In Rare Speech to Israel’s Knesset, Stefanik Chides Biden for Withholding Weapons

‘There is no excuse for an American president to block aid to Israel that was duly passed by the Congress,’ the senior Republican leader says.

AP/Mark Schiefelbein
Representative Elise Stefanik speaks during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, December 5, 2023 at Washington. AP/Mark Schiefelbein

Elise Stefanik, a House Republican leader seen as a candidate to be President Trump’s running mate, delivered a speech before Israel’s parliament on Sunday in which she criticized President Biden’s approach to the war in Gaza.

Ms. Stefanik, the fourth highest-ranked Republican in the House of Representatives, is the latest of several American politicians from both sides of the aisle to visit Israel since Hamas’ October 7 attack ignited the war in Gaza. But it’s rare for such visitors to address Israel’s parliament, known as the Knesset.

Speaking at a session dedicated to combatting antisemitism worldwide, Ms. Stefanik vowed to help with “crushing antisemitism at home and providing Israel what it needs when it needs it, without conditions.”

She was referring to Mr. Biden’s decision to hold up the delivery of some 3,500 bombs of up to 2,000 pounds each, and his refusal to provide offensive weapons for a long-promised Israeli invasion of the southern city of Rafah.

“There is no excuse for an American president to block aid to Israel that was duly passed by the Congress, and there was no excuse to ease sanctions on Iran,” she said.

Ms. Stefanik, a representative from upstate New York and a strong supporter of Mr. Trump, is believed to be on the short list of his possible running mates.

In December, she grilled university presidents at a five-hour congressional hearing about antisemitism on campus. Two of the university presidents, from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, resigned soon after.

“Total victory is not just physical self-defense, but ideological self-defense,” Ms. Stefanik said during the session, referring to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s frequent claim that Israel must achieve “total victory” in the war against Hamas.

The New York Sun

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