US Rep. Jasmine Crockett says Biden has always been critical of Israel’s Netanyahu following intense talk

Crockett says Netanyahu “is continuing down a path … that has led to immense devastation"

U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett defended the White House efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza on Friday telling theGrio that President Joe Biden had long taken a tough stance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden has “always been strict and strong in his words behind closed doors,” the freshman Democrat from Texas said, adding that the president is being even more critical of Netanyahu because he is “continuing down a path … that has led to immense devastation.”

The devastation has affected Palestinians and aid workers, she said.

The comments come one day after Biden warned Netanyahu in a roughly 30-minute phone call that there will be policy changes if Israel fails to address “civilian harm” and “humanitarian suffering” caused by Israel in its conflict with Hamas.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas,
Rep.-elect Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, speaks during a news conference with newly elected incoming members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus at the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, November 13, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Ahmed Benchemsi, advocacy and communications director for the Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, is concerned that Biden’s stern talk with Netanyahu could be too little, too late.

“It’s about time that the U.S. change its tone with Israel,” Benchemsi told theGrio, though he questioned whether it is “enough” to provoke Israel to change its approach in Gaza.

In the call with Netanyahu, Biden said that “strikes on humanitarian workers” and the “humanitarian situation” are unacceptable, according to the White House.

“He made clear the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers,” the White House said in a statement.

The president’s remarks and demand for an immediate ceasefire came days after an Israeli airstrike killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen.  

President Joe Biden,
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel in the State Dining Room of the White House October 10, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Words are not enough,” U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif. told theGrio. “The killing of seven World Central Kitchen workers who were delivering food to starving people in Gaza is devastating.”

Recommended Stories

Khanna called on Biden to take it a step further and stop the distribution of “any offensive weapons to Netanyahu and the right-wing government of Israel until there is a permanent ceasefire and a release of all hostages.”

Human Rights Watch “has been calling on the U.S. to stop selling weapons to Israel for months because those weapons are used to commit grave violations of war,” Benchemsi said. “We are calling for Israel to respect international law. Stop starving 2 million people. This is a war crime of Biblical proportions.”

Pres. Joe Biden and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) sits with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a dinner at the Prime Minister’s residence March 9, 2010 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Baz Ratner-Pool/Getty Images)

Since a Oct. 7 deadly attack by Hamas militants on Israel and abduction of hundreds of Israelis, more than 31,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s response and more than 72,000 others have sustained injuries, according to the United Nations as of mid-March. Many in the region are also suffering from starvation. The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner published an article in which experts say that Israel has “intentionally” starved residents in Gaza since the conflict began.

“The U.S. needs to take action” to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people,” Khanna said.

Never miss a beat: Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.