President Joe Biden addressed the nation for the second time about the war between Israel and the Iranian-backed Palestinian terror organization on Tuesday, declaring “Israel has the right to respond — and, indeed, has a duty to respond” to Hamas attacks.
Flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden reacted to emerging news of the 1,000 Israelis killed, nearly 3,000 wounded, and over 100 kidnapped on Saturday.
“If the United States experienced what Israel has experienced, our response would be swift, decisive, and overwhelming.”
Biden recounted the Hamas atrocities against Israelis — especially women and children — and called these acts a “violation of every code of human morality.” He noted that Hamas’s “stated purpose of being is to kill Jews,” and that its methods recalled memories of attempts to carry out the “genocide of the Jewish people” in history.
The president indicated that his administration was working with state and local authorities to secure synagogue, Jewish institutions, and other potential targets against antisemitic attacks that might be linked to, or inspired by, Hamas terror.
He echoed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks Monday in comparing Hamas to ISIS — the so-called “Islamic State,” or “Daesh” — which shocked the world with its atrocities (and which was largely destroyed by President Donald Trump).
The president reiterated that the U.S. stands with Israel. He added that the U.S. would continue to arm Israel and replenish its munitions, including Iron Dome missiles.
He confirmed that there were Americans among the dead and being held by Hamas in Gaza, and noted that the U.S. had sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean. He said U.S. experts were consulting with Israeli hostage crisis teams.
Biden recalled meeting Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1973, just before the Yom Kippur War. He recalled that she revealed Israel’s secret weapon to him: “We have no place else to go.”
Biden warned other countries — without naming Iran specifically — not to exploit the situation to attack Israel.
And he concluded: “Let there be no doubt: the United States has Isarel’s back. We’ll make sure the Jewish and democratic state of Israel can defend itself — today, tomorrow, as we always have. It’s a simple as that.”
Later, at a White House press briefing, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that there were 14 Americans who had been killed, and 20 who were unaccounted for, though he added that the latter were not necessarily hostages taken by Hamas to Gaza. He said that number was still unknown, though there were some American hostages.
He said that President Biden had not yet been in touch with the families of those Americans killed or missing, but that they had been contacted by the government. He said Iran had supported the attack on Israel, but said that the U.S. did not have evidence yet that Iran knew of the recent attacks in advance, or that it had coordinated with Hamas in the attacks.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.