Congressman Andy Barr: Biden administration makes ‘dangerous misjudgment’ on Israel | Opinion

In response to Dave Catanese’s article published in Sunday’s Herald Leader, I must address the dangerous misjudgment by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Biden Administration regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza. The Administration’s inclination to publicly criticize Israel, particularly in such a sensitive and volatile context, is not only diplomatically irresponsible but also strategically detrimental to both Israeli and U.S. interests.

To begin, it is imperative to recognize the context in which Israel is operating. The Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas were an unprovoked act of terrorism that resulted in the deaths of innocent Israeli civilians. Israel has a sovereign right to defend itself against such existential threats. By condemning Israel’s actions, the Biden Administration inadvertently emboldens terrorist organizations like Hamas, who exploit civilian casualties for propaganda while deliberately placing civilians in harm’s way as human shields.

Additionally, the assertion that Israeli forces have violated international law is highly contentious and politically motivated. The legal standards governing armed conflict, including the principles of distinction and proportionality, are complex and often misinterpreted. Blinken’s comments, without due consideration of these complexities and the realities on the ground, risk prejudicing Israel’s actions unfairly. As Lt. Col. Geoffrey Corn aptly noted, the legality of an attack is not determined solely by casualty figures but by the intent and circumstances surrounding it.

Moreover, the International Criminal Court’s decision to pursue charges against Israeli leaders is deeply flawed and sets a dangerous precedent. It fails to acknowledge Israel’s robust internal investigations and accountability measures, contrasting sharply with Hamas’s blatant disregard for international humanitarian law. Equating Israel’s defensive actions with Hamas’s terrorism is a false equivalence that undermines the credibility of international institutions.

The Biden Administration’s pause on military aid to Israel in response to civilian casualties further weakens our strategic partnership. This decision, driven by domestic political pressures rather than objective strategic considerations, signals a lack of steadfastness in supporting our allies. It is a dangerous precedent that compromises Israel’s security and stability, which are vital to regional peace and U.S. national security interests.

The growing domestic opposition to U.S. support for Israel, particularly among younger generations, must be addressed with informed dialogue and education about the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Simplistic narratives and emotional reactions should not dictate U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. has a responsibility to support its allies unequivocally, especially in times of crisis.

President Biden and his Administration must unequivocally support Israel, recognizing the significant challenges it confronts and the rightful measures it takes for self-defense. Publicly condemning Israel for alleged international law violations not only jeopardizes a crucial alliance but also erodes U.S. credibility and leadership globally. We must stand resolutely with Israel, acknowledging its right to defend itself against terrorism and rejecting any attempts to sway our support by misguided political agendas. The Biden Administration’s failure to do so is a blatant betrayal of our ally and a stark contradiction to the principles of justice and security we claim to uphold.

Andy Barr
Andy Barr

Andy Barr has represented the 6th District of Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives since 2013 and serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Financial Services Committee, and the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party.