Confused About Biden’s Policy On Israel? Don’t Worry – Even Dems Don’t Understand It

The White House insists it’s been clear about its policy toward Israel: It will still sell weapons to the ally despite pausing one bomb shipment. Top Democrats don’t think it’s so straightforward.

Last week’s halt on 3,500 bombs that were to be sent to Israel ahead of an invasion of Rafah was a singular decision, not reflective of some larger strategic shift toward the Middle Eastern ally, administration officials said. But the quiet congressional notification Tuesday night of a potential $1 billion arms sale to Israel that’s years from delivery confused lawmakers, including Democrats, who say the administration has a significant messaging problem.

At the same time, while the White House says the bomb pause is a specific move for a narrow purpose, the Biden administration’s increasing criticism of Israel could create the impression that more arms restrictions are yet to come.

Senate Foreign Relations Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said President Joe Biden communicated the facts of the pause and its rationale poorly. That left an opening for House Republicans to introduce a bill forcing the sale of the bombs, a measure the White House said it would veto.

The administration’s actions were not well understood “certainly not by Israel, certainly not by the public and certainly not here,” Cardin told reporters. “It was not clear what their motive was.”

“If the purpose was to put a hold on the heavy bombs that should not be used in Gaza, that’s one thing, but that’s not how it was explained,” Cardin continued. “The administration has to clarify this, but my understanding is they were only concerned about this one particular weapon.”

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