Oct 22 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today led a press conference with a bipartisan Senate delegation in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Members of the bipartisan delegation include U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Katie Britt (R-Alabama), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Delaware), Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and John Thune (R-South Dakota).
Following is a transcript of Senator Graham’s opening remarks.
“Thank you all. Ten percent of the United States Senate is in Israel. Ten percent of the United States Senate is in Israel because we care. Five Republicans and five Democrats. If I had a bigger plane, we probably would have brought the entire Senate.
“To our friends in Israel, we stand with you without apology, unequivocal.
“I come here because I love Israel. I do not hate Palestinians. I hate Hamas. I know the difference.
“The goal going forward is to take from this horror and try to make this a better world. I saw things today that I didn’t think were possible in 2023. I’ve seen grown men who’ve been fighting wars all of their lives be stunned by what they saw. The level of barbaric behavior here is beyond my ability to explain it.
“What does Hamas mean in English? ISIS.
“I’ve seen a lot traveling the world with my friends and my late friend John McCain. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime.
“How does this end? Israel thrives, they survive. Hamas is destroyed. The Palestinian people have a better life. That’s how this has to end.
“So we’re here today to give Israel what they need to do the job of destroying the modern day version of Nazis, Hamas. We’re here today to tell Iran, we’re watching you. If this war grows, it’s coming to your backyard. There won’t be two fronts, there will be three.
“If there’s an effort to unleash Hezbollah on the Jewish State to destroy it, my attention will be to Tehran. If these innocent hostages get slaughtered, I hold you, Iran, accountable because you could stop it if you chose to.
“The idea that this happened without Iranian involvement is laughable. Ninety three percent of the [Hamas] budget over decades, their training, the equipment, all coming from the Ayatollah.
“I come here to let Israel know that America will be with you. I come here to let the Arab world know, let’s make peace if we can. Destroying Hamas is non-negotiable. How we do it? Let’s talk.
“What is winning? For the terrorist organization [Hamas] to be destroyed. For the people of Israel to have a sense of peace they’ve lost. For the Palestinian people to have hope they don’t have. And for the Arabs and the Israelis to end a conflict that would make the world better.
“Why now? You’ll never convince me that this is not about reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Iranians, through their proxy Hamas, unleashed holy hell on Israel to stop the march toward a better Mideast and a better world. My goal is for them to fail.“For Iran fail, Israel must destroy Hamas. For Iran to fail, the Palestinians must have a better life. For Iran to fail, the Mideast needs to come together, marching toward the light away from the darkness.”