In a tweet posted Monday, President Joe Biden condemned the anti-Semitic attacks against that erupted over the weekend amid the violent Israel-Hamas conflict.
“The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop,” Biden wrote. “I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad–it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.”
A surge in anti-Semitic attacks has been reported in New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Utah, Arizona and Florida. Palestinian demonstrators were filmed accosting Jewish bystanders in New York City’s diamond district last week, yelling profanities and throwing a firework at people out shopping in the historically Jewish neighborhood.
The violence in New York City unfolded hours after Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire in hostilities after eleven days of tit-for-tat rocket fire. Egypt helped mediate between the two sides to negotiate a pause in the fighting. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced he will travel to the Middle East this week to conduct diplomacy between the warring parties and Egypt.
While the Biden administration has asserted Israel’s right to self-defense, Democratic members of Congress have focused on the Jewish state’s role in the conflict almost exclusively, ignoring that Israel makes an effort to limit the loss of civilian life — by focusing its fire on military targets and giving warning when it plans to strike a civilian area — while Hamas indiscriminately launches rockets into known civilian population centers.
Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a resolution Thursday to force a vote on whether to block an $735 million arms deal to Israel, which would provide the embattled nation with the mechanism to convert “dumb” bombs into precision-guided munitions, helping to avert the loss of civilian life. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent member of the radically progressive congressional “squad,” supported Sander’s initiative.
“At a moment when U.S.-made bombs are devastating Gaza, and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a Congressional debate,” Sanders said in a statement.
“The United States should not be rubber-stamping weapons sales to the Israeli government as they deploy our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing,” Ocasio-Cortez remarked.
Representative Ilhan Omar, also a “squad” member, has alleged that Israel is an apartheid state that regularly engages in “terrorism.” The third “squad” member Representative Rashida Tlaib echoed Omar and Ocasio-Cortez’ sentiments, claiming Israel is responsible for impeding peace prospects despite the fact that Hamas initiated the aggression by launching thousands of lethal rockets into Israel’s airspace.
“As long as the message from Washington is that our military support for Israel is unconditional, Netanyahu’s extremism right-wing government will continue to expand settlements, continue to demolish homes and continue to make the prospects for peace impossible,” Tlaib said.
“The U.S. must condition funding to uphold human rights, and end the funding entirely if those conditions are not met,” Tlaib added.
The three progressive congresswomen have objected to Biden’s tepid stance on Israel, demanding a stronger denunciation of the country’s military actions.
Some Democrats have maintained pro-Israel stances during House floor discussion and press briefings. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz stated in the chamber that “Hamas and Islamic jihad are single-handedly responsible for the escalation that has led to the bloodshed of Israelis and Palestinians… Israel has every right to defend herself.”
Biden’s Monday tweet comes after he clarified the United States’ position on Israel Friday amid the mixed messages coming out of the Democratic party.
“My party still supports Israel,” the president said. “Let’s get something straight here.”
“Until the region says unequivocally they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace,” he continued.
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