May 19, 2024

By Eliav Breuer


There is “no excuse” for an American president to block aid to Israel, Rep. Elise Stefanik, the Republican of New York’s 21st congressional district, said at a meeting of the Knesset Caucus for Jewish and Pro-Israel Students on Campuses Around the World on Sunday.

“I have been clear at home and I will be clear here: There is no excuse for an American president to block aid to Israel – aid that was duly passed by the Congress – or to ease sanctions on Iran, paying a $6 billion ransom to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, or to dither and hide while our friends fight for their lives. No excuse. Full stop,” she said.

According to Stefanik, the fight against Hamas was one of “good versus evil, civilization versus barbarism, and humanity versus depravity.” She said that the majority of American citizens stood behind Israel.

The representative said that there could be no excuse for Hamas to regroup and that Israel must carry out “total victory.” The war wasn’t just Israel’s – it was a war on the way of life in the West, she said.

“It’s why I have sponsored, or backed, every measure to aid Israel that has come before the US Congress – every single one.”

 It was also why Stefanik, for years, had been “a leading proponent and partner to [former] President [Donald] Trump in his historic support for Israeli independence and security.”

 Stefanik mentioned three moves by Trump: the Abraham Accords, which she said was the most significant move toward peace in a quarter century; placing Israel under America’s Central Command (CENTCOM), which allowed for greater security coordination; and the “wise decision” to cease funding to UNWRA.

“If I leave you with one message today, it’s this: The majority of Americans support you, and we always will – since President Truman’s recognition of Israel 11 minutes after David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence 76 years and five days ago, America stands with Israel,” Stefanik said.

“We must not let the extremism in ‘elite’ corners conceal the deep, abiding love for Israel among the American people,” she said. “Most Americans feel a strong connection to your people. They have opened their hearts to you in this dark hour.”

The caucus co-chairs are Likud MK Dan Illouz and Yesh Atid MK Moshe Turpaz. Illouz, in his speech, commended Stefanik’s viral hearing in Congress in which presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn said that whether calling for the genocide of the Jewish people violated campus protocols depended on context.

He also said that earlier this month, Columbia tried to block a speech of his on campus by heaping bureaucracy on the process. Illouz said that some presidents on US campuses had aligned themselves with evil, while Stefanik aligned herself with good.

Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, in his speech at the caucus meeting, called the protesters on US campuses “mass mobs” and accused them of trying to “terrorize” their college management “into submission.” Ohana argued that behind calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, there was an attempt to normalize violence against Jews.

Stefanik, Ohana said, spoke “truth to power” in the viral hearing, which he called “historic” and a “turning point in the struggle over the soul of world universities.”

Ohana presented a map of Palestine in a kindergarten from Khan Yunis in Gaza that showed the entire land of Israel, arguing that this was the real meaning of the slogan “from the river to the sea” and showing that Hamas wished to wipe Israel off the map.