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WSJ op-ed: US President Biden urges passage of Israel, Ukraine aid packages

Biden appeals to sensibilities of Republican opponents in open letter

U.S. President Joe Biden at a press conference in San Francisco, California, Nov. 15, 2023 (Photo: Screenshot)

U.S. President Joe Biden wrote an open letter to Congress on Wednesday – in the form of a Wall Street Journal opinion piece – urging the immediate passage of aid packages for Israel and Ukraine. 

The aid legislation has been held up for several months as Republicans in the House of Representatives have delayed the bills in a sign of opposition to Biden’s increased spending on foreign aid. 

Many Republicans are pushing for a more “America First” policy approach, as proposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has offered several comments about making U.S. allies “pay up” for US defense. 

Biden wrote that both the Ukraine and Israel are fighting to defend themselves "with critical help from the U.S.” 

Calling on Congress to approve more aid, the U.S. president wrote: “Now is not the time to abandon our friends. The House must pass urgent national-security legislation for Ukraine and Israel, as well as desperately needed humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza.” 

Biden added that “while both countries can capably defend their own sovereignty, they depend on American assistance, including weaponry, to do it.” 

The U.S. top leader also emphasized the increasing threat from both Russia and Iran targeting Israel and Ukraine. 

“Both Ukraine and Israel are under attack by brazen adversaries that seek their annihilation,” Biden wrote. 

While the president accused Russia of wanting to “subjugate the people of Ukraine and absorb their nation into a new Russian empire,” he said: “The government of Iran wants to destroy Israel forever—wiping the world’s only Jewish state off the map.” 

Calling Israel “our strongest partner in the Middle East,” Biden said the U.S. should not “stand by” as Iran attempts to destroy Israel. 

“It’s unthinkable that we would stand by if its defenses were weakened and Iran was able to carry out the destruction it intended this weekend,” he wrote. 

However, in an apparent attempt to sell his proposal to his opponents, who prefer reduced American commitment overseas, Biden argued that “if Iran succeeds in significantly escalating its assault on Israel, the U.S. could be drawn in.” 

Biden also said that America aid to both Ukraine and Israel will help replenish U.S. stockpiles. 

“If Congress passes military aid for Ukraine and Israel, we won’t write blank checks. We’d send military equipment from our own stockpiles, then use the money authorized by Congress to replenish those stockpiles—by buying from American suppliers.” 

By emphasizing the use of American suppliers, Biden also attempted to sway those unsure of the economic impact of more aid going outside the U.S. 

“We’d be investing in America’s industrial base,” he wrote, “buying American products made by American workers, supporting jobs in nearly 40 states, and strengthening our own national security. We’d help our friends while helping ourselves.” 

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has pledged to push for votes on the funding packages in the next few days. However, in a nod to Republican sensibilities, he also moved to separate the Ukraine and Israel aid packages, as many Republicans are less supportive of Ukraine. 

Biden promised to quickly sign the bills once passed. 

"I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends, and we won't let Iran or Russia succeed," he said in a White House statement. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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