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Houlahan, Dean Back Biden on Withholding Weapons From Israel

President Joe Biden’s threat to withhold some precision offensive weapons from Israel as it wages war on the terrorist army of Hamas has been met with an angry backlash from both political parties. And that divide among Democrats is on display in Pennsylvania, where U.S. Sen. John Fetterman has decried Biden’s “disappointing” decision, while local U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean and Chrissy Houlahan have endorsed it.

On Sunday, Biden’s Secretary of State Anthony Blinken repeated the administration’s threat, and said even more restrictions may follow if Israel pushes into the Gazan city of Rafah to wipe out what’s left of Hamas.

“If Israel launches this major military operation into Rafah, then there are certain systems that we are not going to be supporting and supplying for that operation,” Blinken told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The backlash from supporters of Israel began on Wednesday when Biden said he had told the Israelis that going into Rafah would result in a loss of U.S. support.

“I’ve made it clear to Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] and the war cabinet: They’re not going to get our support if they go [into] these population centers,” Biden told CNN.

Pennsylvania’s Fetterman responded via social media. “Hard disagree and deeply disappointing,” he tweeted.

“I strongly disagree with this decision and it should be immediately reversed. If there are any restrictions, it should be on Hamas, its enablers, and benefactors,” he added.

Montgomery County Democratic Congresswoman Madeline Dean, on the other hand, has been calling for Biden to restrict weapons to Israel for weeks. While her spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, Dean signed a letter urging Biden to withhold “certain offensive weaponry or other military support that can be used for an assault on Rafah, including offensive weaponry already signed into law.”

Dave Winkler, the Republican running against Dean, called her letter “despicable.”

“Withholding aid from Israel would be an unconscionable betrayal that would embolden the forces of terror and extremism hellbent on delegitimizing and annihilating the Jewish state. As a stalwart ally, the U.S. has a moral obligation to steadfastly support Israel’s ability to defend itself against the existential threats of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Hezbollah’s missile arsenals, and the indiscriminate rocket attacks on civilians by the terrorist thugs of Hamas.

Dean’s fellow Democrat, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan issued a lengthy statement saying she also agrees with Biden’s decision to withhold arms from the longtime U.S. ally.

“Recently, President Biden decided to temporarily withhold specific U.S. weapons to Israel until such time as he receives further assurances about Israel’s military operations and humanitarian considerations, specifically in Rafah. I don’t agree with every decision the president makes, but I agree with him here,” Houlahan said.

Houlahan’s GOP challenger Neil Young disagrees. “President Biden withholding arms from Israel is not only completely reckless, but it undermines American credibility on the world stage. Israel is our most trusted ally and they should not be left to stand alone. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Many Democrats, like our senator John Fetterman, have stood against Biden’s betrayal of Israel. Chrissy Houlahan’s support for this reckless policy prioritizes party allegiance over national interest. Her loyalty lies with her party, not with the American people or our allies.”

Both Houlahan and Dean are on the far-left Working Families Party list of congressional members who have demanded a ceasefire.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) declined to respond to a request for comment from DVJournal on the topic, but he told reporters late last week he disagrees with Biden’s decision to withhold weapons. However, he’s rarely mentioned the issue while Fetterman has spoken forcefully on behalf of Israel and its right to use force.

Casey’s Republican opponent Dave McCormick has praised Fetterman’s “moral clarity” regarding the Jewish state.

Nationally, both the Republican Jewish Coalition and Democratic Majority for Israel have issued statements opposing Biden’s treatment of the Jewish state.

“Joe Biden has cemented his legacy as the worst president for the Jewish community and the State of Israel ever,” said the RJC.

“We are deeply concerned about the administration’s decision to withhold weapons now and potentially impose further restrictions,” said the Democratic Majority for Israel’s Mark Mellman.

“A strong U.S.-Israel alliance like the one President Biden has created, plays a central role in preventing more war and making the path to eventual peace possible,” he added. “Calling the strength of that alliance into question is dangerous.”

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