Torres blasts Netanyahu after Israeli leader accuses US of delaying weapons shipments

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday after the prime minister went after President Biden in a video message, accusing him of withholding arms from his country amidst the Israel-Hamas war.

Netanyahu’s message claims that Biden has repeatedly withheld weapons from Israel, accusing the president of propping up Hamas and Iran. The White House has strongly pushed back, pointing to its record of consistently backing the country in the conflict.

“If you are looking to undermine the bipartisanship of the US-Israel relationship, then release a public video attacking the Biden Administration, which, despite hysterical opposition from the far left, has held firm in support of Israel for eight months and counting,” Torres said in a post on X. 

Torres is an ardent supporter of Israel. He left the Congressional Progressive Caucus in February over an internal dispute about Israel policy.

“Disagreements should be had in private,” he continued. “Hamas is emboldened by even the appearance of a ruptured relationship.”

When asked about Netanyahu’s comments, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, “We genuinely do not know what he’s talking about. We just don’t.”

A White House official told The Hill that a meeting with Israeli officials had been “held” this week in the wake of the comments.

The back-and-forth marks the latest instance of tensions between the Biden administration and Netanyahu spilling into the public as Israel carries out its war against Hamas.

Democrats, including Biden, have grown frustrated with the war in Gaza, where more than 37,000 people have died as Israel fights to destroy Hamas, the militant group that invaded southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking another 250 hostage.

The White House has for months urged Israel to do more to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians and humanitarian workers in Gaza, and polling has shown growing frustration over Biden’s handling of the conflict.

Biden warned last month he would stop supplying Israel with offensive weapons such as bombs and artillery shells if it launched a long-promised invasion of Rafah. But the White House has maintained Israel has not crossed a red-line, even after an Israeli strike killed dozens of Palestinians in the southern Gaza city.

Netanyahu’s comments come as he is scheduled to address congress on July 24. A growing number of Democrats, including both progressives and more mainstream members, have signaled that they will boycott or otherwise protest the visit.

Brett Samuels contributed.

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