Kamala Harris vows support for Israel and protection against Iran

Bart Jansen

WASHINGTON – Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, told a virtual fundraiser Wednesday that Joe Biden’s administration would offer unwavering support for Israel and would never let Iran obtain a nuclear weapon.

“Joe has made it clear he will not tie security assistance to any political decisions that Israel makes and I couldn't agree more,” Harris said.

"I pledge to you the Biden-Harris administration will sustain our unbreakable commitment to Israel's security, including the unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation pioneered during the Obama-Biden administration and the guarantee that Israel will always maintain its qualitative military edge."

Biden as vice president was a key advocate for Israel’s security, with support for technologies such as Iron Dome and a memo for $38 billion over a decade in defense assistance signed in 2016, which Harris called “the largest military aid package in U.S. history.”

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Harris was also asked, in the aftermath of President Donald Trump withdrawing from a contentious nuclear agreement with Iran, how the Biden administration would protect Israel from Iran.

"Let me be clear, we will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Period,” Harris said. “We will continue to ensure that Israel has the unbreakable support of the United States.”

The Obama administration’s nuclear deal sought to hinder Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. But the deal was heavily criticized, with skeptics saying it was unenforceable, and Trump withdrew from it. Harris said Iran “is revving up its nuclear activity and becoming more provocative.”

"I serve on the Intelligence committee and I believe that we are more isolated than ever from our allies and that we need help for us to meet this challenge,” the California senator said.

“The Trump administration took the issue of arms embargo against Iran to the (U.N.) Security Council recently and only one other country voted with us. I think it's fair to say this ‘America first’ approach has been America alone, which is not in our best interest or in the interest of our allies.”

Both parties court support from Jewish Americans. Trump has promoted his support for Israel by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and unveiling a Middle East peace plan in January that wouldn’t require uprooting settlements in the West Bank. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech Tuesday to the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem.