Friday, June 18, 2021

(JNS) Three Republican senators made their way to Israel this week to show solidarity with the Jewish state and hear from leaders about how the United States can best help in the wake of the recent conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) have crisscrossed the country during this trip, meeting with Israeli officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Affairs Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. They also toured areas damaged by rocket fire; in all, more than 4,000 rockets were launched toward Israel in a matter of 11 days.

“America’s national security is closely bound up with the security of our Israeli allies,” Cruz said in a statement. “I’m in Israel to hear and see firsthand what our Israeli allies need to defend themselves and to show the international community that we stand unequivocally with Israel.”

Cruz asserted that Israel has every right to defend itself from outside attack, as did Hagerty, who like Cruz is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Cruz also criticized Democrats, including U.S. President Joe Biden, for not standing more forcefully behind Israel. “Far too many Democrats morally equivocated between Israel and the terrorists attacking them, and fringe progressive Democrats went even further with wild accusations and conspiracy theories,” he said.

While Cruz and Hagerty met with Israeli officials together, Graham held separate meetings with them, during which he reiterated American support for Israel and pointed out that it was bipartisan, despite a handful of left-wing Israel critics.

“There’s been a big dustup over the last engagement between Hamas and the State of Israel in the United States, but I’m here to tell you that there is a wide and deep support for Israel among the Democratic Party,” Graham said in a press conference.

Unlike Cruz, Graham did not criticize the administration and instead thanked Biden for his unequivocal support for Israel and for the administration’s request of funds from Congress to help replenish Iron Dome systems.

The senator also took aim at Iran, which supports terrorist organizations in Gaza and Lebanon, and urged Biden not to re-enter the 2015 nuclear deal, officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

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