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Biden's Pro-Israel Donors Criticize Decision to Withhold Arms Amid Gaza Tensions

 May 11, 2024

President Joe Biden is under fire from key pro-Israel backers following his stance on halting military support to Israel in some scenarios.

Biden's decision to potentially halt weapons shipments to Israel has ignited strong reactions among prominent donors and political figures, as Fox News reports.

On Wednesday, the president made a controversial declaration during a CNN interview. He stated that the U.S. would withhold certain types of military support if Israel were to invade Rafah, a region in Gaza known as a Hamas stronghold. This statement came amid increasing tensions and complex geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East.

Biden's Firm Stance On Rafah Draws Immediate Backlash

Shortly after Biden's interview, Haim Saban, an influential Israeli American and Democratic mega-donor, sent a sharply worded email to White House officials. The email, which was later obtained by Axios, criticized the President's decision as "Bad, Bad, Bad, decision, on all levels," urging him to reconsider.

Saban argued that the decision sends a negative message to U.S. allies worldwide.

Mark Mellman, a prominent advocate within the Democratic Party and CEO of Democratic Majority for Israel, also voiced his disapproval. Mellman remarked on the apparent shift in U.S. policy, noting Biden’s historically pro-Israel stance but expressing concern over this new development.

Support For Israel Continues with Strategic Limitations

Despite the potential pause on weapon shipments for operations in Rafah, Biden emphasized ongoing support for Israel's security. He affirmed continued aid for defensive systems like the Iron Dome, essential for protecting against external threats.

Biden clarified, "We’re going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently."

However, the provision of weapons and artillery shells specifically for use in Rafah would cease if the invasion proceeded.

Political Implications And Donor Concerns

The backlash from Biden’s decision has potential ramifications for his political support. Saban, who hosted a major fundraiser for Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign, accused the President of abandoning U.S. goals in defeating Hamas. This accusation highlights a significant tension within Biden’s own support base.

Furthermore, the House Oversight Committee has initiated an investigation into the Biden administration's approach to military aid to Israel, signaling deepening domestic scrutiny over this policy choice.

This move has sparked concerns among Biden’s donors and could influence future political and financial support.

Community Response And Broader Political Landscape

The pro-Israel community, represented by figures like Mellman, has expressed widespread worry and dissatisfaction. These sentiments reflect the community's apprehension about the long-term consequences of Biden's policy on U.S.-Israel relations.

Mellman pointed out, "There are a lot of people in the pro-Israel community who are very worried, very upset and very angry." He added that the community is uncertain about the political fallout from this policy shift.


In conclusion, President Biden's decision to potentially pause weapon shipments to Israel if they invade Rafah has triggered a wave of criticism from pro-Israel donors and advocates.

These developments have raised significant questions about the future of U.S.-Israel relations and the political landscape ahead of Biden's re-election campaign.

The ongoing support through systems like Iron Dome continues, but the specific restrictions on offensive capabilities mark a notable shift in U.S. foreign policy.