Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, right, hosts a bilateral meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, left, at the Pentagon in Washington, Thursday, June 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
UPDATED 9:30 AM PT – Saturday, June 5, 2021
This week, Joe Biden deployed Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to keep the peace with Israel. Officials say the U.S. is standing tall in its support for Israel and its strategic position in the region.
“We are committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge. Reassuring that Israel can defend herself against regional threats such as those posed by Iran, its proxies and terrorist groups,” said Austin. He added that the Biden administration fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against the rocket attacks that have been deployed indiscriminately by Hamas and other Gaza based militants against Israeli civilians.
This comes as the Biden administration has continued to find its footing when dealing with relations associated with Israel, as shown during the Israel-Hamas conflict.
During the 11 days of violent conflict, progressives called for Biden to shift focus away from the U.S.’s longstanding relationship with Israel and instead help Palestine re-rebuild its infrastructure. Eventually, to appease demands from the far-left, the Biden administration made several concessions by committing to send humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in Palestine.
Critics argue by not cracking down on organizations like Hamas it is only empowering the terrorists and helping to boost the reputation of financial backers in Iran. They say by adding these concessions with efforts to revive the controversial Obama-era nuclear deal, the power dynamic is likely to shift in the Middle East.
Additionally, critics warn the move could strain America’s relationship with Israel, as could give rivals like Iran more power. Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz argued it’s imperative for the international community to help them squash attacks from rivals who are hell-bent on the destruction of Israel.
“These very days, Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons and continues to arm militias throughout the Middle East. Let me be clear, Iran is first and foremost a global and regional problem, and it is also an existential threat to Israel, as its own leaders openly declare,” stressed Gantz.
However, GOP lawmakers including Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty (R), believe Biden will follow the calls of the American public to continue backing Israel. Additionally, they hope the pro-Israel majority will drown out the anti-Israel stance of a minority of progressive Democrats.