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Russia-Ukraine war: Republican congressman says Israel needs to 'pick a side'

Adam Kinzinger said everyone must choose between good and evil, and 'Israel doesn’t have a special exemption'
Congressman Adam Kinzinger listens during a select committee meeting, on 19 October 2021 (AFP)

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has warned that Israel's position on Russia's invasion of Ukraine could have future implications on the aid it receives from the US.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, the Illinois representative who has served in Congress since 2011, wrote: "I deeply support our relationship with Israel. But supporting friends doesn't mean we look past differences. We have stood with Israel and will continue to do so."

"But at the moment there is a battle between Good and Evil, between a world based on raw power or one based on the post WW2 rules. Everyone must pick a side. The outcome of this fight will impact the world my son grows up in, and now is the time to call anyone to the carpet who does not do their utmost."

He continued to say that if the US doesn't directly want to attack Russia, then there is leverage in the world "uniting in sanctions and assistance for the people of Ukraine".

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"This includes everyone, and Israel doesn't have a special exemption. Hopefully they will do the right thing."

His comments came after an exchange on Sunday between Israeli lawmakers and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who had asked the Knesset why Israel was not imposing sanctions on Russia or providing aid to Ukraine.

Zelensky said: "You can mediate, but cannot mediate between good & evil. I could ask why we are not [receiving] protection from Israel. Why are we not getting your Iron Dome, that would protect the Jews of Ukraine? Why hasn't Israel joined the sanction régime against Russia?"

So far, Israel has tried to balance between supporting Ukraine and not irking Moscow, whose tacit approval it relies on to conduct air attacks against Iran and its proxies in Syria.

Zelensky has repeatedly asked Israel to supply Ukraine with weapons and military aid. He has also compared Russia's invasion of his country to the Nazi German army steamrolling across Europe.

Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks said in response to Kinzinger's comments: "No one is saying friends can't disagree, that's healthy in a relationship. What is absolutely unacceptable is your suggestion that we hold aid to Israel hostage to coerce our ally to bend to our will."

Earlier this month, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the most pro-Israel lawmakers in Washington, said he was "very disappointed" to hear of Israel declining to sell Stinger missiles to Ukraine following a direct plea from Zelensky.

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