Bernie Sanders Pressures Biden To Cut Military Aid to Israel by $10 Billion

December 13, 2023

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) sent a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday, calling on him to cut over $10 billion in proposed military aid to Israel and support the United Nations's push for a ceasefire.

"While there is a moral case for a military response against a brutal terrorist attack, it is clear that the Netanyahu government’s current campaign is being conducted in a deeply immoral way. A just cause for war does not excuse atrocities in the conduct of that war," Sanders wrote in the letter.

Sanders added that Hamas's Oct. 7 attacks, which killed about 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, were the cause of the war. But he said while the Jewish state has "the right to go to war against Hamas," it does not "have the right to go to war against innocent men, women, and children in Gaza."

Sanders described in the letter the American-made weapons that Israel has used to conduct its bombardment, saying the United States is "complicit" in civilian casualties in Gaza caused by their use.

"This constitutes not just a humanitarian cataclysm, but a mass atrocity," he said. "And it is being done with bombs and equipment produced and provided by the United States and heavily subsidized by American taxpayers. Tragically, we are complicit in this carnage."

Sanders went on to say that it was "appropriate" to provide support for systems that defend Israelis from missile and rocket attacks, but he said it was "irresponsible" to provide $10.1 billion in additional military aid to the Jewish state.

"This money would allow for the continuation of the Netanyahu government’s widespread, indiscriminate bombardment," he said.

Sanders then called on the president to support "efforts at the United Nations to end the bloodshed," including a recent resolution calling for a ceasefire. Sanders added in an interview with the Washington Post that he believed such a ceasefire would be temporary, not permanent, because a permanent ceasefire is unlikely "when Hamas has made it very clear that that’s not what they want or believe in" and with "Netanyahu and his right-wing government wanting to continue the war."

Sanders is one of several progressives in Congress to call for a ceasefire in Israel's war against Hamas. Multiple House Democrats—including Reps. Cori Bush (D., Mo.), Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.)—spoke at an event last month with the group Rabbis for Ceasefire. Also speaking at the event was Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.), who said that by supporting a ceasefire and "centering humanity" he was "uplifting deeply what it actually means to be Jewish."