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Biden, 2024 candidates, US officials, organizations condemn Hamas attacks

“Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation,” said U.S. President Joe Biden.

The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Credit: ItzaVU/Shutterstock.
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Credit: ItzaVU/Shutterstock.

U.S. officials on both sides of the aisle, in addition to Jewish and non-Jewish organizations, condemned Hamas’s attacks on Israel and said that they stand with the Jewish state.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who spoke on national television at 2:30 p.m. Washington time about the situation, referred to the “horrific and ongoing attacks in Israel.”

“The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza,” Biden stated. “Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation.”

The president added that Washington’s support for Israel is “rock-solid and unwavering.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to the “appalling attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israel, including civilians and civilian communities,” and stated that there is never a justification for terrorism. “We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” he stated. “The United States supports Israel’s right to defend itself.”   

Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said that “the United States unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians. There is never any justification for terrorism. We stand firmly with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks.”

Earlier in the day, the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs posted on social media: “We unequivocally condemn the attack of Hamas terrorists and the loss of life that has incurred. We urge all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing.” The office, which is part of the U.S. State Department, later deleted the post.

“This is disgraceful and every single person involved in drafting and approving this tweet should be immediately expelled from the U.S. government,” wrote Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Responses from presidential candidates

Several 2024 U.S. presidential candidates issued statements.

“These Hamas attacks are a disgrace, and Israel has every right to defend itself with overwhelming force. Sadly, American taxpayer dollars helped fund these attacks, which many reports are saying came from the Biden administration,” said former President Donald Trump. “We brought so much peace to the Middle East through the Abraham Accords, only to see Biden whittle it away at a far more rapid pace than anyone thought possible. Here we go again.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that he supports the Jewish state amid this attack.

“America stands with Israel. Not only [do] they have a right to defend themselves, they have a duty to defend themselves against these Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists. Iran has helped fund this war against Israel, and Joe Biden’s policies that have gone easy on Iran has helped to fill their coffers,” DeSantis said. “Israel is now paying the price for those policies. We’re going to stand with the State of Israel, they need to root out Hamas and we need to stand up to Iran.”

Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, stated that “Hamas has declared war on Israel on the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret and the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War.”

“Make no mistake: Hamas is a bloodthirsty terrorist organization backed by Iran and determined to kill as many innocent lives as possible. The reports out of Israel are horrific with a stunning number of dead and wounded, and should be universally condemned,” she stated. “Israel has every right to defend its citizens from terror. We must always stand with Israel and against this Iranian regime.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. referred to an “ignominious, unprovoked and barbaric attack on Israel” that “must be met with world condemnation and unequivocal support for the Jewish state’s right to self-defense.”

“We must provide Israel with whatever it needs to defend itself—now,” he stated. “As president, I’ll make sure that our policy is unambiguous so that the enemies of Israel will think long and hard before attempting aggression of any kind.”

Kennedy applauded the Biden administration’s “strong statements” but noted that the scale of the attacks means Israel will likely have to “wage a sustained military campaign to protect its citizens. Statements of support are fine, but we must follow through with unwavering, resolute and practical action. America must stand by our ally throughout this operation and beyond as it exercises its sovereign right to self-defense.”

The scene on a main road near the southern Israeli city of Sderot after Israelis were killed by Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip after they infiltrated the border and launched a barrage of rocket fire , Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.

Responses from Congress

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) condemned the “brazen and ongoing terrorist attack that has killed innocent Israeli citizens across southern Israel today. I mourn those lost, and my heart goes out to their families. May their memory be for a blessing.”

“Just as the United States stood by Israel after it was attacked exactly 50 years ago on Yom Kippur, today we stand by Israel in this time of crisis,” he stated. “As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am committed to ensuring that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and its citizens, today and every day.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote that “Israel will need reinforcements in this war. President Biden should follow President [Richard] Nixon’s example from the Yom Kippur War when faced with another surprise attack on Israel 50 years ago this weekend: Send everything that shoots on everything that flies.”

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) stated that “the United States stands in solidarity and strength with our ally Israel—with our families and friends—as they are attacked by Hamas. Hamas has started a war with terrorist attacks targeting civilian communities with rockets and infiltrations, as well as reportedly taking prisoners into Gaza.”

“Hamas started this war. Israel, with the full support of its allies, can and will defend her people, their communities and the country,” he added.

“The unprovoked attack on Israel is outrageous and unacceptable, and I condemn this heinous assault on our friend and ally,” said Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.). “This underscores how U.S. security assistance to Israel is more important than ever, and I stand with Israel at this very difficult time.”

Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) said “I am horrified and outraged at the news of Hamas’s hateful and deadly attack on the Israeli people, including the murder and kidnapping of children. No question—I stand firmly with Israel. Terrorism is unacceptable.”

The scene where a rocket fired from Gaza hit a building in Tel Aviv after Hamas launched a barrage of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and infiltrated the southern border Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Eric Marmor/Flash90.

Responses from pro-Israel and Jewish organizations 

The Jewish Federations of North America said Israel again has come under attack on a Jewish holiday. “Once again, the brave military forces of the State of Israel are responding and will defend our beloved Jewish state,” it stated. “And once again, the Jewish communities of North America stand in total and complete solidarity with our Israeli brethren.”

“We stand in total solidarity with the people of Israel following a massive, unprovoked attack by Hamas,” stated the American Jewish Committee. “Israel has every right to defend itself against these deplorable attacks.”

“We woke up this morning as Israel is under a severe, unprecedented and deadly attack by Hamas terrorists from Gaza. The news is hard and painful, especially as we mark Shemini Atzeret and 50 years since the Yom Kippur War, but Israel’s resolve remains strong,” stated the Anti-Defamation League. “Israel has the indisputable right to defend itself against the Iran-backed Hamas terror organization. The missiles aimed at Israeli towns and the terrorists infiltrating villages are no less than war crimes as they target civilians.”

“The nightmare unfolding across Israel is unprecedented,” said AIPAC. “This ignominious attack on Israel must be met with world condemnation and support for the Jewish state as it defends itself. No country would tolerate its citizens being under constant assault from terror groups. As Israel prepares to undertake a sustained military campaign to protect its citizens from further attacks, America must stand by our ally throughout this operation as it exercises its sovereign rights to self-defense.”

Harriet Schleifer and William Daroff, chair and CEO, respectively, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said millions of Israelis who planned to have a peaceful Shabbat and holiday instead faced “barbaric surprise attacks on civilians in Israel’s south and center with over 4,000 rockets launched from the Iranian-backed terrorists Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

“In solidarity with our fellow Jews and the spirit of our shared humanity, we call on the world to join us in unequivocally decrying these unprecedented and inhuman acts of terrorism,” they stated. “American Jewry stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Israel, and the brave men and women of Israel’s security services. We grieve with those who have lost loved ones, and pray for the injured and those taken hostage by terrorists.”

“Now more than ever, we must all unite across ideological, partisan, religious and geographic divides to support Israel and the Israeli people. Silence is not an option; we stand with Israel,” they added.

“Today’s attacks have shocked the conscience of Israel and the world. Israel stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States on 9/11—we must stand resolutely with Israel today,” said Norm Coleman and Matt Brooks, national chairman and CEO, respectively, of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “Shamefully, the Biden administration’s first instinct in responding to this unfolding atrocity was to call for Israeli restraint as innocent Israelis were being kidnapped, murdered and paraded through the streets. It was a statement so disastrously wrongheaded that the office that issued it was forced to delete it.”

“But the damage may not be so easily undone. A statement suggesting that Israel’s self-defense efforts would have anything less than unequivocal support from their greatest ally, the United States, gives Israelis cause to wonder if America has their backs in a perilous moment like this,” the RJC leaders added. “And it further emboldens the enemies Israel faces arrayed on its borders.” 

“We must never draw any kind of equivalence between rampaging Hamas terrorists targeting Israeli civilians and our greatest ally in the region defending itself from these heinous attacks, and it is deeply troubling that the Biden administration’s first instinct was to do exactly that,” they stated.

Eric Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, said the nonprofit “stands with Israel as it defends itself against the horrific barrage of terrorist attacks on the people of Israel. We are working with our partners to provide urgent resources. New York—the largest Jewish community outside of Israel—is in unbreakable solidarity with Israel at war.” 

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) Bay Area stated that it “unequivocally” condemns “this terror campaign and are unwavering in our support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens. We thank the Biden administration, world leaders, and our California and Bay Area leaders and friends for speaking out to stand with the people of Israel during this difficult time.”

Adina Vogel Ayalon, chief of staff at J Street, said the group “is shocked, outraged and horrified by the surprise, ongoing terrorist onslaught launched by Hamas against Israel today, on Shabbat and Simchat Torah/Shemini Atzeret.”

“This is a day of profound anguish and horror. Israel is in a state of war and national emergency,” she added. “J Street stands in solidarity with the Israeli people in this hour of terrible danger, fear and worry. We stand with the Israeli armed forces working furiously to repel this assault, protect Israelis and defeat the terrorist onslaught.”

Pastor John Hagee, founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, called the scenes in Israel “heart-wrenching.”

He said “our prayers are with the people of Israel as they expel the invaders and work to save their countrymen. In the coming days, we’ll no doubt hear from those who wish to draw a moral equivalence between Hamas and the Israeli military. Make no mistake, anyone who would seek to undermine Israel’s response to this horrific attack is making common cause with terrorists.”

Sandra Parker, chairwoman of CUFI Action Fund, added: “The IDF will confront and overcome the challenge in their midst. Likewise, we will confront and overcome any elected official in Washington who would try to undermine Israel’s ability to defend herself. Whatever Israel needs to fend off these invaders, Israel will receive, and the terrorists will be neutralized.”

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