Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb wrote in a 2002 post on his college newspaper’s website that the Israeli government committed “terrorism” and was intentionally targeting civilians in the Gaza Strip.
The comments by Lamb, currently running for Congress in a special election taking place next month, were made in response to a pro-Israel ad published in the Daily Pennsylvanian, a University of Pennsylvania paper, which Lamb said was “disheartening to see.”
“It was disheartening to see the add [sic] in the DP the other day which read, ‘Wherever we stand, we stand with Israel,'” wrote Lamb in October 2002 as a student at UPenn.
Lamb went on to say Israel was targeting “innocent civilians” and guilty of “terrorism.”
“Just the other day, the Israeli Government launched an attack on innocent civilians in Gaza, citing them as ‘armed terrorists,'” Lamb wrote. “Among the dead were a 14 year-old boy and woman in her late 40s. The army intentionally fired on a medical facility treating the over 100 wounded.”
“There is no doubt that both sides of this conflict have committed wrongs, but if this latest attack is not terrorism, I don’t know what is,” he concluded.
Lamb’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on his Israel statement.
The comments by Lamb came during the spate of suicide bombings and other attacks on Israel by Palestinian terrorists during the Second Intifada.
Lamb appears to be referencing in his comments a September 25, 2002, raid by the Israeli Defense Forces on Gaza City aimed at destroying 13 facilities where materials used to make rockets were manufactured, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Also targeted during the operation was the home of a Hamas terrorist responsible for a March 2002 attack that killed 5 students and wounded more than 20.
IDF officials pushed back on the news from Palestinian officials that innocent civilians were targeted.
“From the moment we entered and throughout the entire operation, we had to deal with bombs detonated against our troops on the routes, armed and daring terrorists who got close to the soldiers and opened fire, anti-tank fire, grenades, and armed Palestinians who shot from a distance,” an IDF commander told the Jerusalem Post. “Those hit by us were not innocent civilians but were intent on harming us.”
The commander also said soldiers were “severely restricted throughout the mission in order to prevent civilians from being harmed.”
Hamas orders medical authorities in Gaza to report all deaths as innocent civilians, according to the Gatestone Institute. Reporting out false civilian casualty figures has become a major tool used by the terrorist group in its public relations war against Israel.
Lamb has received an endorsement from J Street, a far-left advocacy group critical of the Jewish state.
Lamb was politically active as a college student. He supported former Vermont governor Howard Dean in the 2004 Democratic primary as head of Penn4Dean and traveled to early primary states to campaign for him, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
Dean was sharply criticized during that primary for saying the United States shouldn’t “take sides” in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. He said the United States needed to be “even-handed.”
Former senator Joe Lieberman (Conn.), also running in the 2004 Democratic primary, called Dean’s comments “very harmful” and said he was “abandoning more than 50 years of bipartisan U.S. policy offering unconditional support to Israel.”
Lamb is running as a centrist in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, which wasn’t even contested by Democrats in 2016.