Trump, Democrats, Israeli officials slam Biden for ‘aiding Hamas’ with threat to halt weapons

Trump: ‘Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses, because his donors are funding them.’

By Debbie Weiss, The Algemeiner

US President Joe Biden’s threat to halt arms shipments to Israel if it proceeds with a planned military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah has drawn furious pushback from both US and Israeli officials, who charged the American president with helping the Hamas terror group.

In characteristically caustic terms, former President Donald Trump — who is running against Biden in this year’s US presidential election — accused the incumbent of siding with Hamas.

“Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses, because his donors are funding them,” Trump said on Truth Social.

“What Biden is doing with respect to Israel is disgraceful,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee added on Thursday, while entering a New York courthouse for his criminal trial over hush money payments. “If any Jewish person voted for Joe Biden, they should be ashamed of themselves. He’s totally abandoned Israel.”

Biden told CNN in an interview on Wednesday that he had “made it clear that if they [Israel] go into Rafah … I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities — that deal with that problem.”

He added, “Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers.”

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US lawmakers, including many fellow Democrats, and Israeli officials were quick to condemn Biden’s decision.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) told Axios he suspects Biden was “pandering to the far left” and that the upcoming election was “driving” him.

“I’d like the president to do right by Israel and recognize that the far left is not representative of the rest of the country,” he said.

Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) added that Israel is “surrounded by danger, they need the tools to defend themselves” and that the US “should fulfill our obligation” by sending the weapons.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) also expressed his opposition to Biden’s threat, saying that the US must “stand with our key ally throughout all of this.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif) accused Biden of “throw[ing] away part of the package” after getting legislation passed in Congress that included about $15 billion in military aid to Israel.

“Biden seems to be communicating his displeasure, and I regard these statements as a communicative act, rather than a strategic act,” he said in remarks to the Jewish Insider.

Within Israel’s ruling coalition, cabinet ministers took turns firing verbal salvos at the Democratic president.

“Israel will continue to fight Hamas until its destruction,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz declared on X/Twitter. “There is no war more just than this.”

Hardline Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said American opposition would only strengthen Israel’s resolve. “We must continue this war until complete victory, despite the Biden administration’s opposition,” he said.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a fellow hardliner, tweeted that “Hamas [loves] Biden,” using a heart emoji.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to take an implicit shot at Biden’s decision, posting on X/Twitter a portion of his speech at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust, earlier this week to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Today, we again confront enemies bent on our destruction,” Netanyahu said in the clip. “I say to the leaders of the world: No amount of pressure, no decision by any international forum, will stop Israel from defending itself … If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant similarly did not mention Biden’s remarks directly on Thursday but appeared to issue a message in response to them.

“I turn to Israel’s enemies as well as to our best of friends and say: The State of Israel cannot be subdued, not the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], not the defense establishment, and not the State of Israel. We will stand strong, we will achieve our goals — we will hit Hamas, we will hit Hezbollah, and we will achieve security,” he said at a ceremony to commemorate Israel’s war dead.

The harsh rhetoric laid bare escalating tensions between the Biden administration and Israel’s government over the latter’s conduct during the war in Gaza, which was prompted by a bloody attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas in which 1200 people were murdered and another 252 were taken hostage.

Biden’s warning came amid Israeli preparations for a major offensive into the Rafah area near the Egyptian border with Gaza, in a bid to destroy the last four Hamas battalions and free the 132 Israelis who are thought to be held hostage there. More than 1.2 million Palestinians are currently in Rafah, many of whom were evacuated to humanitarian zones there from the northern Gaza Strip.

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Hamas terrorists embed themselves within Gaza’s civilian population and commandeer civilian facilities like hospitals, schools, and mosques to run operations and direct attacks.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations warned that Biden’s threat would be taken by Israel’s enemies as a signal of impending victory and embolden them further.

“How can we accomplish our goals of destroying Hamas and releasing the hostages if Israel is barred from entering a critical area like Rafah, which is where thousands of terrorists, hostages, and Hamas leadership are?” Gilad Erdan told Israeli broadcaster Kan.

He also warned that Biden’s threat could erode the president’s support among Jewish American voters, and noted that many are “hesitant” after backing Biden in 2020.

US Jewish leaders have also expressed their concern.

American Jewish Committee CEO Ted Deutch said Biden’s remarks as well as his threat were detrimental to the war against Hamas.

“President Biden should not take steps that could impair Israel’s ability to prevent Hamas from attacking it again and again — as its leaders have promised,” he wrote on social media. “The US knows that defeating Hamas is critical to Israel’s long-term security and to defeating the global threat posed by the Iranian regime and its proxies.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said Biden’s comments were “dangerous and counter to American interest.”