Democratic Majority for Israel President and CEO Mark Mellman released the following statement:

“We are deeply grateful for President Biden’s unprecedented support for Israel and its security. The President has demonstrated that support in word and deed, including approving over 100 weapons transfers to Israel during a war Hamas started.

“At the same time, we are deeply concerned about the Administration’s decision to withhold weapons now and potentially impose further restrictions.

“As we discuss these issues, we must keep some first principles in mind:

  1. Israel cannot, and cannot be expected to, live with a genocidal terrorist army on its border.
  2. So, Hamas must be disarmed and dismantled.
  3. Leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah intact enables Hamas to keep its promise to attack Israel again and again.
  4. Every civilian death is a tragedy of infinite proportions, but all of those deaths are Hamas’ responsibility. Had Hamas not attacked Israel on October 7th, those civilians on both sides would be alive. Had Hamas released all the hostages it kidnapped, a ceasefire could already be in place. Moreover, while by expert accounts, ‘Israel implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other nation in history,’ Hamas has intertwined its military with civilians in order to maximize the civilian death toll.
  5. Israel faces serious threats not just from Hamas, but from Hezbollah and Hezbollah’s master—Iran. Deterring those threats is crucial to avoiding a wider war. Public rifts between the U.S. and Israel already caused Hamas to harden their demands in the ceasefire talks leading to the current impasse. Such rifts also helped convince Iran that it could directly attack Israel without fear of a devastating response. Weapons embargos can undermine deterrence and lead to more war and more suffering.
  6. Relying on a specious distinction between offensive and defensive weapons is not a basis for sound policy. The same jets that some label “offensive” played a central role in defending Israel against Iranian missiles and drones in April. Similarly, bombing missile launchers is just as much an act of self-defense as firing Iron Dome, which cannot be counted on to be 99% effective every time.

“In short, 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. Calling the strength of that alliance into question is dangerous.”