*cked our courts, our Supreme Courts, what are you doing with the money being given to you by the United States? Also, you are carpet bombing Gaza with absolutely no regard to our hostages, our people. I heard a rumor in the kibbutz that you’re doing that as an excuse to carpet bomb Gaza so you push them into Sinai, and I didn’t believe that. there’s not like my prime minister, he can never do that. And then I watched an interview from Danny Ayalon, he was your Chief advisor, he was also the Israeli ambassador to the United States, and you know what he said, Mr. Prime Minister? He said that the solution for those Palestinians is to go into a vast land of Sinai and live into tent cities temporarily, huh, temporary, wink wink, until we build Gaza again and then we invite you back. We’ve seen this movie before. So yeah, and when I saw this, I couldn’t explain to my fellows in the kibbutz how come our Israeli government is trading human lives for another piece of land. So as an Israeli citizen, I need to hold my Israeli government accountable, and as an American citizen, I want to know all of these money that we are giving to Israel. We’re giving them $4 billion every year. Joe Biden said it’s the best investment America ever done. Well, if I am in the place of Joe Biden, I would say… if I was Joe Biden, I would go down and whisper in the ears of Netanyahu and tell them, ‘I hate bad investments, they haunt me,’ you know, like Little Finger in Game of Thrones. But the thing is, the thing is, this is the problem. Israel always victimizes itself, and I have never seen a victim putting their oppressor under siege and bombing them 24/7. Israel wants you to believe that they are the victim. Dealing with Israel is so difficult, it’s like being in a relationship with a narcissistic psychopath. He f*cks you up and then he makes you think it’s your fault. You look at Israel as Superman, but they’re really Homelander. They are like, they are shooting, and they are annoyed with the splashes.

PIERS: Bassem, I want to say two things. One, if you could just slightly manage your language, we are uncensored, but if you keep swearing, we have to apologize to viewers who may be offended by that.

BASSEM: I apologize…

PIERS: I understand passion runs high, so let’s not get too bogged down about the odd swear word.

BASSEM: I apologize to the viewers, I apologize to the viewers for my language…

PIERS: My second question is this…

BASSEM: …after the sight of dead civilians.

PIERS: After the break, we have the managing director of The Daily Wire, which is Ben Shapiro’s company. We were going to interview him on his own, but he’s happy to come on and talk with you directly if you are prepared to stay.

BASSEM: Well, of course, I can stay, but again, I am… I am at a disadvantage, and I would like to have my space to respond.

PIERS: Okay, we’ll come back after the break. When we come back from the break, be you and Jeremy Boreing.

PIERS: Welcome back. For more on the situation in Israel, I’m joined now by the CEO and co-founder of The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro’s partner, Jeremy Boreing. Uh, Jeremy, thank you very much indeed for joining me. I’m sorry we demoted you earlier to MD, you are the CEO and co-founder. Uh, you know Ben Shapiro better than anyone really. I did a big interview with Ben, obviously, the other night, which went around the world, and has sparked a big reaction, including from our guest, Bassem Youssef, who’s still with us. First of all, you’ve been listening to Bassem and what he’s been saying, what’s your response?

JEREMY BOREING: Well, first of all, I make it a point not to speak for Ben Shapiro. He’s got a 20 IQ points on me and speaks for a living professionally, so he’s much better prepared to defend himself. But as his business partner, as his best friend, I do feel like I have to respond to the things that Bassem was just saying. First of all, the question of how many sons of b*tch have to be killed in order to end this conflict. I suppose that the answer is, as many of them as it takes. That doesn’t mean that I, or Ben, or any decent person in their right mind, is happy with the killing of civilians. Uh, I posted at the very beginning of this conflict that a woman or a child blown apart in Gaza is just as tragic as a Jewish baby killed in one of the settlements. That doesn’t mean that Israel’s actions and the actions of Hamas are morally equivalent. You know, the tragedy is the tragedy, but the moral equivalency is nonsense. If you entered Israel with the express purpose of targeting and murdering civilians with your own hands and cold blood, that is not comparable to Israel bombing targets in the Gaza Strip and killing civilians as a terrible, tragic consequence. War is terrible, war is an awful thing. That’s why decent people don’t lightly engage in war, and why Hamas should not have incited this war. You know, we can talk about the history of the Israeli conflict. I’m not a professional political commentator, I’m a CEO, I’m a screenwriter, uh, and I’m certainly not Ben Shapiro. I’m not here to discuss the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we all saw what happened on October 7th, and the idea that Israel was not going to react severely to that, or that Israel should not react severely to that, is ludicrous. And the idea that Ben Shapiro should be a moderating voice… that Ben Shapiro should be, what, saying no, Israel should not respond in this situation? That’s nonsense.

PIERS: Let me ask you though, Jeremy, what, I mean, the question which I think is the big question, what is a proportionate response to that outrage on October the 7th, which is the worst attack on Jewish people since the Holocaust? What is proportionate? If it’s true, as reports are suggesting tonight, that there may have been a hospital hit by an Israeli strike and up to 500 people or more have died, that would seem to me, if that is verified – and it’s not verified yet, you know, we don’t know exactly what has happened other than there’s been a hit on this hospital – but if that is verified to have been an Israeli strike, that will strike many people as disproportionate.

JEREMY: Certainly, well, first of all, I don’t know what a proportionate response is or why we would want it. I suppose a proportionate response would be for 3,000 Israelis to go through the fence, gun down innocent Palestinian women and children, burn their bodies, burn them alive, take hostages, rape their women. No one wants a proportionate response. No, no moral person could possibly call for a proportionate response. The purpose of war is to defeat your enemy. The West has, in my lifetime, forgotten the purpose of war because the true cost of war is so terrible. The last time the West engaged in war and won it was World War II, and they did it through incredible brutality. They did it by bringing their enemies to heel. That is not a thing to… that’s not a thing to rah-rah about, that’s not a thing to look forward to. As I said, all decent people should avoid war. But I think the sort of lie of the post-World War II, the post-war consensus lie, is that somehow war, in which you kill a bunch of people and don’t secure victory, is morally superior to war where you do secure victory. I would say that the only way to morally justify a war is to win it. Otherwise, your argument, the very argument that brought you into the war, ‘this enemy must be defeated,’ ends up being proven a lie. I mean, Afghanistan– I think America had every right to go into Afghanistan. Uh, the Taliban was harboring Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda flew planes into buildings in the United States, killed thousands of our citizens, uh, brought the nation into untold agony, pain, and horror. America had every right morally to go in and destroy the Taliban and destroy al-Qaeda.

PIERS: But I would argue Jeremy…

JEREMY: But the Taliban now rules in Afghan. The war was not won.

PIERS: But that’s my point actually. I’ve done a column about this tonight, uh, for the Sun here in the UK, which is, I was editor of a newspaper when the Iraq War happened. I, uh, opposed it very aggressively as the editor of the paper, and sadly we were born out by events. It was a complete disaster, the Iraq War in my view. It was illegally contested, I think, and the consequences were appalling in terms of loss of life, a million people, in terms of Isis being allowed to breed and create their merry hell around the world, in terms of complete dismantlement of Iraq itself as a functioning country, and I think Afghanistan again, 20 years of, you know, attacking an enemy which is now running the country again, seemed to me again to be kind of pointless. And I do wonder whether Israel, in its blind fury which I completely understand, has thought through the consequences of actually launching a full air, ground, and sea offensive into Gaza as to actually what happens at the end of that.

JEREMY: Well, I suppose Israel wasn’t really given the opportunity to fully contemplate what the consequences of that action might be because Israel didn’t instigate this war. This war was instigated by a horrible terrorist attack on Israel and a state is put in a position where it has to respond. Now, one might argue that the very fact that Israel has yet to actually launch their ground invasion means that they are actually making a calculation about what the cost will be, what victory looks like. Any rational person, any decent person can engage in a conversation about what is the appropriate response for Israel, of course they can. But this sort of moral equivalency thing, I don’t think is a sign of decency to engage in a conversation about moral equivalency.

PIERS: Let me bring, uh, Bassem back in. You’ve been listening to this, Bassem. What’s your response to what Jeremy’s been saying? I’m, I’m sorry, I didn’t catch the gentleman’s name. It’s Jeremy Boreing. He’s the chief executive of the Daily Wire, co-founder with Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire.

BASSEM: Hi, Jeremy. Please say hello to Ben Shapiro and please tell him that I do think he is the smartest person to ever walk the earth. Thank you so much. So, as a response to Jeremy. I agree with everything you said. I mean, what is disproportionate? I mean that you, he just used the, uh, examples from the Second World War and America showing that civilian casualty is a, I mean, I heard his voice. He was very sad and he, as he was telling us, it is so inevitable to kill so many civilians because it’s something that we cannot avoid. I hear the sadness in his voice and I know that it’s a very difficult decision to kill all of these civilians because that’s for a higher cause, and I understand. But my question– I have two questions. The question is, how can you justify the killing in the West Bank where Hamas does not exist? And if the disproportionate response during all of these years have actually worked, what will be new this time that did not happen before? I just want to– that was my question. So now, so now, now if I ask the question, can I, can I say something on my side? A little bit…

PIERS: Bassem, with respect, I gave you half the show to have your side. Jeremy’s had a lot less time, uh, I’m going to move on. I’m going to have to let you go because you’ve been on there with you for 40 minutes.

BASSEM: Okay, bye-bye.

PIERS: But listen…

BASSEM: Bye-bye.

PIERS: I’d like to talk to you again and thank you for joining the program. I appreciate it.

BASSEM: Oh, by the way, my wife’s family is all right and they send us a house. It’s bombed. It’s beautiful. It’s, it’s going to be a good, like Halloween theme. So…

PIERS: Well, I’m very sorry for what your family are going through in Gaza and I mean very.

BASSEM: By the way, I don’t know, I, I don’t know my, I don’t know him. By the way, I don’t, I haven’t actually met them. They didn’t even come to my wedding. They couldn’t because they are stuck in Gaza and she never saw them because, you know, Gaza is not a destination. We hear their voices and it’s, they, they die. It’s fine. It’s fine.

PIERS: Bassem. I wish your family all the very best. Thank you for joining me. I appreciate it.

BASSEM: I, I don’t, thank you.


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