WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today led a group of Senate Republicans in a press conference in support of Israel.
On Congress’ unwavering support for Israel:
“We’re going to aid Israel. We’re all in with Israel. You heard what was said in this room about what these terrorists did to these people. They have a right to defend themselves. They are our friends, they’re our allies – one of the closest allies we have. We are going to stick with them – hardcore, period, full stop.”
On the threat of Hamas:
“Hamas is merely an arm of the Iranian regime. Iran pulled the trigger on October 7, and there are other Iranian proxies in the region that have long sought to pursue the type of attack and carnage that we saw that day. These people hate Israel and the Jewish people, but they also hate the United States of America and the American people.”
“You can’t mediate with terror organizations – you have to go to the source and eliminate it, which I know the Israelis are working to do.”
On the administration’s hesitation to blame Iran for the attacks:
“I would say that the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming that Iran did this… What the administration has said is they have no information to corroborate that. What the administration ought to be saying is, we have no evidence to contradict what these people are saying.”
“I think the administration is tippy toeing here to avoid a direct confrontation with Iran. We do not want a confrontation with Iran. I suspect they do not want a confrontation with us. It’s important we get down the road and see that that doesn’t happen and we don’t have more spread in the region.”
On the importance of the Abraham Accords:
“The Abraham Accords have been a tremendous success. I think they’re going to continue to be a tremendous success… If there is, and I think there will be eventually, normality between Israel and Saudi Arabia, this is going to put Iran on an island and they can’t stand that.”
On Jack Lew’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Israel:
“The purpose right now is to support Israel, and I believe that the right vote in supporting Israel is not to have Jack Lew going in there as the ambassador. I suspect he’s going to get confirmed on a party-line vote… If that happens, of course we’ll work with Jack Lew.”
“Look, there’s a lot of people that can do this job. Advice and consent of the Senate – my advice is I’d like to see somebody else there. When it comes to consent, we’ll see how it turns out.”
A full video of the press conference can be found here.