Biden faces criticism from Democrats over Israel


LONDON: Pressure is mounting on US President Joe Biden from left-wing Democrats in Congress to change his administration’s stance on Israel.


Criticism of Tel Aviv has increased in recent days following a wave of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.


Prominent Democrats have urged Biden to limit military aid to Israel and put more pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cease operations.


Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Saturday: “I don’t care how any spokesperson tries to spin this, the US vetoed the UN call for ceasefire. If the Biden admin can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to? How can they credibly claim to stand for human rights?”


Several members of the Democratic Party have described Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as similar to that of African Americans by various police departments.


“We oppose money going to fund militarized policing, occupation, and systems of violent oppression and trauma,” said Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist.


“Until all our children are safe, we will continue to fight for our rights in Palestine and Ferguson (Missouri).”


Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed his concern at airstrikes that “resulted in the death of innocent civilians in Gaza as well as Israeli targeting of buildings housing international media outlets.”


Biden has been a staunch supporter of Israel throughout his political career, and has reportedly met with every one of its prime ministers since Golda Meir in 1973.


He has repeatedly asserted Israel’s right to defend itself from Palestinian rocket attacks, and has rejected suggestions that the US use military aid to apply pressure on Tel Aviv.


“The idea that we would withdraw military assistance from Israel on the condition that they change a specific policy I find to be absolutely outrageous,” he said.


On Sunday, Biden said Palestinians and Israelis “equally deserve to live in safety and security and enjoy equal measure of freedom, prosperity and democracy.”    


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