Calls to Condition U.S. Aid to Israel 'Outrageous,' Biden Says

Fellow Democratic presidential candidates Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg have all expressed some kind of openness for the previously unpopular idea

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Joe Biden at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College, South Carolina, October 26, 2019
Joe Biden at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College, South Carolina, October 26, 2019Credit: \ SAM WOLFE/ REUTERS
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

WASHINGTON - Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he strongly opposes calls by other Democratic presidential candidates to condition U.S. aid to Israel on steps to end the occupation in the West Bank.

Biden told a Wall Street Journal reporter, who asked him about the subject, that calls to use aid to Israel as leverage are “absolutely outrageous.”

In recent months, Senator Bernie Sanders, who is competing with Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, has stated several times that he supports conditioning aid to Israel and using it as leverage to get the Israeli government to end the occupation. Sanders also suggested, in a speech before the J Street conference in Washington this week, that some of the aid given to Israel by the U.S., should in fact be used for improving the situation in Gaza.

>> Read more: Military aid to Israel becomes new battleground in Democratic Party

Other Democratic candidates, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, have not gone as far as Sanders, but have expressed openness to the idea. Pete Buttigieg, a young candidate who is currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said that if Israel will annex parts of the West Bank, he will make sure that American aid money is not used to support such action.

Biden had not made a clear statement on the subject until facing a question about it on Thursday. “I have been on the record from very early on opposing the settlements, and I think it’s a mistake. But the idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find to be absolutely outrageous.”

Biden added that Sanders’ suggestion was, in his view, “a gigantic mistake”, and he said that he hoped those suggestions were “taken out of context.” Biden is not the only Democratic candidate to express opposition to the idea. Earlier this week at the J Street conference, Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Michael Bennet of Colorado also spoke out against it.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage