As a freedom-loving American and a member of Congress, the events unfolding in Israel are of utmost concern to me. But beyond that, they should concern every New Yorker and, frankly, every human regardless of religion, ethnicity, race, gender or political affiliation.
What we saw last month was a massacre driven by pure hate and evil. Hamas is a notorious Iranian-backed terrorist organization whose official charter calls for the obliteration of Israel and the Jewish people. We have seen the videos, the reports and the first-hand accounts from constituents: Hamas followed through with its commitment to this goal by beheading babies; raping and slaughtering innocent concertgoers; profaning the dead; and taking hostage the elderly, mothers, young women and children, among them a number of Americans. Some 1,200 people were killed, including at least 30 Americans. Make no mistake: Hamas is not seeking reconciliation, stability or peace. Its only goal is the annihilation of the Jewish state.
What is America’s role in this?
We ought to stand by Israel. We should unapologetically provide what we can to finally defeat the enemies of the U.S. and Israel.
The House of Representatives has already appropriated $14.5 billion to Israel, and if more is needed, we should supply it. We need to continue sharing intelligence and providing military equipment and support to the Israel Defense Forces.
In addition, the United States should implement the most severe economic sanctions against individuals, organization or governments that were complicit in the Oct. 7 attack, including Iran. It is in America’s best interests to restore safety, stability and peace to Israel and Gaza as soon as possible. Indeed, the terrorists’ barbarous actions were aimed at disrupting peace, and notably the rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. must continue to collaborate with our Arab partners to ensure that the terrorists do not undermine our efforts to promote peace. To prevent them from succeeding, we must increase our support for Israel’s normalization in the area. That’s why I wholeheartedly support the extension of the Abraham Accords, which will serve as a model for mending ties between Israel and other Middle Eastern nations.
The fact that our foreign enemies have been acting aggressively over the past three years is not a coincidence. In order for America to take more decisive action to stop evil before it spreads, we must acknowledge that bad actors, such as those in Iran, China, Russia and North Korea, have largely gone unchallenged due to the U.S.’s lax diplomatic and military policies. Vulnerability begets hostility, and under the Biden administration, the U.S. has frequently displayed weakness on the world stage.
We can’t achieve our foreign policy goals by way of appeasement, which only serves to ensure that opponents will gain ground and the U.S. will become even more vulnerable as totalitarian governments and those who denigrate democracy continue to gain ground and influence. If we allow this to continue, what is occurring in Israel will eventually occur in America.
It’s time for us to throw our support behind Israel, our closest ally, in the interest not simply of friendship, but of freedom — which is in the best interests of America. We cannot submit to hate-inspired powers, but in order to avoid that, the United States must veer from its existing diplomatic and military policy. The notion of “peace through strength” needs to be revitalized.
Malice seeks destruction and death. We must push back by demonstrating the true meaning of compassion. In these perilous times, our efforts require more than just platitudes; they require decisive action to bring those who perpetrate injustice to justice. For democracy, freedom, peace, stability and the protection of innocent lives to flourish, we need to offer strength and stability for the present and the future. First, let’s give Israel our support.
George Santos represents the 3rd Congressional District.