update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Congressman: Non-Jewish IDF soldiers should check Gaza aid on Shabbat

"Israel is losing a world-wide public relations battle to baby killers," Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) told the Israeli economy minister.

Brad Sherman Nir Barkat
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) meets with Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat (left) in Washington, D.C. on April 10, 2024. Credit: Office of Rep. Brad Sherman.

In a 90-minute meeting in his Washington office on Wednesday, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) told Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat that “clearly, Israel needs a new approach.”

“Due to a number of factors, including the propaganda efforts of Qatar, latent antisemitism and mistakes made by the Israeli government, Israel is losing a worldwide public-relations battle to baby killers,” the Jewish congressman told the minister. “The delegitimization effort poses a real threat to the survival of the Jewish state.”

For months, Sherman has said that Israel should open the Karni and Erez crossings for both its benefit and that of Palestinians. “I commend Israel for opening the Erez crossing earlier this week,” he stated.

“I told Minister Barkat that Israel must demonstrate to a skeptical world its dedication to fully meeting the food aid needs of Gaza. Israel’s record in the last few days has been improved, with 400 trucks of food aid entering on Monday,” Sherman stated. “However, Israel will benefit if the number of food trucks far exceeds what aid agencies think is sufficient.”

The congressman “urged Minister Barkat to have Israel inspect trucks seven days a week, something I’ve been urging for many months,” he stated. “The IDF has thousands of soldiers who are not Jewish and are capable of doing inspections on Shabbat.”

He added that Israel’s detention facilities for Palestinians “should be models of humane treatment that Israel is proud to show the world press,” which he said “is part of what is necessary for Israel’s survival.”

In an unusually frank and detailed readout of a meeting, the congressman added that “much of our conversation focused on the expansion of settlements east of Israel’s security barrier and the rejection of a two-state solution by some political players in Israel.”

“Minister Barkat claimed that he can convince the Saudis and the Emirates that justice is achieved for the Palestinians under the following condition: Jews will be free to settle on the West Bank wherever they can find vacant land, but Arabs who live on the West Bank or Gaza will not be allowed to move to Israel,” Sherman stated. “I see no evidence that any Arab government will accept this.”

The congressman added that he looks forward to convincing Barkat “that only a two-state solution, in which each state can control who lives on its territory, can lead to a resolution of this conflict.”

“In the meantime, I hope I persuaded him that Israel should inspect trucks bound for Gaza seven days a week, and to send more trucks than aid agencies request,” he said.

Barkat has posted on social media about meeting with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). At press time, he hadn’t posted about meeting with Sherman.

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