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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Regrets Implying Israel’s Right To Destroy Gaza


New York Governor Kathy Hochul apologized Friday for comments she made suggesting that Israel is justified in destroying Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’ October 7 attack.

“If Canada someday ever attacked Buffalo, I’m sorry, my friends, there would be no Canada the next day,” Hochul said in remarks that circulated widely on social media. “That is a natural reaction. You have a right to defend yourself and to make sure that it never happens again. And that is Israel’s right.”

The governor regretted her “poor choice of words” and the “inappropriate analogy” in a statement to the New York Times.

“While I have been clear in my support of Israel’s right to self-defense,” Hochul added, “I have also repeatedly said and continue to believe that Palestinian civilian casualties should be avoided and that more humanitarian aid must go to the people of Gaza.”

Since Hamas’ attack, which resulted in the death of 1,200 Israelis, most of whom were civilians, Israeli’s retaliatory assault has killed over 28,000 Palestinians in Gaza and generated a spiraling humanitarian crisis.

Hochul’s comment came at a Thursday event hosted by the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York, a nonprofit and chapter of the Jewish Federations of North America. The group frequently sends American politicians to Israel and recently sponsored a trip for New York City Mayor Eric Adams in August.

The nonprofit reportedly offered to pay for Hochul’s two-day “solidarity trip” to Israel in mid-October, which coincided with President Joe Biden’s first trip to the country following the Hamas attack. But Hochul’s office, citing a delay in an ethics review of the funding, said later that New York taxpayers would instead foot the $12,000 bill.

“We know about being attacked by terrorist organizations here in New York City,” Hochul said after the trip. “I felt this overwhelming need to go there and say, you know, on behalf of New Yorkers — particularly the very large Jewish community we have in New York — that I wanted to go there to show our support, meet with people who have endured the unspeakable.”

Hochul’s comments come as the war continues to rage in Gaza, with Israel gearing up for a potential ground invasion of Rafah, a city near the Egyptian border that currently houses 1.4 million displaced Palestinians who have fled from other parts of the territory.

Martin Griffiths, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, wrote last week that Israeli military operations in Rafah “could lead to a slaughter in Gaza. They could also leave an already fragile humanitarian operation at death’s door.”

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