Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hugs U.S. President Joe Biden

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hugs U.S. President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on October 18, 2023.

(Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Biden Ukraine Statement Highlights Hypocrisy on Gaza

"Read this statement from the White House today... but... change the words Russia, Ukraine, and Putin to Israel, Gaza, and Netanyahu," said journalist Mehdi Hasan.

While the wars in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip are different for myriad reasons, Western leaders have been called hypocrites for opposing the Russian invasion but backing what global experts warn is a "genocidal" Israeli operation—criticism that was renewed Friday in response to a statement from U.S. President Joe Biden.

Biden's statement came after Russia launched its "most massive aerial attack" since invading Ukraine in February 2022, killing dozens, injuring more than 150, and hitting "over 100... private houses, 45 multistory residential buildings, schools, two churches, hospitals, a maternity ward, and many commercial and storage facilities," according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

After noting the impact of the "massive bombardment," Biden took aim at Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that his "objective remains unchanged. He seeks to obliterate Ukraine and subjugate its people. He must be stopped."

Journalist Mehdi Hasan—whose MSNBC show was just canceled after offering rare critical coverage of the U.S.-backed Israeli assault on civilians in Gaza—shared that portion of the president's remarks on social media with a suggestion.

"I challenge you to read this statement from the White House today... but... change the words Russia, Ukraine, and Putin to Israel, Gaza, and Netanyahu," he said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Go on. Do it. See for yourself."

Biden's statement goes on to push for more money for Ukraine. Congress has not approved his $106 billion supplemental funding request from October that includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine and $14.3 billion for Israel—which already receives $3.8 billion in U.S. military aid annually and is now getting some weapons for its war effort without congressional oversight.

"The American people can be proud of the lives we have helped to save and the support we have given Ukraine as it defends its people, its freedom, and its independence," Biden said of the significant support the U.S. has provided over nearly two years. "But unless Congress takes urgent action in the new year, we will not be able to continue sending the weapons and vital air defense systems Ukraine needs to protect its people. Congress must step up and act without any further delay."

"The stakes of this fight extend far beyond Ukraine. They affect the entirety of the NATO alliance, the security of Europe, and the future of the transatlantic relationship," he warned. "Putin has not just attempted to destroy Ukraine; he has threatened some of our NATO allies as well. When dictators and autocrats are allowed to run roughshod in Europe, the risk rises that the United States gets pulled in directly."

Since Russia invaded early last year, at least 10,000 civilians, including more than 560 children, have been killed, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said last month, warning that "the actual figure may be significantly higher given the challenges and time required for verification."

In the densely populated Gaza Strip—widely referred to as the world's largest open-air prison long before the Hamas-led attack on Israel sparked the current war—the death toll has hit 21,672 in just 12 weeks, including over 8,200 children, according to local officials.

As Israeli forces have used U.S. weapons to wipe out Palestinian families and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, experts have warned that continuing to arm Israel could make the Biden administration complicit in genocide. While the president recently condemned Israel's "indiscriminate bombing" of the besieged enclave, he has also refused to withdraw his "unwavering" support and cast doubt on the civilian death toll, earning him a nickname among some critics: "Genocide Joe."

The South African government—a fierce critic of decades of Israeli apartheid and the current war in Gaza—on Friday initiated a case at the International Court of Justice, accusing Israel of breaching its obligations under the Genocide Convention.

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