Bernie Sanders To Force Vote That Threatens To Freeze Military Aid to Israel

Bernie Sanders
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January 16, 2024

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) will force a vote on a measure that would threaten to freeze military aid to Israel.

The Senate will vote Tuesday on the resolution that would require the State Department to produce a review within 30 days on whether the Jewish state violated human rights during its war against Hamas in Gaza. If the agency were not to produce the report, aid to Israel must stop until the report materializes or the body separately allows the aid to continue, the New York Times reported.

"There is growing concern among the American people and in Congress that what Israel is doing now is not a war against Hamas, but a war against the Palestinian people," Sanders told the Times. "That with American military aid, children are starving to death, is to me—I mean, I just don’t know what adjectives I can use. It’s disgraceful. And I think I’m not the only one who feels that."

The measure has little chance of passing in the Senate, according to the Times.

Some Democrats, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, objected to the timing of the resolution, which would invoke human rights authority that Congress has not utilized since 1976.

"There’s no question that the administration can and should continue to push for reduced civilian casualties and more humanitarian assistance, along with a possible pause that will enable return of the hostages," he told the Times. "But right now, Israel is locked in a life-or-death struggle against a terrorist organization sworn to annihilate it and the Jewish people, and I believe we must maintain both military and humanitarian assistance."

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last week the proposed measure was not the right avenue by which to address humanitarian concerns over the war, especially given its timing.

"The Israelis have indicated they are preparing to transition their operations to a much lower intensity," Kirby told reporters. "And we believe that transition will be helpful both in terms of reducing civilian casualties, as well as increasing humanitarian assistance."

This is not the first time Sanders has criticized military aid to Israel amid its war in Gaza. In a letter last month, he called on President Joe Biden's administration to preserve support for Israel's defensive systems such as the Iron Dome but to cut over $10 billion that he said would go toward the Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian enclave.