137 former US officials sign letter backing Biden support of Israel

Former Biden, Obama administration members praise US president’s ‘moral clarity, courageous leadership and staunch support of Israel,’ agree ceasefire ‘not possible at this time’

US President Joe Biden listens as he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in an expanded bilateral meeting with Israeli and US government officials, Oct. 18, 2023, in Tel Aviv. (AP/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden listens as he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in an expanded bilateral meeting with Israeli and US government officials, Oct. 18, 2023, in Tel Aviv. (AP/Evan Vucci)

US President Joe Biden received a vote of confidence in his support of Israel’s fight against the Hamas terror group from inside his party last week, in a letter signed by over 100 former senior Democratic figures.

Sent to the White House on Friday last week, the letter praised Biden’s “moral clarity, courageous leadership and staunch support of Israel,” as the war between Israel and Hamas terrorists rages on in the Gaza Strip.

Signatories to the letter voiced support for Biden’s $14.3 billion security assistance package to Israel, which they said would “ensure the continuation of essential and life-saving military aid bolstering Israel’s security and right to self-defense.” They also agreed with his requests for additional humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza and for Ukraine.

The letter came as Democratic lawmakers — including Jewish senators — joined the call for Israel to implement a ceasefire over concerns for the Palestinian civilian death toll in Gaza. Friday’s letter agreed with Biden’s stance that a ceasefire “is not possible at this time.”

“We know a two-plus-year ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was in place on October 6, which Hamas exploited to arm, regroup, build tunnels, and plan the horrific attacks of October 7,” the former lawmakers wrote.

The Hamas-run health ministry says around 12,300 people have died in Gaza since October 7, more than 5,000 of them children. Those figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires.

Signatories to the letter included Biden’s former chief of staff Ron Klain, former secretary of defense for policy Colin Kahl, and former ambassadors such as Joseph W. Westphal, who served as the US envoy to Saudi Arabia under former US president Barack Obama. While the letter was only signed by 137 people — considerably fewer than ceasefire petitions sent to the US president — the signatories include dozens of former senior officials with firsthand experience in the region.

US President Joe Biden is greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport, in Tel Aviv, October 18, 2023. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Addressing critics of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, which aims to eliminate Hamas and its terror infrastructure, the letter asserted, “To those blaming Israel alone for this violence or excusing the atrocities including rape and beheading as “resistance,’ we want to be very clear: there is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, a designated terrorist organization responsible for mass atrocities.”

War erupted after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing over 240 hostages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities. The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — including babies, children and the elderly.

AFP contributed to this report

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