Blinken in Tel Aviv: As long as US exists, Israel won’t have to defend itself alone

T. Belman.  Blinken surprised me. He delivered a good speech.

Secretary invokes family’s Holocaust history as he urges world to condemn Hamas massacres of Israelis; pleads to avoid harm to civilians; Netanyahu: Sanction nations that host Hamas

Today, 4:16 pm

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make statements to the media inside The Kirya, which houses the Israeli Ministry of Defense, after their meeting in Tel Aviv, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, pool)<

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged in Tel Aviv on Thursday that Israel will never have to defend itself alone for as long as America exists.

Having flown to Israel in the wake of Hamas’s devastating assault Saturday on southern Israel, in which over 1,300 were killed — most of them civilians — Blinken expressed horror at the killings, invoked the Holocaust and his own family’s experiences in the Nazi era, and said he was working energetically to ensure the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict did not spread.

Netanyahu, hosting the secretary at a press conference televised live in Israel and the US, told Blinken his visit “is another tangible example of America’s unequivocal support for Israel.”

Blinken began by saying he was “incredibly grateful” to be back in Israel, “in this incredibly difficult moment, for this nation, but in fact for the entire world.”

The secretary, who is Jewish, told of his grandfather fleeing pogroms in Russia, and of his stepfather surviving concentration camps in the Holocaust. “I understand on a personal level the harrowing echoes that Hamas’s massacres carry for Israeli Jews, indeed for Jews everywhere,” he said.

“I also come before you as a husband and father of young children. It’s impossible for me to look at the photos of families killed, such as the mother, father, and three small children murdered as they sheltered in their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz, and not think of my own children,” he went on.

“This was just one of Hamas’s countless acts of terror in a litany of brutality and inhumanity that, yes, brings to mind the worst of ISIS,” Blinken says. “Babies slaughtered, bodies desecrated, young people burned alive, women raped, parents executed in front of their children, children in front of their parents. “How are we even to understand this, to digest this?

“And yet, at the same time that we’ve been shocked by the depravity of Hamas, we’ve also been inspired by the bravery of Israel’s citizens,” he went on. “The grandfather who drove over an hour to a kibbutz under siege armed only with a pistol and rescued his kids and grandkids. The mother who died shielding her teenage son with her body, giving her life to save his; giving him life for a second time. The volunteer security teams on the kibbutzes who swiftly rallied to defend their friends and neighbors despite being heavily outnumbered.”

He praised the “remarkable solidarity” of the Israeli people, mentioning the long lines of people giving blood, the reservists who flew home from abroad, and the people who opened their homes to fellow citizens displaced from the south.

“The people of Israel have long and rightly prided themselves on their self-reliance, on their ability to defend themselves even when the odds are stacked against them,” Blinken continued.

‘The message that I bring to Israel is this: You may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself, but as long as America exists, you will never, ever have to. We will always be there by your side.

“That’s the message that President Biden delivered to the prime minister from the moment that this crisis began,” he said.

Blinken welcomed the creation of Israel’s new national emergency government, and the “unity and resolve that it reflects across Israel’s society.”

“We are delivering on our word,” said Blinken. ”Supplying ammunition interceptors to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome, along other defense materiel. The first shipments of US military support have already arrived in Israel, and more is on the way. As Israel’s defense needs evolve, we will work with Congress to make sure that they are met,” he promised. “And I can tell you there is overwhelming, overwhelming bipartisan support in our Congress for Israel’s security.”

Blinken repeated America’s “crystal clear” warning against any other actor — state or non-state — thinking of taking advantage of the crisis to attack Israel: “Don’t. The United States has Israel’s back.”

The US has deployed the world’s largest aircraft carrier to the Eastern Mediterranean, bolstered the presence of US fighter aircraft in the region and provided Israel with other support, he said.

He affirmed that the US is also working closely with Israel to secure the release of the hostages taken by Hamas. And he said the US is continually engaging in “intensive diplomacy throughout the region to prevent the conflict from spreading.”

Blinken criticized world leaders in the past for equivocating when it comes to terrorist attacks against Israel. “There is no excuse, there is no justification for these atrocities,” he declared. “This is, this must be, a moment for moral clarity.”

The failure to unambiguously condemn terrorism, he argued, puts people in Israel and everywhere at risk. People from 36 countries were killed or are missing from the Hamas attacks, he said. “Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas — no region has escaped Hama’s bloody reach. Anyone who wants peace and justice, must condemn Hamas’s reign of terror.”

“We know Hamas doesn’t represent the Palestinian people” or their legitimate aspirations. “We know Hamas rules repressively and dedicates the resources it has to terror tunnels and rockets… We know Hamas does not stand for the future the Palestinians want for themselves and their children. Hamas has only one agenda — to destroy Israel and to murder Jews,” he went on.

“No country can or would tolerate the slaughter of its citizens, or simply return to the conditions that allowed it to take place,” Blinken said. Thus, “Israel has the right, indeed the obligation, to defend itself and to ensure that this never happens again.”

At the same time, Blinken repeated the exhortation that democracies must take every precaution to avoid causing civilian casualties.

“As the prime minister and I discussed, how Israel does this matters. We democracies distinguish ourselves from terrorists by striving for different standards even when it is difficult, and holding ourselves to account when we fall short. Our humanity, the value that we place on human life and human dignity, that’s what makes us who we are. And we count them among our greatest strengths. That is why it is so important to take every possible precaution to avoid harming civilians.”

The death toll continues to rise, he noted. And among those, “at least 25 American citizens were killed,” he said.

Again invoking his own family’s Holocaust experiences, Blinken concluded: “In this moment, where evil, hatred and madness have once more taken so many innocent lives, we must stand together, and resolve to confront what is worst among humanity with what is best. We must provide an alternative to the vision of violence and fear, nihilism and terror, presented by Hamas. That is what the United States will do, standing with Israel, working together with its people and all those in this region who remain committed to the vision of a more peaceful, more integrated, more secure and more prosperous Middle East.”

Netanyahu: World must spit out Hamas

Speaking before Blinken, Netanyahu welcomed him as “my good friend.”

“Thank you, thanks to President Biden, and thank you to the American people for your incredible support for Israel in our war against the barbarians of Hamas,” Netanyahu began.

“You have come to a hurting nation, a fighting nation, a nation of lions, a nation that is determined to defeat the forces of evil around us,” the prime minister said in Hebrew.

Switching back to English, Netanyahu said, “Hamas has shown itself to be an enemy of civilization.” He detailed “the massacring of young people in an outdoor music festival, the butchering of entire families, the murder of parents in front of their children and the murder of children in front of their parents. The burning of people alive. The beheadings. The kidnappings – of a young boy, not only kidnapped, molested, hurt, attacked.”

He condemned “the sickening display of celebrating these horrors — the celebration and glorification of evil.”

“President Biden was absolutely correct in calling this sheer evil,” Netanyahu continued. “Hamas is ISIS, and just as ISIS was crushed, so too should Hamas be crushed.

“And Hamas should be treated exactly as ISIS was treated. They should be spit out from the community of nations. No leader should meet them. No country should harbor them. And those that do should be sanctioned,” he urged.

“There will be many difficult days ahead,” Netanyahu said, but he had “no doubt that the forces of civilization will win, and the reason that’s true is because we understand what is the first prerequisite of victory. It’s what you just said in our meeting — moral clarity.”

“This is a time, a particular time, a special time, that we must stand tall, proud and united against evil. Tony, you are taking that stand; America is taking that stand,” he said.

“Thank you, America, for standing with Israel today, tomorrow, and always, “ he concluded, then shared a firm handshake with Blinken.

October 12, 2023 | 10 Comments »

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10 Comments / 10 Comments

  1. @Bear
    Yes, this is exactly the point. The war being pressed against Israel is an American war. It is the US which feeds our murderers, it is the US which arms the combatants who slaughter our people, and it is the US which maintains UNWRA teaching our enemies that we are an inhumane scourge oppressing the world which must be exterminated for our crimes. All of this is made possible by the US aid, and none of what we are facing today would be possible if the US actually was the leader of the Free World instead of being the state sponsor of the terror world allied against us.

  2. @Peloni along the veins of what you were expressing

    How the Biden Administration Helped Iran’s Mullahs Try to Fulfill Their Dream of Annihilating Israel

    by Majid Rafizadeh
    October 14, 2023 at 5:00 am

    “Look, it’s not even just this $6 billion, which clearly is going to further enrich Iran. It’s closer to $60 billion. If you look at what the Biden administration has done to help this Islamic terrorist regime in Iran by [stopping enforcement of] sanctions, by lifting restrictions, by allowing Iranian oil to increase by 650% over the last year from 400,000 barrels of oil a day to 3 million barrels of oil a day – all of this has strengthened” the Iranian regime. — Former US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Fox News, October 9, 2023.

    Iran provides roughly $100 million a year to Palestinian terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and $700 million a year to Hezbollah.

    Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, meanwhile, has already announced that his country will use the new $6 billion “wherever we need it.”

    “Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map.” — Major General Hossein Salami, now commander-in-chief, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, MEMRI, February 4, 2019.

    So far, the Biden administration, in a welcome about-face, has been superb about promising to help Israel defend itself. It is to be hoped that this policy will continue, in Ukraine as well.

    Sadly, however, to the Biden administration, the glaringly central role of Iran, without which Hamas would be able to do nothing, remains nowhere in sight.

  3. @Bear
    It is far more than stupid and counterproductive. The US govt has Jewish blood on their hands. They are responsible for the blood tithe being exacted from the Israeli people, and they are still maintaining this even as they try to excuse their responsibility by providing Israel with arms as the funds keep going to Iran, the PA, Lebanon, Jordan and Hamas. Describing it as stupid and counter productive does not come close to being accurate descriptors, which I believe you would agree.

    The pro-Iran anti-Israel policy in America is not something which has just begun, and it is something which must end. Now is the time to end it, which is why I do not ignore these war crimes being sponsored by the US funds, even as the US ships more weapons to Israel which should never have been needed, and which will be needed all the more, so long as the US funds its proxy war against Israel.

  4. @Peloni I do not disagree with you about how stupid it is and counter productive to be understated it is giving the Iranians money.
    I am not a supporter to be understated of the Biden Administration. My guess is before this war is over they will do not something I will not approve of.

    When they do something correct however I have no issue saying they did something correct. They are resupplying Israel right now. That is a big deal and I applaud it. It is important for Israel. I hope you are able to recognize that.

    I am anticipating the USA Administration will veto the immediate ceasefire the Russians are going to be calling for in the Security Council. The Russians clearing siding with the Iranian/Hezbollah/Hamas Axis trying to protect Hamas from the current massive Israeli firepower. The Russians are not Israel’s friend nor ally.

  5. @Bear

    [The TSS] is the big issue.

    I disagree. The aid is the big issue. The money which subsidizes the butchers of Israelis is not to be found in talk of the TSS. The persistence of the regimes in Gaza, the PA, Jordan, and Iran is due to the aid which sustains them, not the continued discussions of a TSS. It is both unthinkable and inexcusable that the US, the presumed leader of the Free Worlds is currently sponsoring terrorism throughout the Middle East against Israel, and having now supported those who have carried out the greatest slaughter of Jews since the Shoah, they show no indication of stemming the funds which made this massacre possible.

    It remains quite relevant the in the very short statement which you posted below, you mentioned Iran once, which was one time more than it was mentioned in the combined lengthy speeches of both Biden and Blinken. Notably, these two are responsible for having provided funds to both Iran and its proxy which facilitated the mass rape, murder and abduction of civilians. Indeed, the US govt has the unenviable position of being able to boast of being the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and they balance the butchery of their financed work product with pretty words and empty threats, even while no mention of the mistake they made while granting the aid nor of any intention of ending the aid. As with the sympathies of Ukraine who holds monuments to the butchers of the Holocaust, let the US hold their platitudes and substitute actions. Let them end the faux warnings about the war expanding and instead act to remove the menacing threat which they have both sponsored and protected as it approached nuclear breakout status. The time for words, during which they acted to secure Iran and Hamas both, has past. It is now time for actions, and yet the only actions which these two are currently pursuing is to talk and gesture. Having betrayed us so badly with their past actions, is this a fair response from a ‘friend’? I think not.

  6. BEAR_

    Forget Blinken’s speech. A political lackey. His past record re Israel condemns him utterly

    He is JINO and totally Biden’s man.

  7. @Peloni, I doubt the Biden Adminstration will get away from the two state fake solution. That is the big issue.
    USA is posturing and threatening Iran, Hezis, Syria……etc. that if they get into the fight they will also be fighting USA.

    Also Brits, Greeks, Germans and Italians have either sent some help or have said they will.

  8. A very moving speech. I don’t consider Blinken a friend of Israel due to his past actions to support Iran and to restrict Israel’s freedom of action, but I would be quite pleased to see that this speech signals a change on either of these relevant issues. More likely than not I will not be disappointed when I suggest that I am far from convinced that this speech is represents no such change, but I would certainly be happy to be surprised that I am wrong in this conclusion.

  9. @Ted, I totally concur Blinken’s speech was the speech of a friend of Israel. Plus I was very happy to hear him make his Jewish connection and emphasize it!