Surprise Move: Fetterman Breaks Ranks; Defends Israel, Calls for Hamas Surrender

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In a marked divergence from his party’s line, Democratic Senator John Fetterman vocally supported Israel during an appearance on Fox News’s “Special Report” last Friday. He expressed frustration over his party’s decision not to engage in a virtual meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, highlighting a rare bipartisan outreach Netanyahu had extended to Republicans and Democrats, which the latter declined by the Democrats.

The Guardian reported that McConnell shared that Netanyahu’s request to speak with Republican senators had been accepted. However, a similar request made to Senate Democrats was turned down by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

But hold onto your seats because Fetterman wasn’t just disappointed; he was downright heartbroken. He confessed to Fox News his desperate attempts to eavesdrop on Netanyahu’s Republican rendezvous, stating that he even asked the Republican’s back channels if he could attend. “Hey, can I just sit there? And I don’t even have to [ask] any questions.”

He went on to criticize the lack of emphasis on Hamas’s actions in the ongoing conflict. He questioned why there wasn’t a stronger push for Hamas to surrender, which he believed would significantly reduce the suffering and destruction currently being experienced. He added that he had “always been incredibly surprised why we’re not talking” about that.

Fetterman correctly stated, “If not for the horrific attacks by Hamas terrorists, thousands of innocent Israelis and Palestinians would still be alive today.”

“If you really want to end all the — just the misery and the death and the destruction — if they would just surrender, it would end tomorrow. Release everybody, and send them home. And that’s been very frustrating,” he added.

Fetterman also addressed the casualty figures in the Israel-Hamas conflict, disputing claims of disproportionate harm to Palestinians by pointing out that a significant number of the reported casualties were Hamas combatants. Israel’s indiscriminate violence and genocide accusations are undermined by this fact, he asserted, because Hamas is the party targeting civilians.

Moreover, Fetterman voiced his disagreement with Vice President Kamala Harris regarding her refusal to rule out potential “consequences” for Israel in the event of an invasion of Rafah.

Fetterman has consistently sided with Israel since the brutal attack by Hamas on October 7. Despite calls for a ceasefire to ensure aid and safety for Palestinians amidst heavy Israeli bombardment, the Pennsylvania Democrat has stood firm in his support for Israel while condemning Hamas.

In contrast, Harris suggested that the administration might consider imposing consequences on Israel if it were to enter Rafah, where the majority of Gazan Palestinians have sought refuge. During an interview aired on This Week Sunday, Harris emphasized the lack of alternatives for those in Rafah should the Israel Defense Forces advance, stating that she would “rule out nothing” in terms of potential consequences.

“Hard disagree,” Fetterman posted on X, accompanied by a screenshot of Harris’s interview. Where he shared his thoughts that Israel has the right to take action against Hamas, either to compel their surrender or to eliminate them. He also added that Hamas bears responsibility for every innocent life lost due to their cowardly tactics of hiding behind Palestinian civilians.”

Despite fears from some quarters that Fetterman would align with the more progressive elements of his party, his stance on Israel has shown him to be more centrist. This position, however, has not been without consequence within his party, drawing criticism from left-leaning commentators and media outlets.

The Guardian and Jacobin magazine have been particularly vocal, accusing him of betraying Palestinian rights and justifying Israeli actions in Gaza. Additionally, Fetterman’s pro-Israel stance led to a significant political repercussion when a prominent Democrat-aligned political action committee withdrew its support, accusing him of betraying Democratic values.

Yet, this stance has garnered him an unexpected commendation from Republican circles and pro-Israel groups. Notably, Donald Trump Jr. and the Zionist Organization of America have publicly praised Fetterman, with the latter even considering honoring him for his support of Israel.