Israel Has an Absolute Right To Defend Itself

May 17, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) spoke on the Senate floor to express her concerns with President Biden’s lack of support for Israel.

 

To watch Senator Blackburn’s speech, click below or here.

 

 

 

You can read the transcript recorded in the Congressional Records below or click here.

 

Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam President, over the past week, the Palestinian

terrorist organization Hamas has launched more than 3,000 rockets at

civilian targets in Israel. Violent mobs have taken over the streets of

Jerusalem, and even seasoned veterans of the Palestinian-Israeli

conflict have expressed shock at the intensity of the violence.

This isn't normal. This isn't the Middle East version of the

Resistance. This is terrorism. Still, pro-Hamas activists have flooded

the media with Instagram-friendly content condemning Israel for

defending itself and questioning the legitimacy of Israel's very

existence, which is an argument that in any other context would bring

all hell down on the person foolish enough to say it out loud.

The level of denial and misinformation about what is happening in

Israel and why it is happening is appalling. Nearly every single member

of the United Nations Security Council embarrassed themselves this

weekend by embracing a generic draft statement condemning the violence

but refusing to acknowledge the hundreds of Hamas rockets that started

it.

The U.N. has a shameful history of ignoring threats and violence

against Israel, but rarely in recent memory has the Security Council so

blatantly regurgitated anti-Israel propaganda while Israeli civilians

cower in fear under persistent rocket fire.

Thankfully, the U.S. mission blocked the statement's release, but I

think it is important--important--to inject a little reality into the

ongoing discussion.

First, we must acknowledge that Israel has the absolute right to

defend itself, no matter the state of their relations with the

Palestinian Authority. There is a world of difference between a state-

sponsored terrorist attack on a civilian population and action taken to

stop that attack. We have a responsibility to counter the dangerous

argument that because Hamas currently lacks the weapons capability to

win this battle, Israel must stand by and allow terrorists to slaughter

civilians.

Second, I would encourage all of my colleagues to join me in making

it clear that the United States is and will remain Israel's closest

friend and ally. We will continue to assist with the development and

production of advanced missile defense systems like the Iron Dome. We

will not step away from that obligation simply because celebrity

influencers would rather witness a slaughter than a proportionate

response to mass terror.

Last, it is important to acknowledge that this violence is a symptom

of a much more serious disease. Hamas terrorists may be the ones

launching rockets at civilians, but it is Iran, the world's leading

state sponsor of terror, that is paying for it. That is right, Madam

President--it is Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism,

that is footing the bill for these attacks. When we provide assistance

and support to Israel, we are not just

protecting an ally; we are containing the destructive influence of our

most belligerent adversary in the Middle East.

This month, the Biden administration traveled to Vienna to negotiate

sanctions relief with Iranian officials. Since then, President Biden

has also spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu and reaffirmed Israel's

right to defend itself from these attacks.

However, I would take this opportunity to remind my Democratic

colleagues that the United States designated Hamas as a terrorist

organization more than 20 years ago. That is right. For the past two

decades, we have recognized Hamas as a terrorist organization. As a

rule, we do not provide them assistance of any kind. They are a

terrorist organization. But by opening the door to sanctions relief for

Iran, we cannot help but enrich a regime that will not stop until it

destroys Israel. That is their goal. We know it because they have told

us that is their goal. We must not provide sanctions relief to Iran or

give quarter to any regime that allies itself with this evil.

It is my hope that all Americans will take some time this week to

just unplug and think about this and reflect and then pray--pray that

reason and wisdom will prevail as we seek an end to this outbreak of

violence and the defeat of this terrorist group that wants to destroy

the nation of Israel.