Rep. Lawler returns from Israel; says it’s important to show support for country amid war with Hamas

The trip was sponsored by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and included an emotional visit with relatives of some of the more than 200 Israelis who are still being held hostage by Hamas. 

Lee Danuff and Tara Rosenblum

Nov 14, 2023, 10:44 PM

Updated 158 days ago

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Rep. Michael Lawler has returned from a three-day trip to the Mideast and shared his experiences exclusively with News 12's Tara Rosenblum. 
Lawler is a first-term Republican who represents Rockland and parts of Westchester counties. 
The trip was sponsored by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and included an emotional visit with relatives of some of the more than 200 Israelis who are still being held hostage by Hamas. 
"The United States must be resolute in our support for Israel. And I think it was important for a number of us on a bipartisan basis to be there and show that support," said Lawler. 
The group was invited for a private intelligence briefing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It came as Netanyahu was reportedly engaging in tense negotiations to free more hostages. 
"This is a man of great resolve, and he wants to defend his country. Frankly, it reminded me of George W. Bush after 9/11. Someone who wanted to defend his country and protect his citizens at all costs," said Lawler. "This is a battle of good versus evil, and those were the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is good versus evil, and good must prevail."
Lawler added that after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, "nobody would have been demanding the United States engage in a cease-fire. And we should not be holding Israel to a standard that we would not hold ourselves. And they have a right to defend themselves. They have a right to eliminate Hamas."
Not all members of Congress feel the same way. 
Progressive-leaning lawmakers that make up the squad, including Rep. Jamaal Bowman from Yonkers, have been highly critical of Israel's response to the terror attacks, but Lawler believes they are on the wrong side of history. 
"What people need to understand here, Hamas targeted innocent civilians. Israel is targeting terrorists. And there's a big difference. There is no moral equivalency here," says Rep. Lawler.


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