Lebanese Shi'ite Islamic scholar Yasser Auda criticized the "resistance axis" in a November 30, 2023 interview on Lebanon On (YouTube), saying that attacks against Israel are providing it with a pretext to destroy Lebanon, like it did in 2006. He explained that he opposes "offensive Jihad," meaning launching attacks against the enemy on their own turf, like Hizbullah is doing, because Israel is capable of destruction, like it is doing in Gaza. Auda said that Iranian officials make statements about wanting to annihilate Israel, but do not take any action to do this, and he advised them to tone down such statements because they only make Iran lose credibility.
He added that it is okay to have the goal of annihilating Israel, but the Islamic Jihadi movements must think of the consequences of their actions, and plan future attacks that will not give Israel pretexts to bring calamity on their people. Auda continued to say that the Lebanese rulers are more corrupt than the Zionist rulers, that at least provide electricity for the people they rule.
Yasser Auda: "It seemed that [Iran's] interests – and this was also reflected in the Iranian statements – were with the oppressed [Palestinian] people striving to obtain their rights. However, some recent statements make one think. The [Iranians] used to declare: 'We want to annihilate Israel soon.' Now, all of a sudden, they declare: 'We don't want to throw Israel into the sea.' Listening to these statements, you sense that there are new arrangements for the region, that there are new agreements with Iran."
Interviewer: "People wondered why Iran did not shoot a single bullet."
Auda: "I did not expect them to shoot. They have declared that they do not shoot. Javad Zarif declared in the United Nations: 'True, we support the oppressed movements in the world, but we never fight on behalf of anyone.' He was honest. Therefore, I advised them to tone down their statements. If you do not want to fight – and this is within your right, if you think it is in your best interest... Every country – Arab or Islamic, Iran or any other country – follows its interests.
"You have the right to act according to your best interests, just tone down your statements, so that people do not hold these statements against you. One group [in Iran] declares that they want to kill and annihilate, while another group states that they do not want to fight. Such statements make them lose credibility. Just declare from the start what you can do.
"In Islamic jurisprudence, there are defensive Jihad and offensive Jihad. I am completely against offensive Jihad. Offensive Jihad means to plan and launch an attack against your enemies on their own turf."
Interviewer: "This is what Hizbullah did..."
Auda: "I am absolutely against this. I support defensive Jihad. It is not because I am waiting for the enemy to come and attack me. It is because this enemy is looking for excuses to destroy me, and it has a destruction machine capable of doing so. We experienced this in the 2006 war. It does not need too much evidence. What happened in Gaza is the best evidence of this. So I do not want to provide [pretexts]...
"I am saying this for the first time. The Islamic Jihadi movements, and the Resistance Axis with its 'shared fronts' should think carefully in the future how to avoid giving Israel pretexts. They should choose the time and place to attack, in a way that will not bring catastrophes upon their people. I am sorry I have to be so blunt, but of what I have seen, we should think more.
"Today, we want to bring about the release of the [Palestinian] prisoners. I support this cause, but during this war, the [Israelis] arrested 3,000 more. We want to hurt the enemies on their own turf. It is a good thing. It has some good aspects, but what about the negative aspects? Do the leaders of the Islamic resistance movements think thoroughly about the consequences of the actions they want to take?
"The liberation of Jerusalem requires suitable regional and international circumstances.
"When there are aircraft carriers ready to destroy anyone, we should take a little pause. I am talking rationally, not emotionally. There is a difference. Emotionally, we support the resistance, we are ready to sacrifice lives, and let's annihilate Israel, like some Iranian officials speak, and so on and so forth. But this is not right. It is okay to have these goals, but think of the consequences. Be rational.
"Lebanon is killing us slowly, a bit at a time. Our rulers are more corrupt than the Zionist rulers. At least the Zionists provide electricity to the people they rule. Do our rulers provide us with electricity? Who is more corrupt? Them or the Zionists? Yes, the rulers of Lebanon are more corrupt than the Zionists."