Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Monday that conditioning U.S. assistance to Israel is “wrong.”
“We have a $38 billion commitment over 10 years for military aid to Israel,” Nadler, who is the chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, told Jewish Insider. “The Israelis need it for defense.”
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, said last week that such a contingency would be “absolutely outrageous.”
Nadler and Biden’s comments came as some 2020 Democrats have called for conditioning U.S. assistance to Israel on the Jewish state not fulfilling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise to annex parts of the West Bank.
“We need to have the visibility to know whether U.S. funds are being used in a way that’s actually not compatible with U.S. policy, and U.S. policy should not be promoting this kind of settlement construction,” said Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., at the annual J Street conference last week in Washington, D.C.
In June, Buttigieg warned about possible West Bank annexation by Israel, saying “if Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his threat to annex West Bank settlements, he should know that a President Buttigieg would take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill.”
Former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro said at the conference that he wouldn’t rule out conditioning U.S. assistance to Israel if the Jewish state were to enact such a policy.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took it a step further and said that a portion of the U.S. military assistance to Israel should go towards humanitarian relief in the Gaza Strip.