Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Melina Abdullah, Hamas

Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Melina Abdullah Refuse To Condemn Hamas In First Joint TV Interview 

Everyone is not going to agree....

Independent presidential candidate Dr. Cornel West and newly selected running mate Dr. Melina Abdullah are under fire for defending their pro-Palestinian views during an interview aired on CNN.

West sat down in-studio with anchor Abby D. Phillip on Apr. 11 as Abdullah chimed in remotely to touch on key issues surrounding their campaign, starting with their stance on the conflict in Gaza. Phillip alluded to Hamas not being able to guarantee Israel has 40 living hostages, said to be women, that may be sick and elderly, out of the 100 possibly still in Gaza. 

When she asked West if he felt Hamas should release the hostages in exchange for a ceasefire, he mentioned he doesn’t think that will happen. “Hamas is not going to ceasefire just for releasing. They themselves have to stop the bombing that keeps killing folks,” West said.

“Each life is precious, Israeli or Palestinian or whatever, but it’s the Palestinian lives that are being lost. We’ve got to start there.” 

Phillip then turned the questioning to Abdullah, referencing a statement from the Black Lives Matter Grassroots group that Abdullah says was released just two days after the initial Hamas attacks on Oct. 7, 2023.

“When a people have been subject to decades of apartheid and unimaginable violence, their resistance must not be condemned, but understood as a desperate act of self-defense,” the statement read. 

Abdullah told the anchor she agreed with the statement, but when asked plainly if she condemned Hamas, she refused to answer. “I find it really troubling that we are constantly asked to condemn Hamas. I’m not a member of Hamas,” Abdullah said. “I find it even more troubling that an entire state has been built on the genocide of a people, and I think that we have to start with that first.”

The interview was met with both praise and opposition on social media. Some viewers thanked Phillip for asking the “tough questions,” but others criticized the interaction for possible messages of anti-Semitism.

“Big-time antisemitism. ‘Should Israel be a state?’” @colinreese tweeted. 

One voter said she thinks the West-Abdullah ticket is a waste of time, thinking they have no chance of winning the White House. “I missed it on purpose. His candidacy has virtually no chance of being successful and, at best, is a vanity project,” @jacquelinechols wrote. 

West and Abdullah’s remarks seemingly align with those of others dissatisfied with President Joe Biden’s response to the war.

“I think Joe Biden’s total failure to address the humanitarian crisis, the genocide that is going on in Gaza, is really a war crime,” co-chair of the Abandon Biden campaign,” Khalid Turaani said. 

“I mean, it really is a war crime. In a perfect world, I think Joe Biden will be among Benjamin Netanyahu in The Hague.”

West also named Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), accusing them of not “looking as those who are suffering.” “That’s been part of the problem with Biden. That’s been the problem with Schumer. They don’t look at the situation from the vantage point of those who are suffering the most,” he said.