Lindsey Graham Equates Dropping Nukes on Japan With What Israel Should Do in Gaza: ‘Do Whatever You Have to Do to Survive’ | Video

Along with his World War II analogy, the senator adds that pausing aid shipments to the country is “the worst decision in the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship”

In an interview some online observers compared to throwing a tantrum, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Meet the Press” anchor Kristen Welker that in its conflict with terrorist group Hamas, Israel should take a page out of the United States’ World War II-era book when it used nuclear bombs against Japan. Graham said, “To Israel: Do whatever you have to do to survive as a Jewish state. Whatever you have to do.”

Graham brought up nuclear bombs earlier in the conversation. In response to Welker’s question about why Israel needs “the most massive bombs” in its arsenal, Graham said, “Listen, you know, here’s what I would say about fighting an enemy who wants to kill you and your family. Why did we drop two bombs — nuclear bombs — on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? To end a war that we couldn’t afford to lose.”

“You don’t understand, apparently, what Israel is facing,” he added. “They’re facing three groups. Iran, who has received $80 billion in aid … they’re taking that money to kill all the Jews. So when we were faced with destruction as a nation after Pearl Harbor, fighting the Germans and the Japanese, we decided to end the war by bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear weapsons.”

“That was the right decision,” Graham continued. “Give Israel the bombs they need to end the war they can’t afford to lose and work with them to minimize casualties.”

Welker countered Graham’s assertion and pointed out that “military officials would argue that there has been so much technology since those bombs were dropped, that for that very reason, that is why Israel and other developed countries can be more precise.”

Welker added that President Ronald Reagan withheld weapons shipments to Israel when he wanted to impact its military decisions. “Did President Reagan show that using U.S. military aid as leverage can actually be an effective way to rein in and impact Israel’s policy?” Welker asked.

Graham sidestepped the Reagan question and addressed President Joe Biden’s decision to halt some shipments of American military equipment to Israel instead. “When you’re telling the world you’re going to restrict weapons delivery to the Jewish state, who is fighting a three-front war for their survival, it emboldens Iran, it emboldens Hamas.”

“[Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar is probably juiced up on the idea that there’s daylight between the United States and Israel,” Graham continued. “The hostage deal is harder. This is the worst decision in the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship, to deny weapons at at time when the Jewish state could be destroyed.”

“So here’s what I would say,” Graham added. “There is some hope we can get over this. Non-negotiable [is] the destruction of Hamas. Nobody in Israel will allow Hamas to be standing militarily or politically when this is over.”

“How we get there is subject to negotiation. My problem is not with the weapons that Israel is using — my problem is with the tactics Hamas is using,” he said.

Welker again attempted to get her question about Reagan answered and asked, “Why is it OK for Reagan to do it and not President Biden?”

A flustered Graham replied, “Well, can I say this? Why is it OK for America to drop two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end their existential threat war? Why was it OK for us to do that? I thought it was OK. To Israel: Do whatever you have to do to survive as a Jewish state. Whatever you have to do.”

Welker is correct that Biden is not the first U.S. president to withhold aid or military equipment to Israel during the latter’s military engagements and wars. Reagan ordered a stoppage in 1982 after Israel attacked Palestinian fighters in Lebanon, a move he deployed more than once throughout the war.

Ten years later, President George H.W. Bush delayed a $10 billion loan to Israel after the country pressed forward with plans to build settlements in the West Bank. The difference between the 1982 and 1992 events and Biden’s decision in 2024 is that the war between Israel and Hamas is nearly impossible to avoid now, while conversations about U.S. involvement in the conflict are front and center.

Last week, the Biden administration told Israel it had paused a shipment of 3,500 bombs out of concern the country would use the bombs in its ground assault on Rafah. The city, which housed millions of refugees from northern Gaza as well as its own citizens, has been considered the last relatively safe space in Gaza since Israel began its ground invasion.

Watch the interview with Lindsey Graham in the video above.

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