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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Senator, 2024 Presidential Candidate Tim Scott Discusses Israel-Hamas War on Campus

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Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) criticized President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war while speaking to campus community members on campus, calling for more aid and increased weapons to Israel. 

Scott discussed national security and foreign policy issues, including potential U.S. responses to the Israel-Hamas war. Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) and The Associated Press (AP) hosted the Oct. 16 event as part of their 2024 GOP Presidential Candidate Series. This is the second installment in the series, following an Oct. 3 visit from former vice president Mike Pence. 

Hamas launched attacks in southern Israel outside the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7. Over 4,200 people have been killed since the attacks were launched, according to the United Nations. 

Israel has cut off supplies of water, food and electricity to Gaza, endangering Gazans and disabling hospitals. Israel has also urged Palestinians to evacuate northern Gaza, though it has bombed routes to the south and areas near the Rafah Crossing to Egypt. With supplies running low, Gaza has experienced heavy bombardment, with Israeli forces saying they have dropped about 6,000 bombs.

Meg Kinnard, a national politics reporter for AP, moderated the conversation. Scott called for ongoing U.S. support of Israel. 

Scott said that if he were elected president, he would support moving a Navy fleet into the Mediterranean Sea, putting more firepower in the vicinity of Israel and providing additional funds to the country in light of the current conflict. A U.S. carrier group has been operating in the eastern Mediterranean Sea since May, and a second one departed a naval station in Norfolk, Va., last Saturday.

Scott said he plans to introduce bills to increase the amount of aid to Israel, which has typically numbered around $3.5 billion per year. Scott added that Biden’s weaknesses in condemning terrorism helped attract conflict in the region. 

“I’m apoplectic about this administration’s reaction to the war,” Scott said. “That is the worst decision you make when you’ve seen the kind of devastation and death around the nation of Israel. President Biden’s weakness invites attacks,” Scott said.

Georgetown University | Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) talked about national security and foreign policy issues, including the Israel-Hamas war, in a moderated discussion at Georgetown University.

In response to concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, former President Donald Trump’s comments calling Israel weak and tensions in the United States, Scott defended Israel and condemned hatred, including antisemitism.

Scott said Biden mishandled Hamas’ terrorist attacks by telling Israel not to respond. Kinnard later said that Biden had condemned the attacks.

Responding to the concerns about Israel’s bombing of Gaza, which has killed over 2,700 Palestinians and damaged numerous buildings, including 90 educational facilities and 18 places of worship, Scott said Israel had the right to enact this response and ensure Hamas could not commit more terrorist attacks.

Scott said Israel was acting humanely in response to Hamas and blamed Hamas for violating rules of war and targeting the elderly, children and democracy as a whole. Scott additionally praised Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, who promised that the counteroffensive was just the beginning of the war.

Kinnard moved on to what other Republican candidates were saying about the conflict in Israel and spoke about criticism of Netanyahu by Trump, who also said that Israel needed to step up their game and that Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group and political party backed by Iran, was smart.

Scott said Trump’s comments did not help the situation. 

 “The one thing we cannot have with our allies is a mixed bag,” Scott said. “We should be loyal to our allies while being lethal to adversaries. Anything less than that jeopardizes life.”

Kinnard’s last question for Scott discussed violence stemming from the conflict in the United States, where she asked about an Illinois man stabbing a Muslim child to death.

Scott said he condemns all forms of hatred and spoke of his experience of growing up in the South and seeing race riots.

“Murder is murder,” Scott said. “We should never, never find it okay for someone to kill someone because they hate them. That is only crime, that is immoral, it is unethical and it cannot be celebrated for any reason in our country. 

“I can’t imagine that level of hatred and I’m a guy who comes from the Deep South. I understand racism and discrimination. I am thankful that our country has made tremendous progress in my lifetime,” Scott added. 

When Kinnard asked about Scott’s approach to addressing hatred, Scott focused on the increase in antisemitism. Scott said the Department of Justice should have a larger role tracking down antisemitic threats and prosecuting hate crimes, though he said Biden must lead the way.

“We need to have a president who leans into the debate and leads by example and calls out all forms of hate,” Scott said. “You should empower the Department of Justice to be a system where the lady justice still wears a blindfold. Part of the challenge that we feel today is that too many people in our country feel like lady justice has lost her blindfold.”

Please see here for resources helping to send aid during the Hamas-Israel conflict.

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