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Tension over question about Tlaib at press conference with US senators in Israel  

“We are here together not to talk about the problems at home, which are many,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told Daniel Cohen of Newsmax.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) answers questions from the podium during a press conference in Israel on Oct. 22, 2023 as part of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators. Source: YouTube/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) answers questions from the podium during a press conference in Israel on Oct. 22, 2023 as part of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators. Source: YouTube/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem.

Jerusalem correspondent at Newsmax Daniel Cohen started asking whether the Democrats, who were part of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators in Israel, would condemn their colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Minn.), who has yet to apologize for or remove a social-media post blaming Israel for bombing Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City. 

Independent investigations, including by the United States, have concluded that Palestinian terrorists misfired, hitting the area near the hospital.

Cohen wasn’t able to get his question out before Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) cut in. “Stop,” he said. “It’s a fair question, Senator Graham,” Cohen countered.

“We are here together not to talk about the problems at home, which are many,” Graham said. “I’ve got my own view of what to say. You’re not going to screw this up.”

 When Cohen protested that he wasn’t trying to screw anything up, Graham said, “Get this guy out of here.”

“I live here. I’m an Israeli. I want an answer to the question,” Cohen said. (No one removed him.)

“I’m an American, and I believe in free speech,” Graham said. “I don’t believe what the ‘Squad’ has to say at all. But I came here with Democrats and Republicans to let everybody in the world know, ‘Don’t judge every Democrat by the ‘Squad,’ and don’t judge every Republican by some of the things you hear.’”

“The House—they’ll get their act together, but we need to do our job,” Graham said. He then apologized to Cohen. “I’m sorry, my friend. I probably shouldn’t have said it, but my nerves are raw right now.”

Graham was in Israel with Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Thune (R-S.D.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Katie Boyd Britt (R-Ala.).

Reed posted that the bipartisan trip to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt demonstrated U.S. support for Israel and included discussions of regional security matters. “We reinforced Israel’s right to defend itself and the obligation to protect innocent lives in Gaza and across the globe,” he wrote.

Thune wrote that he and colleagues showed “our unwavering support for Israel,” adding, “If we want to see the entire world, including this region, be a safer, more secure and more stable place, organizations like Hamas have to be eliminated.”

Coons noted that the group met with Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid and National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz, “as well as other members of the emergency war cabinet, where we expressed our solidarity with the Israeli people.”

Blumenthal wrote that the world leaders with whom he met “agree [that] Hamas is a scourge that must be fought and dismantled. We must stand together to deter Iran, who enables and empowers Hamas, and ensure that Iran’s malign proxies don’t expand this conflict.” In Israel, Blumenthal said the group met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in addition to other officials and families of Americans whom Hamas took hostage in Gaza.

“My dad came to the United States to escape Nazi Germany. He had not much more than the shirt on his back. He spoke no English. He knew virtually no one. Eventually, he brought over his three siblings and his sister came to Israel, where she married and had a family,” he wrote. “Today, one of my cousins is on the front in the IDF. When I met with the family members and loved ones of those who have been taken hostage by Hamas, I saw in every one of them my family.”

“The whole world needs to see the severe brutality, viciousness and evil of Hamas’s actions,” Sullivan wrote. “There is no moral equivalence in this fight. None.”

Cohen, the Newsmax reporter, posted that he was one of 200 journalists who saw nearly 45 minutes of Hamas bodycam footage “of its grotesque terror attack on Jews. I believe it’s the same footage a bipartisan group of senators led by Lindsey Graham saw Sunday. Why was it hard to condemn Hamas?”

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