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Biden says it would be a ‘gigantic mistake’ to condition military aid to Israel: ‘I find it to be absolutely outrageous’

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Some members of the Democratic party have warmed up to the idea idea of conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel, but not Joe Biden.

On Thursday,  by the Wall Street Journal’s Sabrina Siddiqui asked Biden whether he’d consider leveraging aid to Israel to curb settlement expansion. “Not me. Look, I have been on record from very early on opposed to settlements, and I think it’s a mistake,” Biden told the reporter, “And Netanyahu knows my position. But the idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find it to be absolutely outrageous.”

“Anyway, no I wouldn’t condition it and I think it’s a gigantic mistake. And I hope some of the candidates who are running with me for the nomination–I hope they misspoke or were taken out of context.”

At the J Street conference earlier this week, Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders reiterated his previous calls for aid to be conditioned and declared that some of U.S. aid to Israel should go toward the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. “I believe that at a time when we spend, I think it is $3.8 million dollars [annually] on military aid to Israel, we have a right to say to the Israeli government, that the United States of America and our taxpayers and our people believe in human rights, we believe in democracy,” said Sanders, “We will not accept authoritarianism or racism. And we demand that the Israeli government sit down with the Palestinian people and negotiate an agreement that works for all parties.”

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told conference attendees that he’d block any aid that Israel might use for a potential annexation of the West Bank. Buttigieg has made this promise on the campaign trail before, but in his J Street remarks he signaled that he might condition aid over settlement expansion as well. “We need to make sure that any such cooperation and funding is going to things that are compatible with U.S. objectives and U.S. law,” he said, “It is a reminder that we need to have the visibility to know whether U.S. funds are being used in a way that are not compatible with U.S. policy.”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren recently told a reporter that “everything is on the table” in terms of pressuring Israel. She did not attend the conference, but she sent a video message that echoed this sentiment. “We must find ways to make tangible progress on the ground toward a two-state solution,” she says in the video, “Sometimes that might mean finding ways to apply pressure and create consequences for problematic behavior as previous Democratic and Republican presidents have done. For example, if Israel’s government continues with steps to formally annex the West Bank, the United States should make it clear that none of our aid should be used to support annexation.”

These recent statements by presidential candidates come amidst a much wider shift amongst the general public. Multiple recent polls show that a majority of Democratic voters now support conditioning aid to Israel in response to the country’s human rights abuses.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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18 Responses

  1. eljay on November 1, 2019, 11:42 am

    … On Thursday, by the Wall Street Journal’s Sabrina Siddiqui asked Biden whether he’d consider leveraging aid to Israel to curb settlement expansion. “Not me. … the idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find it to be absolutely outrageous.” …

    Fact is, he added with a wink, those benjamins aren’t going to find their way into my bank account without proper encouragement.  ;-)

  2. Kay24 on November 1, 2019, 1:12 pm

    Of course he would think that way. If he was honestly against the illegal settlements, he would have done something about it, like withholding the billions in aid until Israel stops stealing that land and building (defiantly) those illegal settlements. He is like most American politicians, who says one thing, but actions tell a different story. Biden will continue to wear his yarmulke, and show his undying love for all things Israel.

  3. henspert on November 1, 2019, 2:53 pm

    If I had the influence or power, I would stop all aid to middle east and develop resources that are abundant right here.

  4. JLewisDickerson on November 1, 2019, 3:08 pm

    That photo of Biden and Netanyahu is reason enough to not vote for Biden!

    P.S. ■ “As indictment deadline approaches, Netanyahu panics” | Ben Caspit | Nov 1, 2019
    LINK – https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/israel-benjamin-netanyahu-avichai-mandelblit-indictment.html

  5. Kay24 on November 1, 2019, 5:23 pm

    So it seems Bernie Sander’s proposal to stop the aid going to Israel has been shot down as a bad idea by Israel’s devoted servants in the Democratic party. Not going to happen, people.

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-israel-aid_n_5dbc368fe4b09d8f9799e0f2

    • JWalters on November 1, 2019, 7:07 pm

      That would be the Democratic wing of the Israel party.

    • echinococcus on November 3, 2019, 3:52 pm

      That old warmongering mountebank Sanders has lost all credibility anyway. His “proposal” is not only not going to happen, it is just insincere nonsense talk, as unmasked once more, this time by Miko Peled — he denounces Sanders’ “two-state” nonsense as being more reactionary than that of a Zionist general, no less:

      https://www.mintpressnews.com/j-street-conference-progressive-pols-bow-israel-while-preaching-peace/262608/

      The whole article should be copied here!

      • mondonut on November 3, 2019, 4:36 pm

        @echinococcus , The whole article should be copied here!

        I am sure it will be. This site and its moderators have no respect for Fair Use.

      • echinococcus on November 3, 2019, 11:20 pm

        Zionism alert again:
        Judging by the most limited of their propagandists here (most likely an automaton), the Zios intend to turn the fair use concept on its head and define it as the opposite of what it is.

      • echinococcus on November 3, 2019, 11:26 pm

        Miko Peled:

        “More than five decades had passed since my late father, one of the exalted IDF generals of the 1967 war, called for a two-state solution. A solution that favors Israel and recognizes very limited rights for Palestinians and is a poor excuse for a peace plan. A solution that ignores the crimes which my father, among others, committed in 1948. A solution, which in fact legitimizes those crimes. It is a “solution” behind which politicians who want to seem progressive can hide because it offers no solution. It is a solution popular among those who pretend to care for justice and human rights but that do not want real change. One must ask how much longer this charade will be allowed to continue.”

        https://www.mintpressnews.com/j-street-conference-progressive-pols-bow-israel-while-preaching-peace/262608/

  6. JWalters on November 1, 2019, 6:48 pm

    “the idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find it to be absolutely outrageous.” Joe Biden

    It matters naught to Biden that Israel’s “specific policy” is illegal, unjust, and cruel. That’s why Biden gets the big bucks.

  7. RoHa on November 2, 2019, 3:05 am

    That’s a surprise. I didn’t know Biden was still alive.

    • N30rebel on November 2, 2019, 10:48 am

      You just didn’t recognize him in Hillary’s pants suit.

    • Tuyzentfloot on November 3, 2019, 9:10 am

      For now it appears Biden still knows he is alive.

      • echinococcus on November 3, 2019, 4:01 pm

        He knows that, perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that us common mortals agree.

  8. Misterioso on November 2, 2019, 9:47 am

    Further confirmation that Biden is a dutiful toady of the pro-“Israel” lobby and hence, unsuitable to serve as president. He should have long since been put out to pasture.

    • Elizabeth Block on November 2, 2019, 10:46 am

      Is there a place – maybe someone should start a petition – for Democrats who will NEVER vote for Biden to say so?

      • annie on November 2, 2019, 12:57 pm

        people say it on twitter all the time.

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