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Republicans accuse Biden, Schumer of emboldening Iran prior to attack on Israel

Republicans in the Senate are accusing the Democratic Party, including President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., of emboldening Iran prior to the country’s recent attack on U.S. ally Israel.

‘Instead of standing with our ally, Israel, Democrats are focused on appealing to their radical left base, which hates Israel and is actively supporting Hamas and Iran,’ Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Fox News Digital.

‘To appease his base, Joe Biden allowed over $100 billion to flow to Iran. Iran then used that money to make drones and cruise missiles to attack Israel,’ Cruz said. ‘In a very real sense, Joe Biden funded Iran’s attack on Israel. The Democrat position on Israel and Iran is as illogical as it is indefensible.’

Iran attacked Israel directly over the weekend, launching hundreds of drone strikes as well as a barrage of ballistic and cruise missiles. With the help of the U.S. military, Israel managed to intercept almost all the incoming drone and missile attacks. 

Iran’s previous involvement in attacks against Israel has been through proxies in countries such as Syria and Yemen. Launching an assault from within its own country marks a major escalation from a proxy fight to a direct attack.

‘Since October 7, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer have tried to undermine Israel at every turn,’ Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a statement to Fox News Digital. ‘Whether it’s on the battlefield, at the UN, or in Congress, they are more interested in pleasing the pro-Hamas wing of their party than they are in helping our greatest ally in the Middle East.’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pointed to the Democratic Party’s shift on Israel, saying in a statement Saturday, ‘Tehran and its proxies are emboldened when they see divisions between the US and Israel.’

Prior to the attack, Biden hardened his posture toward Israel as it fights Hamas in Gaza. Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a call this month ‘that U.S. policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action on these steps’ to address civilian casualties and ensure safety for humanitarian aid workers, according to the White House. The call followed an Israeli strike that led to the deaths of seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen.

Last month, Schumer sparked outrage from Republicans after calling on Israel in a floor speech to hold elections to replace Netanyahu, who he said ‘has put himself in coalition with far-right extremists’ and ‘has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza.’

‘If Prime Minister Netanyahu’s current coalition remains in power after the war begins to wind down and continues to pursue dangerous and inflammatory policies that test existing U.S. standards for assistance, then the United States will have no choice but to play a more active role in shaping Israeli policy by using our leverage to change the present course,’ Schumer said.

Prior to his floor speech, Schumer requested a classified intelligence briefing, which he routinely receives, on the status of hostage negotiations between Israel and Hamas. The briefing revealed that there would be no disruptions to ongoing hostage negotiations if Schumer gave his speech, according to a source familiar.

However, the source was unable to say whether any implications regarding Iran were relayed during the briefing.

Schumer’s office also hit back at the claims, with spokesperson Allison Biasotti saying in a statement, ‘Leader Schumer has been clear that the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad, and that the best way to deter enemies of Israel, like Iran, is for the House to promptly pass the bipartisan supplemental bill, with over $17 billion urgently needed for Israel’s defense and U.S. operations against Iranian-backed aggression in the Red Sea, which Schumer already passed in the Senate.’

The majority leader’s office said the attack on Israel was a response to the recent Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria, adding that Iran and Israel have been engaged in a lengthy conflict for years.

But according to one Democrat aide, there are senators in the party who are concerned about a growing number of Democrats’ posture on Israel potentially giving Iran the sense that American support is wavering for its ally.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., accused Biden of trying to ‘walk a tightrope of appeasing an increasingly radical base of his party while upholding the mainstream American position of support for Israel.’

‘The problem is the president isn’t walking a tightrope. He’s trying to straddle the Grand Canyon,’ he said in a statement.

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates pushed back on criticism of Biden’s posture toward Israel, and he rejected claims he emboldened Iran to attack, in a statement to Fox News Digital.

‘Former Trump Administration officials and Fox News’ own reporting have debunked those lies,’ he said.

‘President Biden is the only American President to have directly defended Israel, as he ordered the American military to do last weekend,’ Bates said. ‘He is also the only American President to have set foot in Israel during wartime, in support of our ironclad commitment to their security. Unlike others, he did not rail against Israel in the days after October 7th, nor has he ever praised Hezbollah.’

Meanwhile, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., pointed to a recent effort to force votes on a stand-alone Israel aid bill in the Senate as she criticized her Democrat counterparts.

‘This week, Senate Democrats again blocked immediate aid to Israel after Senator [Roger] Marshall and I demanded a vote to support our ally. The Left would rather play politics to appease their socialist base,’ she told Fox News Digital in a statement.

‘It’s clear that the Biden administration and Leader Chuck Schumer refuse to back our most important ally in the Middle East,’ Blackburn continued.

Two Democrat congressional aides told Fox News Digital that the attack by Iran was expected. They said intelligence suggested it was in response to the consulate strike on April 1 that killed Iranian commanders.

Nevertheless, the scale of the Iranian attack and its direct targeting of Israel shocked many observers.

Democrats in the upper chamber objected to two requests for unanimous consent to vote on different versions of stand-alone Israel aid. However, most Democrats maintained support for a foreign aid package that ties Israel aid to Ukraine aid.

McConnell said last month that Schumer’s call for new Israeli elections was both hypocritical and grotesque as well as ‘unprecedented.’

‘Make no mistake, the Democratic Party doesn’t have an anti-[Netanyahu] problem. It has an anti-Israel problem,’ the Republican leader said in floor remarks at the time.

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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