AOC and Bernie Sanders defend Biden’s decision to withhold military aid to Israel

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: U.S. President Joe Biden (R), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) (L) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) walk to the Oval Office after returning to the White House on April 22, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden and the members of Congress returned to the White House following an Earth Day event in Virginia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont defended the President Joe Biden’s decision to pause military aid to Israel.

Earlier this week, Biden’s administration paused the shipment of 1,800 bombs that weighed around 2,000lbs (907kg) and 1,700 bombs weighing 500lbs (227kg). In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Biden acknowledged the hold, saying the United States would not supply Israel with weapons if it attacked Rafah, where numerous Palestinian civilians have taken shelter amid Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Many conservatives criticized the move, including Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary for George W Bush.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“Biden has lost his mind. If he does this, he is helping Hamas to survive — and win,” Mr Flesicher posted on Twitter/X. “I’ll take Donald Trump’s mean tweets any day. None of them is as bad as Biden.”

But Ocasio-Cortez, who supports a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and has criticised Israel’s approach repeatedly, defended Biden.

“Biden has not ‘lost his mind.’ He is upholding the word of the US,” she said. “There are 1.3 million people in Rafah. You do not need to slaughter them to go after Hamas. Biden stated the US red line was Rafah. It would make us weaker & the world less safe to let Bibi, or anyone, cross it.”

In addition, Sanders criticised a tweet from Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s national security minister, who said that Biden loved Hamas.

“This disgusting tweet comes from Israel's extremist National Security Minister, who was convicted by an Israeli court of racist incitement and supporting terrorism,” Sanders, who is Jewish and who lived in Israel during his youth, posted. “This is the government waging war against the entire Palestinian people. We cannot be complicit in Ben-Gvir's war.”

Both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez voted against legislation to provide military assistance to Israel.

Elsewhere, Representative Jamaal Bowman of New York criticised his Democratic primary opponent George Latimier for opposing Biden’s actions.

“My opponent refuses to stand with President Biden,” he said. “Make no mistake, this is George Latimer siding with his Republican megadonors over President Biden.”