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Democratic Coalition Sends Biden a Demand on Military Aid to Israel

A coalition of a dozen liberal organizations and labor unions sent a letter to the White House Thursday evening demanding that President Biden end military aid to Israel until his administration lifts restrictions on humanitarian aid to Gaza, the latest indicator of a shift in mainstream Democratic opinion on the issue. war.

The group includes not only progressive groups like MoveOn and the Working Families Party, but also the main Democratic Center for American Progress and NextGen America, the organization founded and funded by Tom Steyer, a billionaire who ran for president during of the 2020 Democratic primaries. Other signatories to the letter include the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association, unions that make up key parts of the Democratic Party.

The letter calls on Mr. Biden to enforce the Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits military support to any country that restricts the provision of humanitarian aid.

“This will send a clear message that the Netanyahu government is not above the law and that the United States will not stand idly by while the war kills innocent Palestinians and continues to cause escalation throughout the region ” the letter said, referring to the Israeli prime minister. Benjamin Netanyahu. “US law is unequivocal: countries that obstruct US humanitarian aid cannot receive US military aid under the Foreign Assistance Act or the Arms Export Control Act. »

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, president of NextGen America, which focuses on youth voter turnout, said there was a growing risk that Mr. Biden would lose the support of a key part of the Democratic coalition if he does not There was no significant change in the American situation. position regarding the war in Gaza.

“We are concerned about the humanitarian and moral implications as well as the political survival of the administration,” said Ms. Tzintzún Ramirez. “We’ve seen an influx of young people saying they care about foreign policy and this issue in a way we’ve never seen before.”

Last week, Mr. Biden told Mr. Netanyahu that the United States could suspend its support for Israel if it did not do more to protect civilians and ensure adequate supplies in Gaza. And since then, the president has reiterated that getting more aid to Gaza is a priority.

“They need to do more,” Mr. Biden said of the Israeli government and Mr. Netanyahu at a news conference on Wednesday. “There is still an opening to be made in the north. So we will see what he will do to respect the commitments he made to me.

The White House and the Biden campaign declined to comment on the letter.

The letter adds to the growing pressure Mr. Biden faces from across the Democratic Party as Israel’s war in Gaza enters its seventh month. More than 33,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to local health authorities. Around 1,200 people were killed in Israel when Hamas militants launched an attack that sparked the conflict on October 7.

Israeli officials estimate that about 130 hostages remain in Gaza, and Israeli intelligence officials have concluded that at least 30 of them died in captivity.

Last month, Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, and seven Democratic senators made a similar request to Mr. Biden. Meanwhile, Mr. Biden has made increasingly angry statements against Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza, particularly after last week’s Israeli airstrike that killed seven members of a humanitarian convoy World Central Kitchen, the charity run by Spanish chef José Andrés.

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