Adam Kinzinger, (R-Ill) suggested earlier this week that future aid to Israel from the United States could be at stake if Israel does not begin supporting Ukraine against its invasion by Russia.
On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Knesset, where he criticized Israel’s neutrality on the conflict, preferring to mediate between the two sides.
His main questions were why Israel has not joined the West’s sanctions regime against Russia and if the Jewish state could provide use of the Iron Dome missile-defense systems.
Retweeting a summary of Zelensky’s speech by an Israeli journalist, outgoing Rep. Kinzinger (he has been censured by his party along with Rep. Liz Cheney) tweeted that Israel’s reaction to Ukraine should have an effect on future aid from the United States.
The Illinois lawmaker explained himself on Monday:
“So, I grabbed the third rail of foreign policy today, as I said Israel needs to pick a side, and that future aid could be at stake. I want to double down on this, let me explain.
“I deeply support our relationship with Israel. But supporting friends doesn’t mean we look past differences. We have stood with Israel and will continue to do so. But at the moment there is a battle between Good and Evil, between a world based on raw power or one based on the post WW2 rules. Everyone must pick a side. The outcome of this fight will impact the world my son grows up in, and now is the time to call anyone to the carpet who does not do their utmost.
“If we don’t want to directly attack Russia, then our leverage is in the world uniting in sanctions and assistance for the people of Ukraine. This includes everyone, and Israel doesn’t have a special exemption. Hopefully, they will do the right thing.”
Kinzinger’s statements were met with a mix of support and criticism with some pointing out the number of refugees Israel has taken in, as well as aid such as erecting a field hospital across the Ukraine-Poland border.
He also completely ignored Israel’s special relationship with the Putin regime, which has its military parked just north of Israel’s border with Syria, impacting the Israeli population living south of the same border. With that in mind, Kinzinger’s unrestrained comments express the very arrogance and failure to detect nuance that have characterized the colossal American failures in the Middle East in the past 20 years.
The Illinois lawmaker, a former National Guard pilot, also tweeted: “We cannot allow Ukraine sovereignty to be walked over by a ruthless authoritarian. We know Putin will do anything for power; using any means necessary to break the Ukrainian spirit. Standing with Ukraine has to be more than just words. We must send the MiGs now.”
He was referring to Soviet-made MiG warplanes that Poland wanted to send to Ukraine, a move that was met by the Biden administration’s reluctance. Polish officials announced the plan before consulting with the Biden administration, and a spokesperson for the US Department of Defense said in a statement it would not move forward with Poland’s plan. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a March 8 statement that Poland’s plan is not “tenable” because of contested airspace between Russia and Ukraine, which could result in complications for NATO.
Zelensky’s speech had a mixed reception in pro-Israel circles.
International-law expert Eugene Kontorovich hit back on Zelensky’s attempt to guilt Israel to support Ukraine.
“How dare you lecture Israel about its national moral responsibility and urge it to take on additional dangers. As we speak, the West is about to give genocidal Jew-killers a nuclear bomb. Have you ever spoken out against this?” he tweeted. “As the leader of a country that was the site of some of the greatest Jew massacres, in which your countrymen were all too often eager perpetrators, don’t you have a ‘moral duty’ to use your newly minted celebrity to call out the Iran deal? No, got your hands full? Us, too.”