Joe Biden
Joe Biden Reuters

The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) on Tuesday praised former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden after he sharply criticized a number of the other presidential candidates for expressing their willingness to use US military aid to Israel as leverage to pressure the Israeli government to do things differently.

Biden told the Wall Street Journal, “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.”

“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 followed remarks by several other Democratic candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who suggested that the US condition its aid to Israel on its changing some of its positions and policies.

NCYI noted that the candidates’ threat to slash aid to Israel comes despite the fact that President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2016, in which the US pledged to provide Israel with $3.8 billion in security assistance annually for a term of ten years. In addition to Vice President Biden, a number of Democratic Senators have also spoken out in defense of US aid to Israel.

“We commend Vice President Biden for his staunch opposition to the preposterous notion that U.S. aid to Israel should be used as a petty means through which to exert political pressure on the Israeli government,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss.

“Vice President Biden’s readiness to defend military aid to Israel stands in stark contrast to some of the other candidates who appear to lack a basic understanding of how critical these funds are to the United States’ sole democratic ally in the Middle East,” added Weiss.

“The agreement reached by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2016 was intended to ensure that Israel is provided with the necessary funds to protect its people from escalating threats and enemies who spend every waking hour pondering how they could destroy Israel,” Weiss continued.

“As rockets from Gaza continue to rain down on Israeli cities and terrorists are incentivized to carry out deadly attacks against Israel through the Palestinian Authority’s despicable ‘pay to slay program,’ which disburses millions of dollars each year to Palestinian Arab terrorists who murder Americans and Israelis, it is incomprehensible that several of the Democratic presidential candidates would impudently undermine the safety and security of Israelis by pulling the rug out from under them."

"Using US military aid to Israel as leverage is indefensible in light of Israel’s dire need to defend itself on a daily basis. It is crucial that the US stand by its commitments to its allies, who in this case provides the US with valuable intelligence and serves as a military and technological asset to the US We call on every presidential candidate to publicly affirm his or her support for the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding and pledge to ensure that US aid to Israel remains intact.”

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