Some 80 retired senior US army officials urge Biden to ‘unequivocally stand by’ Israel

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Some 80 retired American flag officers sign an open letter calling for the US to “unequivocally stand by” Israel.

The letter, originally published May 10 and released in an updated version by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America yesterday, says that “US support for the only Jewish state should be clear, unwavering, and not conditioned.”

The missive comes after US President Joe Biden’s administration said last week that it would stop supplying offensive weapons to Israel that could be used in a major Gaza offensive.

The generals and admirals warn that Iran and its armed proxies “are watching closely to see whether the United States will stand by one of its closest allies fighting in self-defense, even when the going gets tough.”

“Israel is a visceral part of the West with its liberal democracy, ethnically diverse population, and support for individual rights,” say the officers, adding that Israel has “fought in accordance with the laws of armed conflict.”

They also emphasize how important the relationship with Israel is for American national security, citing Israel’s intelligence, technology and military experience. “Israel’s military and intelligence services have also often protected US soldiers and civilians and provided critical intelligence,” they add.

The signatories include former head of the US Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie, past Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove, former US Strategic Command commander Gen. Kevin Chilton, and several recent commandants of the Marine Corps.

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