PRESS RELEASE: IHF Letter on Kamala Harris

In what is yet the harshest condemnation of the State of Israel by a member of the Biden administration, Vice President Kamala Harris has demanded an “immediate ceasefire” and insisted Israel “must open new border crossings and not impose any unnecessary restrictions on the delivery of aid” to residents of Gaza.

Speaking in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama this past Sunday, Harris blamed Israel for the “inhumane” conditions in Gaza. “The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses.” While the vice president did call for the release of the Israeli hostages by Hamas, she held Israel responsible for the “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.

In a condemnation of its own, Israel Heritage Foundation strongly denounces Harris’s remarks. They are not only false and misleading but dangerous for American Jews, who live in an environment of rising violent antisemitism, and equally dangerous for all Americans. 

Harris’s comments are shocking because Israel has been left with no choice after Israel was attacked by thousands of Hamas terrorists on October 7th that led to over 1,200 dead, many injured and over 200 hostages taken by Hamas. With Hamas vowing to kill more Jews given the opportunity, Israel must eradicate them and protect its citizens.

The vice president also omits any mention of Iran and its terror proxies, which continue to terrorize Israel and the entire Middle East region and are responsible for the death of American soldiers.

Hamas has refused to return the remaining over 100 hostages, and Israel is forced to attempt to militarily rescue them. The evidence is clear from the released hostages that the remaining hostages are being tortured, many raped, and all malnourished and without proper medical care. 

Harris’s call for a ceasefire has actually increased the chances of no ceasefire because it is Hamas that has rejected a ceasefire due to what they properly see as a weakening of U.S. support for Israel. Initially the U.S. supported Israel’s goal to wipe out Hamas, which remains strong in the city of Rafah. It is where the remaining hostages are likely being held and where Israel already militarily rescued two hostages. However, Vice President Harris appears to be signaling that the U.S. no longer supports the military elimination of Hamas, without which there can be no peace. 

Importantly, Hamas claims that 30 thousand Gazans have died since October 7th. Israel believes 12,000 of those are Hamas combatants. Another 8,000 Gazans included in the Hamas number can be attributed to those who usually die of natural causes during the same five-month period. Israel further believes around 2000 more Gazans were killed by Hamas, either by their own misfired missiles or by Hamas terrorists during their confiscation of 70% of all humanitarian aid. Accordingly, about 8,000 Gazans were killed inadvertently by Israel, which is an unparalleled low count of civilians killed in the history of urban military conflict.    

In her remarks, Vice President Harris made another specious claim against the IDF, which has been painstakingly meticulous about safeguarding Gazan civilians to their own detriment. She asserted that the dozens of Palestinians who were killed last week as they approached an aid truck in Gaza were “met with gunfire and chaos” by Israeli soldiers. In its initial review of the incident, Israel found that most of the victims were trampled by fellow Gazans in the stampede. Israeli Military Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that Israeli troops fired warning shots at looters, who approached their forces and “posed an immediate threat”.

Rabbi David Katz, Executive Director of Israel Heritage Foundation, condemned Vice President Harris for her words. “I give credit where credit is due and criticize where it’s warranted. I commended President Biden when he initially came out strongly in favor of Israel after October 7th. When he visited Israel for the first time as president back in 2022 and knelt down to speak with Holocaust survivors, I wrote him a letter praising him. But what Harris is doing now is a disgrace. Her deceitful words are misleading and giving the wrong message to the world.”

However, Rabbi Katz says that his faith gives him confidence. “Our sages teach us that ‘Sheker ein lo raglayim’, ‘Falsehood has no legs to stand on.’ The truth will always prevail. Harris’s words were untruthful and unfair, and it’s shameful that a vice president of the U.S. of America should be able to say what she said.”

Israel Heritage Foundation, a fierce advocate for the Jewish State and the Jewish people, demands an apology from Vice President Harris for vilifying Israel and deceiving the American public and the world about the real threat facing Israel from Hamas. It also demands an apology for using words that threaten the security of America’s greatest ally, the American Jewish community and American citizens, the vast majority of whom support Israel in its time of need.