In the wake of Hamas’ devastating attack on Israel, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has called on President Biden to provide unwavering support to the nation while also expressing concern about the administration’s approach to Iran. Cotton criticized what he perceived as “acts of appeasement, concessions, and weakness” towards Iran, suggesting they may have emboldened both Iran and Hamas.
Cotton emphasized the significant financial implications, stating, “It’s not just the $6 billion that was released from sanctions controls last month. It’s $10 billion that was released from Iraq into Iran.” He further pointed to instances where he believes the administration failed to respond adequately to Iran’s actions, including attacks on American troops and threats to shipping in the Persian Gulf. Cotton also highlighted the release of funds to the Palestinian Authority during the current administration.
“These are all acts of appeasement, concessions, and weakness that embolden the leaders in Tehran, as well as Hamas, to believe that they could launch this brazen, savage attack against Israel,” he asserted.
Cotton’s remarks echo the criticism from fellow Republicans, such as Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who claimed that the Biden administration essentially “funded these attacks on Israel.” Scott argued that the $6 billion unfreezing of Iranian assets constituted a ransom payment that contributed to the current situation.
Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee also weighed in, stating, “Just weeks ago, the Biden administration handed over $6 billion to Iran, and today, innocent Israelis were murdered by Iran-backed terrorists.”
Cotton went further in condemning Iran, highlighting its role in causing harm to Americans, Israelis, and Ukrainians through its support for Russia. He called on President Biden to cease appeasement, halt payments to Iran and the Palestinians, and enforce sanctions rigorously.
Despite these criticisms, President Biden maintained the U.S.’s strong support for Israel and condemned Hamas unequivocally. He stated, “Today, the people of Israel are under attack, orchestrated by a terrorist organization, Hamas,” affirming that “the United States stands with Israel.”
The attack occurred on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, with Hamas militants infiltrating Israel and launching thousands of rockets at residential areas while also taking civilians hostage. Israel subsequently declared war for the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, with casualties reported on both sides.