Sen. Rick Scott
October 22, 2023
The terror and devastation unleashed on Israelis by Iran-backed Hamas terrorists have rightly horrified the world.
Innocent families were murdered in their homes. Children were beheaded. Girls were raped. Whole families were burned alive. An elderly wheelchair-bound woman, later identified as a Holocaust survivor, was brutally dragged through the streets of Gaza. Children who witnessed the murders of their parents have been kidnapped and are being held hostage by Hamas.
More than 250 youths were mowed down at a music festival in Southern Israel. More than 1,400 are dead, including at least 30 Americans. The atrocities are too numerous to fully recount, but the images seen will never leave our memories.
Not since the Holocaust has the world witnessed such a brutal attack on the Jewish people.
Years ago, facing the evil of the Nazi regime, FDR and Winston Churchill rightly gave the Axis powers a choice: total unconditional surrender or complete destruction. These leaders understood the evil they were dealing with. Instead of seeing leadership like this take hold today, the naiveté and foolish pride of our current administration is getting Americans killed and taken hostage.
Coddling Iran won’t work
The Biden administration’s return to policies rooted in trying to pay off terror states like Iran and its proxies, trying to negotiate with them as though they respect diplomacy and the rules of the civilized world, has been an utter failure. It is endangering one of our closest allies, Israel, the lynchpin of security and peace for the Middle East. If the United States does not change course quickly and once again reject the failed appeasement of the Biden administration, more death and instability will follow.
The world saw what peace through strength looked like during the Trump administration. Under President Donald Trump, the United States defeated ISIS, moved the U.S. embassy to its rightful home in Jerusalem and held vicious Iranian murders, like Qasem Soleimani, accountable for the American lives they had taken.
During the Trump administration, we also secured our southern border, denying terror groups the ability to infiltrate American communities like they have for the last three years under President Joe Biden.
More than 150 individuals on the FBI terror watch list have been apprehended by the U.S. border patrol in the last year. Since Oct. 1, 2021, nearly 73,000 individuals from countries that have conditions that favor or harbor terrorism, or pose a potential national security to the U.S., have been caught between ports of entry, trying to sneak into our country.
Importantly, Trump also led historic moves toward peace. The Abraham Accords, negotiated by the Trump administration, brought Israel and its Arab neighbors together in peaceful agreements that made these nations and the Middle East safer, more stable and more prosperous — all things that benefit the security of the United States and our allies.
A poor comparison
Unfortunately, things are now in a very different place. From the beginning of his administration, Biden has snubbed Israel and our enemies have noticed.
For months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected, Biden denied him a meeting at the White House. Biden campaigned on returning to the failed Iran nuclear deal, a horrific policy that Israel absolutely opposes and has warned will only fuel Iran’s support of terrorism.
Biden’s botched withdraw from Afghanistan gave America’s enemies and the terror groups they support a new foothold in the Middle East. America left billions of dollars in weapons and military equipment behind, some of which is now reportedly being used against Israelis by Hamas. Hamas, Hezbollah and variations of ISIS have grown stronger since America was humiliated and run out of Afghanistan by the Taliban.
These failures have emboldened Iran, which is not a normal nation. It is a mullah-ruled radical theocracy and crime syndicate that plagues not only the region but the entire world. Small wonder that Iran’s only friends are the other enemies of the United States — Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela — who have been cooperating for years to support each other with money, weapons, technology and political support, and to harm, isolate and weaken America.
Like these other evil states, the Iranian regime cannot fulfill its ambitions as long as the U.S. is strong. That is why it constantly works to make America feel isolated, weakened, frightened and neutered in the region and in the world.
Time for a change
But the logical question is, how do they get away with it? The answer: We let them do it. The key to understanding the U.S. and the Western failure is the actions of President Barack Obama, which are being continued by the Biden administration.
The Obama-Biden policy is rooted in the false belief that if the West will keep U.N. funds flowing to Gaza, that if we free up $6 billion in sanctioned Iranian funds and allow Iran billions in wealth due to unenforced sanctions on Iranian oil sales, all will be well. They believe that if the U.S., Europeans and others will give the mullahs enough relief with money and diplomacy, the regime will stop chanting, “Death to America! Death to the Zionist occupier!”
If this sounds fantastical and foolish, you are right. This must change now.
That’s why I have absolutely opposed Biden’s Iranian appeasement policies and attempts to renew the failed Iran nuclear deal. Last week, I led a group of 10 U.S. senators in urging Biden to convene the G7 and take coordinated action to further isolate Iran with severe sanctions and action that will strike directly at the wealth that its support of terrorism brings to the ayatollah and the Iranian mullahs.
The U.S. and our allies must punish the evil Iranian regime, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and must deny its ability to continue supporting the brutality witnessed in Israel from ever occurring again.
Israel has paid the price for U.S. and Western errors of judgment and wishful thinking, but they have had enough. It is time for the U.S. and the West to say enough, too.
In the days and weeks ahead, Israel is going to once and for all destroy Hamas and its ability to exist as a terror state on Israel’s borders, and it is likely going to extract a heavy price from Iran for this carnage and war that is every bit the doing of Iran.
Iran is the source of the evil. Everyone knows that is true. Until it and its proxies are reduced to impotence, war and violence against the U.S., Israel, Jews, the region’s states and Europe will continue.
The West, in particular members of the G7, have a choice: Accept reality and end the threats, or continue the fantasy of payoffs and negotiations to murderous thugs. I fervently pray that we choose the former and unite to end this evil, once and for all.
Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida is seeking re-election in 2024.