Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday dismissed growing calls to condition military aid to Israel, calling them “ridiculous,” as Israel has been killing civilians at a historic pace in Gaza.
“Our relationship with Israel is the closest national security relationship of any country in the world. And to condition, in effect, our assistance to Israel on their meeting our standards, it seems to me is totally unnecessary,” McConnell said, according to The Hill.
While the majority of Congress staunchly backs Israel and wouldn’t want to place limits on US military support, there have been growing calls from some Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to put conditions on US aid.
“The United States must make clear that while we are friends of Israel, there are conditions to that friendship and that we cannot be complicit in actions that violate international law and our own sense of decency,” Sanders wrote in The New York Times last week.
According to The Intercept, Sanders said he might push a vote on conditioning the over $14 billion President Biden is seeking to fund Israel’s onslaught in Gaza, which, according to the most conservative estimates, has killed at least 10,000 civilians.
The mass slaughter of civilians has not fazed hawks in Congress. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said there is “no limit” to the number of civilians Israel can kill before it would lose US support.
While Graham is an ultra-hawk, his view reflects that of the Biden administration, which has said it would not draw “red lines” for Israel despite the massive civilian casualties. The US is issuing warnings over Israel’s coming campaign in south Gaza, but there’s no sign it’s looking to leverage military aid.