Former Rep. Steve Israel defends Biden against Nikki Haley

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‘To ask where Joe Biden was when Hamas attacked Israel with rockets reflects either ignorance, short memory or partisan desperation’

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Former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)

On Monday, former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) pushed back against comments made by former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley over the weekend, in which she accused presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of remaining silent “when Hamas was attacking Israel” during his tenure as vice president in the Obama administration. 

During an online town hall hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition on Sunday night, Haley sought to draw a stark contrast between the Israel records of President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama’s administrations. “Where was Biden when [UNSC] Resolution 2334 passed? Where was Biden when Hamas was attacking Israel and no one was doing anything? Where was Biden when we were asked to have the embassy moved and he wouldn’t do it?” Haley asked rhetorically. 

Israel, the former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a Biden surrogate, called the remarks ignorant. 

“To ask where Joe Biden was when Hamas attacked Israel with rockets reflects either ignorance, short memory or partisan desperation,” Israel told Jewish Insider. “I was in Congress at the time. [Israeli] Ambassador Ron Dermer requested emergency assistance to restock Iron Dome batteries late on a Thursday night. The White House — including Joe Biden — responded swiftly. Biden began working with Congress, and $250 million was appropriated. He was visibly leading the effort.” 

Biden’s top foreign policy advisor Tony Blinken added in a tweet, “Israel’s ambassador asked for emergency replenishment late on a Thursday night. Friday morning I conveyed the request to Pres. Obama and VP Biden. Three word response: get it done. By Tuesday, with VP making key calls, we had $250 million from Congress.”

Biden addressed Middle East foreign policy in an address to Muslim American supporters on Monday afternoon. The former vice president pledged to resolve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. 

“I will work in close cooperation with our partners to meet the moral demands of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Yemen and Gaza,” Biden told the Emgage Action’s virtual Million Muslim Votes Summit. 

Biden also reiterated his commitment to the two-state solution. “I’ll continue to champion the rights of Palestinians and Israelis to have a state of their own — as I have for decades — each of them a state of their own,” he said.

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