newsU.S.-Israel Relations

Rep. Waters appears to be final Congress member to comment on Israel

Former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were criticized for commenting late, some 48 hours prior to the California Democrat.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) speaks to the Service Union International Workers at a rally in Los Angeles. Credit: Maxim Elramsisy/Shutterstock.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) speaks to the Service Union International Workers at a rally in Los Angeles. Credit: Maxim Elramsisy/Shutterstock.

At 3:27 p.m. local time on Oct. 11, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) issued a statement on X about the Hamas terror organization, four days after its infiltration over the Israeli-Gaza border and the killing of some 1,300 people, many of them children.

“I join with my Democratic and Republican colleagues in condemning the appalling terrorist attack carried out by Hamas against the people of Israel. I support the right of Israel, our friend and ally, to defend itself,” she wrote.

“The Biden administration’s support for Israel must include efforts to secure the return of all hostages, some of whom are American citizens,” Waters added. “I also urge the administration to facilitate humanitarian assistance to innocent Palestinian children and civilians because access, electricity, water and food have been shut off to Gaza.”

Waters appeared to be the last member of Congress to issue a statement about the attacks, which the U.S. and Israeli presidents have called the bloodiest day in Jewish history since the Holocaust.

JNS reached out to Waters’s office for comment on why she waited so long but did not receive a response.

Former President Barack Obama has also faced criticism for a late statement, which he issued nearly 48 hours prior to Waters. After initial silence, members of the so-called “Squad” issued statements on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8, some of them two days before Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

Dumisani Washington, founder and CEO of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, told JNS that it was “inexcusable” that Waters, Clinton and Obama were “slow walking their denunciations of Hamas and Iran.”

“When we contrast this with the historic swift condemnation of Israel for defending itself against terrorism, the picture is clear,” he said. “The double standard applied to the Jewish state versus its enemies is not only unseemly, it is partially responsible for the disinformation that prevails in any discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

‘Silence is compliance’

Emily Austin, an Israeli-American sports journalist and social-media influencer, strongly condemned the the silence of the “Squad,” as well as the late statements of Clinton and Obama.

“They are cowards. There is no other adjective to describe them,” she told JNS. “Silence is compliance. By them staying silent at a time when we are being slaughtered for living in our land sends a message that they are okay with this.”

Austin, who had previously visited Israel in June on a trip organized by the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer after having been in the country almost a year ago, said that she was “devastated” by the ongoing terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas.

“I feel this is affecting all of us as Israelis. I have cousins who are currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces, and we don’t know what is happening to the children who have been kidnapped in Gaza,” she said.

She added that this was not a fight over land, but that Palestinian Islamism is the cause of this conflict—pointing to Hamas calling for a global “Day of Jihad” on Oct. 13.

To date, a Jewish professor in the city of Arras in northern France has been stabbed to death by two assailants screaming Allah Akbar, while Reuters reports that a 50-year-old Israeli man who works at the Israeli embassy in Beijing was stabbed in front of a supermarket.

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