Crisis in Israel Key Facts
October 19, 2023
- We stand with all Israelis and share their pain following the largest single-day massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust on October 7, 2023.
- Hamas murdered more than 1,200 civilians, injured thousands, and took 240 hostages, including Americans.
- There is no justification for Hamas’s unconscionable campaign of terror, which the Biden administration has unequivocally condemned and accurately likened to tactics used by ISIS.
- Democratic leaders, from President Biden to Senate Majority Leader Schumer and House Democratic Leader Jeffries, have been united in their strong and unwavering support of Israel and its right to self-defense.
- Hamas, not the Palestinian people, is the enemy. As Israel defends itself, we mourn the loss of innocent Palestinian lives and point the blame to where it lies: Hamas.
- President Biden traveled to Israel ten days after Hamas’s horrific campaign of terror, the first time a sitting U.S. President has traveled to Israel during a time of war. The President affirmed that the United States stands with Israel. He declared “Israel will be a safe, secure, and democratic state today, tomorrow, and forever.” The President made clear that Israel has the right and the duty to defend its people from Hamas and other terrorists and to prevent future attacks.
- On October 20, 2023, President Biden and Congressional Democrats proposed an unprecedented $14.3 billion in supplemental aid to Israel as part of a package that included aid to Ukraine and humanitarian assistance. This package must be passed as soon as possible, but House Republicans chose instead to strip out key parts of the package and condition aid to Israel on cuts to the IRS. Consequently, this critical aid has yet to reach President Biden’s desk.
- We thank President Biden for working with regional partners to secure the release of 50 hostages held by Hamas and for his continued efforts to bring all the hostages – including U.S. citizens, small children, and the elderly, including Holocaust survivors, – home.
Democrats Stand Strongly with Israel:
- President Biden’s support for Israel goes beyond words and includes action. At his direction immediately after the attack, the U.S. is providing military assistance to facilitate a “swift, decisive and overwhelming” response and support Israel’s defense.
- The U.S. moved two carrier strike groups in the Eastern Mediterranean to strengthen our force posture and bolster our fighter aircraft presence in the region to deter Hezbollah and others from joining Hamas in the conflict.
- The U.S. is surging additional military assistance to Israel, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
- Senate Majority Leader Schumer visited with Israel days after the attack to support Israel and discuss Israel’s vital security needs. Leader Schumer has also spoken with officials worldwide, including China, to rally support for Israel.
- Democratic House Leader Jeffries committed to “do everything necessary to support Israel’s effort to defeat the Hamas terrorists and their barbarity.”
- Hamas is a terrorist organization, similar to ISIS and the Taliban. It is an enemy of Israel, the Jewish people, the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinian people.
- Hamas members are terrorists. They should never be called “militants” or “fighters.” Terrorism is never justified.
- Hamas’s stated goal is the destruction of the State of Israel.
- There is no justification for the barbaric behavior of Hamas, and it must be universally and unequivocally condemned regardless of one’s viewpoint on the Israel-Palestinian conflict
- Throughout his public remarks, President Biden reiterated that Hamas bears responsibility for this conflict and shows no regard for Palestinian lives or livelihoods – it only continues to perpetuate Palestinian suffering.
- After weeks of Republicans delaying needed aid due to their inability to elect a Speaker of the House, Republicans proposed conditioning aid to Israel by tying aid to Israel with deep cuts to IRS funding – cuts that will make it harder for the government to go after tax fraud by millionaires and billionaires.
- Republican Senators continue to block the appointment of 300 senior Pentagon officials, impairing our military preparedness and blocking the Deputy Commander for CENTCOM. We need our military at full strength to support our national security needs.
- Most Republicans have not condemned Trump’s vile mockery of Israel, criticism of Israeli officials including Prime Minister Netanyahu, and praise for Hezbollah days after Hamas’s terrorist attack.
Combating Antisemitism and Islamophobia:
- In the spring of 2023, the administration released the most ambitious and comprehensive national strategy to counter antisemitism in U.S. history. The strategy mobilizes over two dozen federal agencies and contains over 100 specific, actionable steps to end this scourge of hate and prevent antisemitic attacks.
- The Biden administration is preparing a similar strategy to combat Islamophobia, demonstrating the commitment on the part of President Biden to combat all forms of hate and bigotry. We stand with Democratic leaders in condemning the sharp rise in Islamophobia and antisemitism following the outbreak of the war.
- President Biden signed increased funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program into law, bolstering funding to help secure synagogues, other Jewish institutions, and those of other marginalized communities from hate crimes.
- President Biden has hosted Holocaust survivors in the Oval Office, visited Yad Vashem, met with hostage families,and has committed to ensuring the safety of Jewish Americans.
- The President established an inter-agency group focused on countering antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of discrimination, led by Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt.