McConnell: Drifting Left, More Democrats Fail to Have Israel’s Back
‘Rather than having Israel’s back, senior Democrats have pressured Israel to end its defensive operations. They’ve called for a ceasefire and urged leaders to ‘strive for peace through a negotiated two-state solution’… We cannot send the signal that terrorist attacks on American allies will be met with mealy-mouthed attempts to blame both sides.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Israel:
“Two years ago, I spoke to a gathering of friends of Israel. At the time, I was working to advance pro-Israel legislation and combat the BDS movement, a far-left effort to create worldwide anti-Israel boycotts.
“I was struck by opposition to the bill from the far left, and I said Democrats had to stand up to the growing chorus of anti-Israel voices in their own ranks or we’d all come to regret it.
“Well, fast forward to today.
“Our friends in Israel are now in their second week of a difficult counter-terrorism campaign. They’re responding to unprovoked rocket attacks raining down on their people.
“Predictably, the radical fringe has leapt to excuse the acts of terror and blame Israel. But now, disproportionate pressure is not only being placed on Israel by far-left activists. Now sitting Members of Congress are joining in.
“One Democratic House member has lately called Israel an ‘apartheid state.’ Another said it is guilty of ‘terrorist acts.’
“For a long time Republicans and Democrats have stood together in standing with Israel. I’m proud of all the work we’ve accomplished together — like improving Israel’s Iron Dome defenses, providing precision-guided munitions and Joint Strike Fighters, and collaborating on counter-tunneling technology to thwart terrorists. These bipartisan efforts have paid dividends for Israel and the United States.
“As recently as 2014, during the last major conflict between Israel and Hamas, most Democrats stood unhesitatingly with Republicans to unequivocally condemn Hamas and support Israel.
“Rather than having Israel’s back, senior Democrats have pressured Israel to end its defensive operations. They’ve called for a ceasefire and urged leaders to ‘strive for peace through a negotiated two-state solution.’ As if Israeli Prime Ministers from across the political spectrum haven’t made good-faith efforts toward peace.
“Of course, in this case, Israel is not even fighting the Palestinian Authority.
“They aren’t at war with the Palestinian people. They’re fighting Hamas, a terrorist group that opposes a two-state solution; that wants Israel destroyed.
“Let’s dispense with the ‘both sides’ nonsense. Only one side has taken credible steps toward peace. And even when rocketed by terrorists, Israel takes great pains to avoid harming civilians.
“This includes giving advance warning to Palestinian civilians in the places they are about to strike.
“Frankly, Israel is taking more care to protect Palestinian civilians than Hamas, which intentionally hides behind innocent people, in violation of the laws of war, and then exploit their deaths to advance the cause.
“Hamas doesn’t represent Palestinians any more than it represents the rest of the region’s Arabs. Which is to say, not at all.
“For decades, administrations mistakenly assumed the road to Middle East peace led through agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. That nothing else could be addressed until this was resolved.
“In reality, the previous Administration facilitated the Abraham Accords. An historic step that helped Israel normalize relationships with majority-Muslim countries like the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan.
“Morocco normalized its relationship as well.
“This progress toward peace, based on shared geopolitical and economic interests, came in spite of intransigence from leaders in Gaza.
“But now the Biden Administration wants to deny this historic progress. A few days ago, the President’s spokeswoman argued incredibly that, with respect to the prior Administration, quote ‘we don’t think they did anything constructive, really’ regarding ‘the longstanding conflict in the Middle East.’
“Give me a break.
“Now, as Israel battles terrorists, the Democratic Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee indicated this week he might try to obstruct the supply of precision technologies that help Israel avoid civilian casualties.
“And remember, Chairman Meeks only chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee because the far left primaried the previous chairman, a staunch Democratic supporter of Israel, right out of his seat in Congress. You can see where the far left is trending.
“This effort to block arms sales is basically the same play that some Democrats ran with Saudi Arabia and the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen. Just think about that.
“Fortunately, the latest reports suggest the Chairman may be backing down from this.
“But the White House still can’t give a straight answer on whether and when we’ll help Israel replenish the Iron Dome system that protects its citizens.
“Leading Democrats are even talking about easing sanctions on the Iranian regime that helps fund terrorist proxies like Hamas and keeps their rocket arsenals full.
“And the Administration still proposes to cut our own U.S. defense funding, after inflation.
“Israel’s enemies are watching. Make no mistake. Not just Hamas, but Hizballah, and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“We can not send the signal that terrorist attacks on American allies will be met with mealy-mouthed attempts to blame both sides.”
Related Issues: Israel