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WATCH: American Jewish comedian Ami Kozak finds Hamas terrorists and 'woke' college presidents nothing to laugh at

'Being a pacifist is not moral'

Tom Tradup interviewing Ami Kozak (Photo: Screenshot)

Ami Kozak is a multi-faceted and complex young man: A stand-up comedian, music producer, performer in the band Distant Cousins and more recently a calm voice of reason in a world at war both militarily and morally. He is an American Jew who admits he prefers to entertain people and make them laugh but who also has found his new voice in the debate which ensued after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. As pro-Palestinian marches broke out across America and antisemitism reared its ugly head on college campuses, Ami felt compelled to speak out.

He sat down for an interview with me the morning after three Ivy League college presidents testified before Congress on why pro-Hamas and pro-genocide demonstrations have been allowed to proliferate at their institutions.

Kozak was not hesitant to weigh-in on their refusals to condemn calls for genocide of Jews around the world…something he blames on “ill-informed pacifists.”

“I don’t consider myself a scholar,” Kozak admits. “I’m obviously intellectually curious, and traditionally in my comedy or music I prefer to make people dance and laugh and sing as opposed to anything else. But more recently I’ve been doing what’s required to make people think.”

Kozak observes that people on American campuses seem to be confused about the Israel/Hamas war even when it is morally obvious which side to take; especially, he contends, after the events of Oct. 7 when the world saw the barbarism and savagery of Hamas and Israel responding to defend its citizens and to protect human life.

As for those obsequious Ivy League presidents testifying before Congress, Kozak says: “On the administrative level, you’re seeing spineless, gutless moral confusion. Something so ridiculous only an intellectual would believe them. And for me personally, this is the nail in the coffin of the Ivy League institutions that teach you not how to think but what to think…. the full indoctrination of these students into the worst ideas of the Left like moral relativism.”

“I think that it correlates to politics or a certain temperament on the far Left that when confronted with evil, with barbarism with savagery, it’s so hard to face it head on that it is easier to externalize the atrocious actions of certain actors and suggest no one is responsible for anything. To say that war is simply this external, abstract thing that descends upon humanity. And when it does happen, we need peace. We need to avoid it.” 

In the Left’s view, he says, “There’s no aggressor. There’s no defender. Pure moral equivalence…pure neutrality. Pacifism feels palatable for people… like something they can get behind. 'What’s wrong with pacifism?' they ask. They just want peace.” 

“But they’re forgetting a key factor in that equation: that when you live in a world where you have competing values, where you have people who don’t value life and who don’t value freedom and peace and they act upon those principles in a war of aggression and they’ve attacked and violated your rights, well then you have to respond with force and with self-defense ….in order to achieve peace.”

Kozak adds: “It's better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war. You have to be able to eliminate those entities and those regimes that do not want peace and do not want co-existence or tolerance and do not want freedom.”

As for the recent calls by Leftists for a ceasefire, he says “It’s suicidal. Your only option in those circumstances is basically to roll over and die. Pacifism is not moral. Being anti-war in the face of aggression is not moral because the choice is self defense or suicide. You either fight back or let them kill you.”

I told Kozak that I’ve heard criticism of his expressed concerns over children on both sides in the war being killed, opening him up to charges that he’s for so-called moral relevance between Israeli and Gaza deaths. His reaction?

“I am torn about this. The optics of war are horrible and children—I mean babies and children—are not guilty for the sins of their parents or adults who’ve acted on their behalf. Accountability is the factor here. Not the tragedy of innocent people who die. We’re not going to deny the tragedy of civilians caught in the crossfire of war. It is the fault of the entities that attacked Israel to begin with and brought this on. They knew it would bring this on. That is the tactic and strategy of Hamas to maximize civilian casualties on both sides.”

“There is this campaign about freeing Gaza from Hamas,” Kozak observes. “If we just get rid of Hamas, we’re left with a peace-loving population that’s ready to embrace Israel. The truth is, if you look at the city streets in Gaza and the mobs of people cheering for a woman with broken legs and who is dead and dragged through the streets on a truck and they’re all cheering, or the hostages being brought back and everyone’s cheering and harassing them, I don’t feel as optimistic going forward.”

As our chat wound down, I wondered if Kozak's strong public pronouncements on the Israel/Hamas war and other topics might make it hard for him to transition back into standup comedy. He was philosophical on that score: “You do what you do and people perceive it how they perceive it so I don’t worry about it. You have to do comedy in a world where people can respect each other. That’s how you can make fun of each other. Comedy is the expression and celebration of a world that is tolerant and forgiving. And we can say harsh truths in comedic ways so we can laugh about it together. And celebrate differences. And it doesn’t come from a place that’s ugly or hostile. Comedy has to exist in a place that’s free and open and respectful.” 

I believe Ami Kozak’s free, open and respectful perspective will make him someone we will want to keep hearing from for years to come.

Tom is a contributing editor for ALL ISRAEL NEWS. He has long served as vice president of News & Talk Programming for the Salem Radio Network and SRN News, the #1 Christian radio news network in the United States.

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