Biden: Leveraging aid to Israel is 'absolutely outrageous'

Democratic presidential frontrunner rejects the idea that the US should condition its aid to Israel on its changing policies.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Joe BIden
Joe BIden

Former US Vice President and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden on Thursday responded to other Democratic presidential candidates who suggested that the US leverage its aid to Israel.

“The idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find to be absolutely outrageous,” Biden told the Wall Street Journal.

“I would not condition it, and I think it's a gigantic mistake. And I hope some of my candidates who are running with me for the nomination; I hope they misspoke, or they were taken out of context,” he added.

The comments follow remarks by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Sanders told the J Street national conference this week, “I would use the leverage of $3.8 billion” in military aid to Israel.

“My solution is, to Israel, if you want military aid you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza,” he added.

Sanders also called the Israeli government “racist” and mocked both US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying, “One is on the way to being ousted and the other may be sent to prison.”

Sanders’ comments were criticized by Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the UN.

“Just when you thought Bernie Sanders couldn’t get any more radical, he outdid himself. He wants to take money we give to Israel to defend itself from terrorists, and give it to Gaza, which is run by terrorists?? Unreal. Why isn’t every other Dem pres candidate saying he’s wrong?” tweeted Haley.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also fired back at Sanders.

“Bernie Sanders, stop talking nonsense. Just yesterday, I met with representatives of the EU during their visit to the Knesset, and I told them about the absurd claims regarding the economic situation in the Gaza Strip,” tweeted Edelstein.

“It's time to put an end to these claims. They have the all the necessary means--they use the money earmarked for the public benefit in order to attack the State of Israel,” he added.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)