Senior Republican Close to Trump Criticizes Biden's Arms Holdup in Speech to Israeli Parliament

US President Joe Biden looks on as he speaks to the media, before departing the White House for Florida, in Washington, US, January 30, 2024. (Reuters)
US President Joe Biden looks on as he speaks to the media, before departing the White House for Florida, in Washington, US, January 30, 2024. (Reuters)
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Senior Republican Close to Trump Criticizes Biden's Arms Holdup in Speech to Israeli Parliament

US President Joe Biden looks on as he speaks to the media, before departing the White House for Florida, in Washington, US, January 30, 2024. (Reuters)
US President Joe Biden looks on as he speaks to the media, before departing the White House for Florida, in Washington, US, January 30, 2024. (Reuters)

Elise Stefanik, a House Republican leader seen as a candidate to be Donald Trump's running mate, delivered a speech before Israel's parliament on Sunday in which she criticized President Joe Biden's approach to the war in Gaza.

Stefanik, the fourth highest-ranked Republican in the House of Representatives, is the latest of several US politicians from both sides of the aisle to visit Israel since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack ignited the war in Gaza. But it's rare for such visitors to address Israel's parliament, known as the Knesset.

Speaking at a session dedicated to combatting antisemitism worldwide, Stefanik vowed to help with “crushing antisemitism at home and providing Israel what it needs when it needs it, without conditions.”

She was referring to Biden's decision to hold up the delivery of some 3,500 bombs of up to 2,000 pounds each, and his refusal to provide offensive weapons for a long-promised Israeli invasion of the southern city of Rafah. The administration fears such an operation would plunge Gaza into an even more severe humanitarian catastrophe.

“There is no excuse for an American president to block aid to Israel that was duly passed by the Congress, and there was no excuse to ease sanctions on Iran,” she said, The AP reported.

Stefanik, a representative from upstate New York and a strong supporter of Trump, is believed to be on the short list of his possible running mates.

In December, she grilled university presidents at a five-hour congressional hearing about antisemitism on campus. Two of the university presidents, from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, resigned soon after.

“Total victory is not just physical self-defense, but ideological self-defense,” Stefanik said during the session, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's frequent claim that Israel must achieve “total victory” in the war against Hamas.



UK’s Nigel Farage Says the West Provoked Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

 Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)
Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)
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UK’s Nigel Farage Says the West Provoked Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

 Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)
Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)

Nigel Farage, the leader of Britain's right-wing Reform UK party, said the eastward of expansion of the European Union and NATO had provoked Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The remarks, made in an interview with the BBC aired late on Friday, drew strong criticism across the British political spectrum ahead of a July 4 election in which Farage's party is predicted to win millions of votes.

Farage said he stood by comments made shortly after Moscow's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, when he posted on social media that the move was a "consequence of EU and NATO expansion". He said he had been predicting a war in Ukraine as early as 2014.

"It was obvious to me that the ever-eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union was giving this man a reason to his Russian people to say, 'They're coming for us again' and to go to war," Farage said in Friday's BBC interview.

"We provoked this war ... of course it's his (Putin's) fault - he's used what we've done as an excuse."

Russia casts its special military operation in Ukraine as part of a broader struggle with the West, which it says wants to bring Russia to its knees. Kyiv and the West reject this and accuse Russia of waging an illegal war of conquest.

Farage's decades of campaigning against Britain's membership of the EU and mass immigration has made him one of the country's most recognizable and divisive politicians.

His surprise entry into the election race has further hit Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's hopes of closing the center-left Labour Party's opinion poll lead.

Even though Reform is unlikely to win many seats in parliament, it could split the right-of-center vote across the country. The party held only one seat in the last parliament, which it gained when a Conservative lawmaker defected.

Farage's remarks on Ukraine drew immediate condemnation.

Sunak said Farage was "completely wrong", accusing him of appeasement that put Britain and its allies' security at risk. Labour's defense spokesman John Healey called Farage's comments disgraceful and labelled him a "Putin apologist".

Farage later posted on X: "Putin was wrong to invade a sovereign nation, and the EU was wrong to expand eastward. The sooner we realize this, the closer we will be to ending the war and delivering peace."