Wicker Reaffirms Israel’s Right to Self-Defense

Standing with Allies Protects America

April 22, 2024

This month, the world watched in awe as Israel sustained – and thwarted – one of the largest drone and ballistic missile strikes in world history. Iran had planned to overwhelm Israel’s missile defenses and harm civilians, but our ally fended off the barrage. It did so with support from the United States and other nations, but that does not diminish Israel’s accomplishment. Instead, it underscores the fact that standing with our allies strengthens the free world and weakens those who would like to attack us.

We recently marked six months since the brutal October 7 massacre. Starting with that tragedy, we have witnessed a troubling rise in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents, even here at home. Both the terrorist attack and the subsequent pro-Hamas protests have shown us what our Jewish friends confront every day.

American-Israel Bond Spans Decades

These events also prompt us to remember and reaffirm America’s promise to Israel. In 1948, President Truman recognized the nation on behalf of the United States. He called for the world, “to accord to the State of Israel the right to self-defense.”

In the decades since, American leaders have stood by Israel. Our support has been reliable and bipartisan. During that time, Israel’s position has always been to live peacefully in its ancestral land along with its Arab neighbors. Slowly – often grudgingly – several Middle Eastern nations, including Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have come around to this position.

Iran Will Stop at Nothing to Eliminate Israel

However, the radical Islamic Republic of Iran refuses to live in peace with Israel. Coexistence has never been the goal of Iran or its terrorist proxy group, Hamas, which perpetrated the attacks last fall.

Since October 7, Hamas has continued its campaign to wipe Israel off the map, and it does not care how many innocent people are killed on the way. Hamas’ entire operation is a war crime.

By contrast, Israel has been striving to administer civilian aid while uprooting terrorists who hide behind those civilians.

Many in the United States, including President Biden, have not recognized Israel’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties. The Israeli military routinely publishes warnings before taking a building. They distribute evacuation notices. By working to protect noncombatants, they have risked giving the enemy a heads up.

Despite these efforts, it has become fashionable on the left to hold Israel to benchmarks we do not apply to ourselves or any other ally. Israel is fighting a terrorist group that has vowed to commit more October 7-style attacks unless it is stopped. Even so, it is living up to our – and its own – high standards.

The difference is clear: One side is fighting to defend its people after the worst terrorist attack in its history. The other continues that terrorist activity while hiding behind civilians. To paraphrase former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir: If Hamas put down their weapons, there would be no more violence. If Israel put down their weapons, there would be no more Israel.

Eliminating Hamas Must Be Our Position

Meir’s words illustrate why we need to give our ally what it needs to win its war with Hamas. In Congress, I voted for a recent appropriations bill to help our Israeli friends achieve victory, and I was glad to see U.S. forces helped shoot down the missiles and drones from Iran.

When America keeps our promises to our friends, our would-be enemies take notice. We have done so with Israel for more than 75 years, and we should not stop now.