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Trump, Democrats, Israeli Officials Slam Biden for ‘Aiding Hamas’ With Threat to Halt Weapons

Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, US, April 2, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

US President Joe Biden’s threat to halt arms shipments to Israel if it proceeds with a planned military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah has drawn furious pushback from both US and Israeli officials, who charged the American president with helping the Hamas terror group.

In characteristically caustic terms, former President Donald Trump — who is running against Biden in this year’s US presidential election — accused the incumbent of siding with Hamas.

“Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses, because his donors are funding them,” Trump said on Truth Social.

“What Biden is doing with respect to Israel is disgraceful,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee added on Thursday, while entering a New York courthouse for his criminal trial over hush money payments. “If any Jewish person voted for Joe Biden, they should be ashamed of themselves. He’s totally abandoned Israel.”

Biden told CNN in an interview on Wednesday that he had “made it clear that if they [Israel] go into Rafah … I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities — that deal with that problem.”

He added, “Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers.”

US lawmakers, including many fellow Democrats, and Israeli officials were quick to condemn Biden’s decision.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) told Axios he suspects Biden was “pandering to the far left” and that the upcoming election was “driving” him.

“I’d like the president to do right by Israel and recognize that the far left is not representative of the rest of the country,” he said.

Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) added that Israel is “surrounded by danger, they need the tools to defend themselves” and that the US “should fulfill our obligation” by sending the weapons.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) also expressed his opposition to Biden’s threat, saying that the US must “stand with our key ally throughout all of this.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif) accused Biden of “throw[ing] away part of the package” after getting legislation passed in Congress that included about $15 billion in military aid to Israel.

“Biden seems to be communicating his displeasure, and I regard these statements as a communicative act, rather than a strategic act,” he said in remarks to the Jewish Insider.

Within Israel’s ruling coalition, cabinet ministers took turns firing verbal salvos at the Democratic president.

“Israel will continue to fight Hamas until its destruction,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz declared on X/Twitter. “There is no war more just than this.”

Hardline Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said American opposition would only strengthen Israel’s resolve. “We must continue this war until complete victory, despite the Biden administration’s opposition,” he said.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a fellow hardliner, tweeted that “Hamas [loves] Biden,” using a heart emoji.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to take an implicit shot at Biden’s decision, posting on X/Twitter a portion of his speech at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust, earlier this week to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Today, we again confront enemies bent on our destruction,” Netanyahu said in the clip. “I say to the leaders of the world: No amount of pressure, no decision by any international forum, will stop Israel from defending itself … If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant similarly did not mention Biden’s remarks directly on Thursday but appeared to issue a message in response to them.

“I turn to Israel’s enemies as well as to our best of friends and say: The State of Israel cannot be subdued, not the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], not the defense establishment, and not the State of Israel. We will stand strong, we will achieve our goals — we will hit Hamas, we will hit Hezbollah, and we will achieve security,” he said at a ceremony to commemorate Israel’s war dead.

The harsh rhetoric laid bare escalating tensions between the Biden administration and Israel’s government over the latter’s conduct during the war in Gaza, which was prompted by a bloody attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas in which 1200 people were murdered and another 252 were taken hostage.

Biden’s warning came amid Israeli preparations for a major offensive into the Rafah area near the Egyptian border with Gaza, in a bid to destroy the last four Hamas battalions and free the 132 Israelis who are thought to be held hostage there. More than 1.2 million Palestinians are currently in Rafah, many of whom were evacuated to humanitarian zones there from the northern Gaza Strip.

Hamas terrorists embed themselves within Gaza’s civilian population and commandeer civilian facilities like hospitals, schools, and mosques to run operations and direct attacks.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations warned that Biden’s threat would be taken by Israel’s enemies as a signal of impending victory and embolden them further.

“How can we accomplish our goals of destroying Hamas and releasing the hostages if Israel is barred from entering a critical area like Rafah, which is where thousands of terrorists, hostages, and Hamas leadership are?” Gilad Erdan told Israeli broadcaster Kan.

He also warned that Biden’s threat could erode the president’s support among Jewish American voters, and noted that many are “hesitant” after backing Biden in 2020.

US Jewish leaders have also expressed their concern.

American Jewish Committee CEO Ted Deutch said Biden’s remarks as well as his threat were detrimental to the war against Hamas.

“President Biden should not take steps that could impair Israel’s ability to prevent Hamas from attacking it again and again — as its leaders have promised,” he wrote on social media. “The US knows that defeating Hamas is critical to Israel’s long-term security and to defeating the global threat posed by the Iranian regime and its proxies.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said Biden’s comments were “dangerous and counter to American interest.”

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

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