U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution blocking a $735 million weapons sale to Israel on Thursday, mirroring a symbolic action by the House of Representatives in response to conflict between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas leaders.
“At a moment when U.S.-made bombs are devastating Gaza, and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a congressional debate,” said Sanders, an independent who votes with Democrats.
Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration approved the potential sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel this year, and sent it to Congress for formal review.
Sanders, a former candidate for Democratic presidential nomination, said Americans need to take a “hard look” at whether the weapons sales fuel conflict between Israel and Palestinians.
His resolution follows a measure introduced by U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Pocan and Rashida Tlaib, which has at least six other co-sponsors, including some of the most left-leaning Democrats in the House.
The measures were unlikely to pass in either the House or Senate, where bipartisan support for arms sales for Israel has traditionally been strong.
On Wednesday, Sanders was caught in a sharp debate with Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who sponsored a competing resolution to condemn Hamas and express support for Israel. Despite endorsement from 29 other Republicans, Democrats defeated it.
“Today is a sad day for the United States Senate, and one we will not forget,” Scott said, accusing Democrats of “abandoning” Israel in favor of Hamas, which sent thousands of rockets into Israel earlier this month. “We should stop cowering to the radical anti-Israel left,” he said, according to Politico.