speaking out

The lonely Democrats opposing Biden’s U.N. vote abstention

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) and Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Brad Sherman (D-CA) are among the only Democrats publicly opposing Washington’s cease-fire abstention

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Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) arrives for the “AI Insight Forum” at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2023, in Washington, DC.

Few Democratic lawmakers, even staunch supporters of Israel, have thus far publicly criticized the Biden administration’s decision to abstain from a United Nations Security Council vote earlier this week calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. 

So far, there have been just a few notable exceptions — some of whom have blasted the administration in strident terms.

“It’s appalling the U.S. allowed passage of a resolution that fails to condemn Hamas,” Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) said on X after Monday’s vote. “The UN has always been unwilling to condemn this group of terrorists, cowards and rapists. We must stand with Israel and stop pandering to the political fringe or Hamas apologists.”

The day after the vote, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) expressed similar concerns.

“I fear that yesterday’s abstention will only embolden Hamas and delay the safe return of the hostages — including the Americans,” he said in a statement. “I’m shocked that the Administration allowed the biased-UN to pass a resolution that failed to criticize Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization, that five months ago, brutally killed, raped, burned alive, and kidnapped more than 1,200 civilians. The resolution also called for an unconditional ceasefire without requiring the release of the hostages.”

Gottheimer linked the U.N. vote to Hamas’ decision to walk away from hostage talks. He said the vote is consistent with a long record of anti-Israel bias at the U.N.

“We must continue to stand with our key ally, Israel, and work to bring all of the hostages home, crush the terrorists, and provide humanitarian aid to innocent Palestinians being used as human shields by Hamas terrorists,” Gottheimer said.

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) followed him later on Tuesday.

“To allow for a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire without requiring the release of hostages is wrong, and has emboldened the Hamas terrorists,” Suozzi said in a statement. “Hamas has again walked away from the negotiations, which has again delayed the release of hostages.”

He added, “the international community must recognize that Israel is in a war against Iranian-proxies and terrorists, whose goal is to destroy Israel and kill Jews.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to cancel a delegation of Israeli officials to the U.S. in response to the abstention, told Jewish Insider on Wednesday that he also had concerns about the abstention.

“Instead of holding Hamas accountable, this resolution has — foreseeably — been read as an indictment of Israel, so I would have preferred a veto as this is clearly an unfair indictment,” Sherman said, noting that the resolution “does not make the cease-fire conditional on the hostages’ release, thus undermining the U.S.’s own bargaining position.”

He added that “there can be no true permanent cease-fire until Hamas is defeated, surrenders, or relocates.”

Most other prominent pro-Israel Democrats have stayed silent about the abstention, or have focused their criticism toward the Israeli government’s reaction to the vote.

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