GOP Senator Slams Biden Ambassador to Israel Pick as Iran Sympathizer
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) railed against Jacob Lew, Joe Biden’s nominee for the United States’ ambassador to Israel, calling Lew an “Iran sympathizer.”
When Cotton was recently asked, given the current situation in Israel, should the Senate expedite Lew’s nomination, his reply was an unabashed no.
“Absolutely not. Jack Lew is an Iran sympathizer who has no business being our ambassador. It’s bad for the United States. It’s bad for Israel to have an Iran sympathizer as our ambassador to that country. He helped Iran evade American sanctions, and he lied to Congress about it. He defended the Obama administration’s refusal to use our veto … in the final days of the Obama administration to protect Israel from anti-Semitic resolutions,” Cotton said.
“I know Democrats are saying that we need to confirm Jack Lew quickly to show our support for Israel. I would say it’s the exact opposite. We need to defeat Jack Lew’s nomination to show that we have a new approach to Iran,” he added.
Lew testified about Iran in the wake of a nuclear deal with the US before Congress in 2015. The following year, the Obama administration chose not to back the veto of a resolution before the UN that dealt with settlements.
In the wake of Israel’s deadly conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, several Democrats have expressed concerns over the US’s lack of an ambassador to Israel and have pushed for a quick confirmation of Lew, who was nominated by President Biden last month.
Lew, who served as secretary of the Treasury Department under former President Obama, came under fire in 2016 over the Obama administration’s $400 million cash payment to Iran. Obama announced the payment in January 2016 as the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement over a disagreement related to an arms deal with Iran signed before the 1979 Iranian Revolution and subsequent fall of the shah.
The Wall Street Journal at the time reported the payment was made in Swiss francs and other currencies, with the cash put onto pallets on an unmarked cargo plane and flown to Iran.
Fighting in Israel and Gaza has claimed more than 3,600 lives — mostly civilians — from both sides, with thousands more injured since Hamas’s multipronged surprise attack on Oct. 7. The State Department on Saturday raised confirmed American casualties to 27.