ZOA Strongly Condemns Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)’s False/Israel-Hating Allegations on Israel
News Press Release
February 13, 2024

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly condemns the false, Israel-hating remarks made on the Senate floor Monday by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Citing UN sources, which have historically been biased against Israel, the Senator said children in Gaza were “now dying from the deliberate withholding of food,” and blamed Israel. This is actually a blood libel, since the distribution of food is being prevented by the terrorists of Hamas, not by Israel, and it is wholly inaccurate to say that Israel is guilty of a “textbook war crime.” The Israeli government responded immediately, saying the Israel-bashing charges were “in conflict with the dry facts.”

Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said Israel has been “exceeding” its obligations to provide aid, that Hamas has been “hijacking” aid, and that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been covering up for that theft.

Unfortunately, Sen. Van Hollen has been consistently hostile to Israel even before the Hamas atrocities on October 7th. He called for sanctions against Israel in March 2023, as punishment for statements made by government ministers he did not agree with. Since the monstrous murders and rapes of Israeli civilians, Sen. Van Hollen has morphed from seeming support to Israel to harsh criticism of the extremely reasonable tactics employed by the IDF. In October, he said, correctly, that:

“Israel has not only a right but also a responsibility to defend itself and to end Hamas’ operational control in Gaza. Following the horrific Hamas terrorist attack and ongoing violence, we stand by our partner and ally Israel in support of this right, as it prosecutes its fight against Hamas and their indiscriminate attacks that have harmed both Israelis and Palestinians. This bipartisan push underscores our steadfast support for the people of Israel as we continue working to provide tangible support to their defense.”

But now, based on information provided by the UN, he blames all deaths in Gaza on Israel and is pressuring the Biden administration to cut off American assistance to Israel. His completely bogus claim that Israel has prevented the delivery of American assistance to Gaza is not, unfortunately, an honest mistake. It is a fabrication purposefully invented by the UN to slander Israel, and Sen. Van Hollen is embracing this lie in a speech that flirts with actual antisemitism. It’s antisemitism in deed if not in intent. The Biden administration has made it clear that Hamas is responsible for civilian deaths in Gaza, but Sen. Van Hollen believes it is Israel, despite the refusal of the terrorists to surrender or release their hostages.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said:

“This is a blood libel of Israel reminiscent of the European charges that Jews poisoned the wells and brought about the Black Death. In the middle of a war for her existence, Israel is allowing hundreds of trucks per day to enter Gaza with aid that everyone can see is being stolen for the use of terrorist combatants, but still a United States Senator declares that the starvation which results is the fault of the Jewish State. He is wrong on the facts, and ZOA feels obligated to remind him that his October statement was correct — Hamas’s operational control of Gaza must be ended. The cease fires that Sen. Van Hollen has advocated for would make that outcome impossible, and so would the ending of American aid to our closest ally under a flimsy excuse manufactured by antisemites at the UN. We must also never forget that these are not entirely innocent civilians. Polls have shown that between 75%-95% of Gaza Arabs support Hamas and the October 7th barbaric massacre, rape, torture and mutilation of 1200 innocent Jews.”

ZOA Director of Government Relations Dan Pollak said:

“Sen. Van Hollen has always said he is a strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish People. Unfortunately, it appears that support is not evident when our Israeli ally needs American help the most. Looking back, his opposition to robust sanctions on Iran and promoting the disastrous Iran deal has brought Iran within weeks of developing a military nuclear capability. Iran’s proxies are threatening Americans throughout the region, and Sen. Van Hollen has the appalling lack of judgement to threaten our ally with an end to vitally needed ammunition unless Israel jumps through hoops defined by the UN. The reality is that Israel is doing everything possible to facilitate international aid delivery, and still gets the blame for the failure of Hamas itself and the UN system to effectively distribute that aid. If the children of Gaza are really at risk, the obvious path is for the UN, Qatar, and President Biden to pressure Hamas to release the hostages and give up control of Gaza.”

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