Democrats Prefer Conditioning Aid To Israel While Refusing To Address America’s Border Crisis

As More And More Democrats Fall In Line With Far-Left Calls For Conditioning Aid To Israel, Many Of The Same Democrats Reject Including U.S. Border Security In A Supplemental Spending Bill That Simultaneously Addresses Multiple Critical American National Security Challenges

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “America needs to stand with our friends and stand up to aggressors. And Senate Republicans have been working for weeks to ensure that supplemental legislation includes robust investments in the hard power and defense industrial capacity we need to confront them head-on. But on this side of the aisle, we also recognize that national security begins here at home. Last month’s total southern border encounters marked the busiest October in decades of CBP records. And the harsh reality of the Biden Administration’s border crisis continues to impact millions of Americans in cities across the country…. The bottom line is simple: We don’t have the luxury of addressing glaring threats to our national security one at a time. Crises don’t solve themselves just because Washington can’t muster the political will to address them. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have already suggested they want to condition urgent resources for one of our top security priorities on not addressing another one. Apparently, our colleagues are considering putting support for Israel on the chopping block unless we promise not to fix the border crisis they helped create. So Madam President, this sort of cynical, short-sighted politics has denied the American people real border security too many times. The challenges facing America are connected. And the time to address them – each of them – is now.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 11/27/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Israel agreed on Monday to a two-day extension of its truce with Hamas to gain the release of more hostages, a priority of President Biden. But another idea is gaining ground among Democrats that is more dangerous: condition U.S. aid on how Israel conducts its war of self-preservation. The stipulation is said to be merely that Israel follow international law. But since Israel does follow international law, and the U.S. already can withhold foreign assistance on human-rights grounds, the condition is unnecessary—but not harmless. During wartime, it would signal to Israel’s enemies that the U.S. has gone wobbly on the campaign to destroy Hamas.(Editorial, “Democrats Want ‘Conditions’ on Israel,” The Wall Street Journal,11/27/2023)

  • This is an example of how the proposal to condition aid is linked to the libels against Israel that one hears whenever it defends itself. Israel’s counteroffensive has been the opposite of indiscriminate. Forced by Hamas to fight in a densely populated urban area, Israel has hit more than 15,000 targets. If those had been indiscriminate strikes, the death toll would be many times higher than even Hamas claims. Hamas has attacked Israel indiscriminately every day of the war, beginning with the Oct. 7 massacre. Each of the terrorist group’s more than 10,000 rocket attacks has been a war crime, firing on Israeli cities without care for who or what gets hit.” (Editorial, “Democrats Want ‘Conditions’ on Israel,” The Wall Street Journal¸11/27/2023)
  • “[President] Biden doesn’t need to condition aid to influence Israel. But imposing this new condition on U.S. aid would be different. Amid a campaign of vilification of Israel on precisely this issue of international law, it would constitute a threat…. The purpose is to warn Israel that it will risk losing U.S. support if it tries to complete its mission of toppling Hamas; and that Hamas-induced civilian casualties mean Israel can’t destroy Hamas’s terrorist capabilities. Is that the emerging position of the Democratic Party?” (Editorial, “Democrats Want ‘Conditions’ on Israel,” The Wall Street Journal,11/27/2023)


As Israel Continues To Defend Itself From Hamas, An Increasing Number Of Democrats Are Suggesting Aid To Israel Must Have Conditions Attached

Democrats in the House and Senate are discussing how to create conditions for future military aid to Israel, according to two party members, one in each chamber.” (“Democrats In Senate, House Discuss Conditioning Military Aid To Israel,” Politico, 11/18/2023)

Conditioning aid to Israel would be an unprecedented step, one long opposed by pro-Israel groups and a majority of U.S. lawmakers.” (“Progressive Senate Dems Push To Condition Aid To Israel,” Jewish Insider, 11/28/2023)

“A number of leading progressives in both the House and Senate have warned in recent days that they would oppose any aid package that fails to apply new limits on Israel’s forceful engagement with Palestinians in the wake of Hamas’s brutal attacks on Israeli civilians last month…” (“Calls For ‘Conditions’ In Aid To Israel Add To Democrats’ Divisions,” The Hill, 11/24/2023)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): “President Biden has asked for $14.3 billion more on top of that sum and asked Congress to waive normal, already-limited oversight rules. The blank check approach must end.(Sen. Sanders, Op-Ed, “Bernie Sanders: Justice For The Palestinians And Security For Israel,” The New York Times, 11/22/2023)

  • SANDERS: “The Netanyahu government, or hopefully a new Israeli government, must understand that not one penny will be coming to Israel from the U.S. unless there is a fundamental change in their military and political positions.(Sen. Sanders, Press Release, 11/18/2023)
  • “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hosted a lunch on Wednesday for Senate Democrats about the Israel-Hamas war, four people knowledgeable of the gathering said. Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, spoke to the lawmakers on the issues and confirmed the meeting happened. Three other people said that Telhami was a guest alongside The New York Times’ Tom Friedman and former Middle East peace negotiator Dennis Ross, neither of whom immediately responded to requests for comment. ‘Conditions on military aid were raised’ by some of the senators, said one of the people.(“Democrats In Senate, House Discuss Conditioning Military Aid To Israel,” Politico, 11/18/2023)

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): “Listen, we regularly condition our aid to allies based upon compliance with U.S. law and international law. And so I think it's very consistent with the ways in which we have dispensed aid, especially during wartime, to allies, for us to talk about making sure that the aid we give Ukraine or the aid we give Israel is used in accordance with human rights laws…. I guess I'm not sure what would be controversial about simply saying that aid we give any country has to be used in compliance with international law.” (CNN’s “State Of The Union,” 11/26/2023)

SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ (D-HI): “I don’t think money to help Israel should be an exception to the general practice that the Congress has in describing how they want and expect the money to be spent.” (“Progressive Senate Dems Push To Condition Aid To Israel,” Jewish Insider, 11/28/2023)

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have called for conditioning aid…. Other progressives are open to the idea. ‘We’ve got to have the debate,’ Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) told Axios …” (“Israel Aid Debate Flares Up Among Senate Democrats,” Axios, 11/28/2023)

REPORTER: “Are there any conditioning aid to Israel, is that something you spoke about at the caucus meeting? Is that something the majority of Democrats seem to be willing to support?”

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “It’s been spoken out in our caucus meeting on many occasions and today there was a meeting with Jake Sullivan on the issue. There are different views on that and we’re gonna have to have a discussion with the caucus and the administration.”

REPORTER: “So are you open to imposing conditions on aid to Israel? Are you personally open to that?”

SCHUMER: “The bottom line is I’m gonna discuss it with the administration and my caucus.”  (Press Conference, 11/28/2023)

HOUSE PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS CHAIR PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): “[W]e must proactively use every piece of leverage and tool in our toolbox, including the conditioning of offensive military support to Israel.” (Rep. Jayapal, Press Release, 11/22/2023)

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): “Conditioning aid to Israel, as we do with virtually all other US allies, is a responsible course of action.” (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, @AOC, Twitter, 11/18/2023)


President Biden Also Seems To Be Succumbing To Far-Left Pressure To Put Conditions On Aid To Israel

“President Biden conceded to critics within his party Friday that calls to put specific conditions on aid to Israel are a ‘worthwhile thought’ amid the country’s war against Hamas in Gaza.” (“Biden: Conditions On Aid To Israel A ‘Worthwhile Thought,’” The Hill, 11/24/2023)

“The president has been under immense pressure from a growing group of Democrats who have criticized the Biden administration for strongly backing Israel in the conflict …” (“Biden: Conditions On Aid To Israel A ‘Worthwhile Thought,’” The Hill, 11/24/2023)

“President Joe Biden is delivering different messages on the war in the Middle East to pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel Americans, according to copies of official White House correspondence obtained by NBC News.” (“Biden Tells Two Different Stories About The Israel-Hamas War In Letters To Americans,” NBC News, 11/17/2023)

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): “I think they [Democrats] generally would like to see the president be more aggressive with the Israelis.” (“Why Sen. Jeff Merkley Called For A Cease-Fire,” The Washington Post, 11/22/2023)


Yet Many Of The Same Democrats And Their Leaders Refuse To Condition A Broad National Security Package On Border Security Reforms

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “The biggest holdup to the national security assistance package right now is the insistence by our Republican colleagues on partisan border policy as a condition for vital Ukraine aid. This has injected a decades old, hyper-partisan issue into overwhelmingly bipartisan priorities.” (Sen. Schumer, Dear Colleague Letter, 11/26/2023)

  • SCHUMER: “[I]t’s the Republicans holding this up by their insistence on an extraneous and partisan issue that there is always difficulty in coming to an agreement on.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 11/28/2023)

CONGRESSIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS CHAIR NANETTE BARRAGAN (D-CA), CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS CHAIR STEVEN HORSFORD (D-NV), CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS CHAIR PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA), AND CONGRESSIONAL ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN CAUCUS CHAIR JUDY CHU (D-CA): “We raise our strong opposition to any emergency supplemental funding bill that seeks to establish new immigration and border policy or authorities. … trying to appease Republicans with bad border policy attached to critical emergency spending or a continuing resolution will not work and is completely inappropriate.” (Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Press Release, 11/03/2023)

“Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said it’s a mistake to create a situation where ‘we have to do significant immigration reform in the next few weeks or we won’t send money to assist the people in Ukraine or other causes important to our national security.’” (“Republicans Want To Pair Border Security With Aid For Ukraine. Here’s Why That Makes A Deal So Tough,” The Associated Press, 11/26/2023)

  • SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “[T]hat is an unreasonable burden. … But to say we’re going to hold back military assistance from Ukraine and Israel until something is accomplished, which we have sought to do for over 30 years, may not be realistic. … Let’s not create political hurdles of our own making and make that next to impossible.” (Sen. Durbin, Remarks, 11/27/2023)

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): “I want to get a deal on immigration reform, but it doesn't make sense to me to connect the two.” (CBS’ “Face the Nation,” 11/19/2023)

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): “I wish Republican demands weren’t so difficult…” (“Senate Races To Finish Border Talks, Pass Ukraine, Israel Aid,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/28/2023)

“Some progressives have already said they will oppose any Republican-led changes to immigration policy.” (“Republicans Want To Pair Border Security With Aid For Ukraine. Here’s Why That Makes A Deal So Tough,” The Associated Press, 11/26/2023)


Related Issues: Israel, Immigration, Border Security, Senate Democrats