The White House confirmed Sunday that they will pursue another arms sale to Israel, despite opposition from progressive Democrats who spent days pressuring President Joe Biden to condemn the Jewish state as it engaged in its worst fighting with Hamas in years.
According to the New York Post, Biden Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC’s This Week on Sunday that the White House will supply Israel with “the means to defend itself.”
The $732 million arms deal was proposed before the latest hostilities — the deadliest between Israel and Hamas since 2014 — erupted earlier this May, according to NBC News. The warring parties reportedly reached a ceasefire Thursday after more than a week of devastating conflict.
White House “committed”
As the fighting went on, Democrats on the far left slammed Biden for siding too closely with Israel, with some accusing Israel of “terrorism” against Palestinians as the death toll mounted in Gaza, the Post noted.
While Democrats in the Bernie Sanders (VT) wing of the party portray Israel as the aggressor, the White House is sending a different message.
“We are committed to giving Israel the means to defend itself, especially when it comes to these indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilians. Any country would respond to that, and we are committed to Israel’s defense,” Blinken said Sunday, according to the Post.
Blinken’s message seems to be the kibosh on an effort by Democrats in Congress to block the arms sale, although he said it would be done in “full consultation with Congress.” Sen. Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) had both introduced resolutions in Congress last week to block the sale, NBC noted.
Biden, liberals at odds over Israel
Both have said the U.S. needs to rethink its conventional military aid to Israel, which they say has been used to finance the indiscriminate killing of civilians in what they have described as an unjust occupation of Palestinian land.
“At a moment when US-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 remarked, according to the Post.
“We need to take a hard look at whether the sale of these weapons is actually helping do that, or whether it is simply fueling conflict,” the Vermont senator added.
All the same, Biden is facing tough questions about whether he has already deviated too far from Washington’s status quo on supporting Israel.
“There is no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel. Period. No shift,” the president told reporters Friday, according to The Hill.