newsU.S.-Israel Relations

Republicans to JNS: Biden ‘willing to throw Israel under the bus’

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Budapest, Hungary, former U.S. presidential candidate Rick Santorum says the administration "has been anything but supportive of Israel."

Israeli Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Gila Gamliel speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Budapest, Hungary, April 25, 2024. Photo by Miklos Szantho.
Israeli Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Gila Gamliel speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Budapest, Hungary, April 25, 2024. Photo by Miklos Szantho.

Former U.S. senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum told JNS that U.S. President Joe Biden is willing to abandon Israel to secure victory in the 2024 presidential election. 

“To him, it’s all about winning elections, and he is willing to throw Israel under the bus,” Santorum told JNS at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Budapest, Hungary on Friday. 

“The Biden administration has been anything but supportive of Israel. It has done the bare minimum to keep some sort of lid on the outrage that would come from America if it didn’t support Israel,” he added.

The U.S. State Department’s top Middle East diplomat Barbara Leaf reiterated on Wednesday that contrary to reports, the Biden administration has not given approval to an IDF military operation in Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip, where four of Hamas’s six remaining battalions are entrenched. 

“Absolutely not,” Leaf, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told reporters. “We have not done any such thing. We have not green-lighted a military operation. I want to be very clear on that point.”

Earlier this month, Biden called on Israel not to “move on Haifa,” apparently confusing the northern Israeli city with Rafah.

Unnamed Egyptian officials told the Qatari Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news outlet last week that Washington had agreed to back an Israeli operation in Gaza’s southernmost city in exchange for Jerusalem forgoing a major strike on Iran in the wake of Tehran’s April 14 attack on the Jewish state.

Biden “has not just attacked Israel, he also directly attacks [Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on national security issues when everybody else would be doing the exact same things” in Netanyahu’s position, said Santorum. 

“President Biden is doing everything he can to pressure Israel into doing things that are not in their national security interests. He is doing everything he can to support Iran as being the power in the Middle East,” he added. 

Also in Budapest on Friday for CPAC, U.S. Rep. Keith Self (R-Texas) told JNS that Biden “coddles” Iran. 

“The administration gave $6 billion to Iran in exchange for American hostages. The U.S. also allowed the Iranian regime to access some $10 billion in frozen funds. Sanctions are not being enforced on Iranian oil,” said Self. 

“The Biden administration is funding the Iranian sponsorship of terrorism,” he added. 

Self was referring to Biden’s deal with Tehran in August 2023 to release five Iranian Americans, whom the Islamic Republic had detained on trumped-up charges, in exchange for the United States freeing up $6 billion worth of Iranian oil revenue and releasing Iranian prisoners.

However, the U.S. House of Representatives thereafter passed a bill intended to permanently freeze the Iranian funds.

In November, the U.S. State Department reissued a sanctions waiver that gave Iran access to an additional $10-plus billion.

Self said that the U.S-Israel relationship would benefit if Trump wins the November presidential election.

“President Trump was the one that moved our embassy to Jerusalem. It had been promised by many presidents before but never done. He actually did it,” Self noted. 

U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) concurred with Santorum that Biden’s approach to Israel was being dictated by electoral considerations. 

“The president is behind in the polls. He wants to keep his coalition together and unfortunately one part of his coalition are those in Dearborn, Michigan who chant ‘death to America’,” Harris told JNS on Friday. 

“I think he should stand up against those individuals, but the average person understands that he is not taking the course of action for political purposes,” he added. 

Last year, Dearborn became the first Arab-majority city in the United States, with roughly 55% of its 110,000 residents claiming Middle Eastern or North African ancestry.

After the Oct. 7 massacre, Dearborn Mayor Abdullah H. Hammoud declared at a pro-Hamas rally that his city was part and parcel of the Palestinian “resistance,” a euphemism for terrorism against Israel.

Biden carried Michigan by less than three percentage points in the 2020 election against incumbent Trump, who narrowly won the state in his bid for the White House against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Harris drew a line between anti-Israel protests taking place in Michigan and the threats looming over Israel. 

“Those in Dearborn are not the first people to chant ‘death to America’. It’s been chanted in Tehran, which has direct connections to Hamas and Hezbollah. People make those connections,” said Harris. 

He also addressed the wave of antisemitic protests sweeping across U.S. campuses, where many Jews have been made to feel unsafe and unwelcome.

“The fact of the matter is that America was founded on religious freedom, and when you have students that are afraid of being on campus because of their religion that’s not American, and it should be stopped immediately,” said Harris. 

Protests in support of Hamas have led to arrests at Columbia University, Yale University, New York University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Southern California and The Ohio State University, among others.

While radical progressive ideology was spawned in and has existed at universities for decades, it has now crawled out into the open, according to Santorum.

“It taught students that Israel is powerful, the Jews are powerful and the Arabs are weak, the Palestinians are oppressed. They stand with the Palestinians, nevermind Hamas would kill every LGBT person in Gaza,” he said. 

“We conservatives have allowed indoctrination to occur, we funded these colleges. We have some of the wealthiest conservatives give millions of dollars to these institutions that destroy America. It needs to stop,” he added.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates