Hochul apologizes for 'poor choice of words' over Canada-Hamas analogy

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) apologized on Saturday for her “poor choice of words” over the Canada-Hamas analogy she made during her keynote address at a Jewish philanthropy event in New York City this week.

Hochul apologized for the “inappropriate analogy” she made on Thursday when she that Israel has the right to destroy Gaza in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

“If Canada someday ever attacked Buffalo, I’m sorry my friends, there would be no Canada the next day, right, right?” Hochul said at the UJA Federation of New York Lawyers division annual event. “But think about that, that is a natural reaction. You have a right to defend yourself and to make sure it never happens again, and that is Israel’s right.”

Hochul apologized late Saturday for her Thursday remarks, saying they could be “hurtful” to members of her community. She added that Palestinian civilian casualties should be minimized and advocated for increased humanitarian aid. 

She expressed regret for her “poor choice of words” and for the use of an “inappropriate analogy that I now realize could be hurtful to members of our community,” according to a statement obtained by CNN. 

“While I have been clear in my support of Israel’s right to self-defense, 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,” Hochul said.

Her speech on Thursday drew a rebuke from several lawmakers and groups in the state of New York, including New York City Council member Shahana Hanif.

“I need to see changed behavior. I will not be forgiving you at this time,” Hanif wrote on Saturday.

New York State Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani said on Friday that Hochul is “justifying genocide.” 

The UJA Federation of New York thanked Hochul for “standing with the Jewish community.”

“Thank you, @GovKathyHochul for joining us this evening at our Lawyers Division Annual Event and for always standing with the Jewish community and against antisemitism and hate in New York,” the organization said on Thursday. 

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