The abhorrent attack by Hamas militants on Israel launched on Saturday Oct. 10 deserves the full condemnation, as murder of civilians and an assault on the sovereignty of a state cannot be tolerated by a civilized and democratic society. Yet, as some US lawmakers offer words of support to Israel in its fight for security and sovereignty within its borders, they are only too eager to deny any assistance to Ukraine.
The US House of Representatives is currently without a speaker, with the issue of US aid to Ukraine playing no small part in the departure of the previous speaker, Kevin McCarthy. As the US politicians battle to fill the vacant seat and the world waits to see if the US will continue to stand against Russia’s genocidal ambitions, Israel was attacked by Iran backed Hamas terrorists.
While US lawmakers move to condemn Hamas and support Israel, at least in their public statements, we are witnessing a striking difference to the rhetoric employed by the same people on Ukraine. Creating a false dichotomy between one and another state’s rights to defend itself, the predominantly republican lawmakers expose their false pretences of being deficit hawks in the struggle for good value deals for America, and raise questions over the comprehension of the geopolitical situation they find themselves in.
Israel receives nearly 4 billion US dollars in military aid annually form the US. And while Ukraine has received more than ten times that amount in a single year, we have to remember that the total bilateral assistance to Israel is thought to be circa 150 billion over the past 24 years, while Ukraine had received barely anything before 2022. Moreover, Israel is not currently engaged in a war against the most identifiable and largest historical opponent of the US. Considering the sheer difference in the US total financial commitment to Israel and Ukraine, it is hard to justify the difference in behaviour of American politicians.
Congressman Matt Gaetz, form Florida and author of the failed one sentence amendment to the US defence bill that read “Notwithstanding any provision of this or any other Act, no federal funds may be made available to provide security assistance to Ukraine“, was quick to state that “Israel has every right to defend itself”.
While Mr Gaetz’s statement is certainly true, his contradictory position on supporting a country’s ability to defend itself is striking. No condemnation of Russian action or support for Ukraine was offered by Mr Gaetz on the first day of the large-scale invasion, nor the second, or the third. Instead, Ukraine was the subject of a sarcastic remark on domestic policy issue of COVID spending on the same day as US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price commented on Ukrainian “mounting civilian deaths”.
It would be erroneous to think that Mr Gaetz is a devout friend and supporter of Israel and the Jewish people. Having previously invited a Holocaust denier to a State of the Union address and allegedly received a donation from the same person, he has also gone on the record to defend the man, saying “he is not a Holocaust denier and he is not a white supremacist”.
Another Congress member to deny Ukraine its right to exist yet offer words of support to Israel is Marjorie Taylor Greene. A far-right Republican from Georgia and supporter of Donald Trump, she has been a vocal opponent to supplying Ukraine since the large-scale invasion of the country by Russia. On September 21, 2023, Ms Taylor Greene used the US proposed aid to Ukraine within the Department of Defence budget as the reason to oppose the bill, which she has previously supported without the Ukrainian additions. She commented: “Our country is being invaded by the thousands every damn day and our Department of Defense does nothing. Our Defense bill should not fund our DOD for blood money for the Ukraine war, that’s why I’m a NO.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene
In contrast, Ms Taylor Greene posted in the Twitter page “We stand with our great friend and ally Israel as they declare war against Islamic terrorists”.
For those seeking to justify such illogical behaviour, it should be noted that the pro-Israeli position of Ms Taylor Green is unlikely to be rooted in any financial support she previously received from Jewish lobby groups, as the Republican Jewish Coalition famously backed her opponent in the primaries. Having stirred strong emotions within the Jewish community for antisemitic comments, she is also no friend of those practicing Islam.
The differing attitudes in the support offered by the two Congress members to two states defending from unprovoked vicious attacks is potentially indicative of a broader, and more worrying trend in US politics. Set in an outdated midframe of only being opposed by extremist fanatics, the US politicians are seemingly refusing to accept the changing political landscape, with America’s current inability to effectively counter challenges from tyrannical states and adequately support their allies.
The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter