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Mon, May

'Madness Is Taking Over the West': US Senator Suggests Israel Nuke Gaza

VOICES

GUEST WORDS - Anti-war voices on Monday fiercely condemned U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's suggestion that Israel would be within its rights to drop nuclear weapons on the Gaza Strip, seven months into an assault that has killed at least 35,091 Palestinians and injured another 78,827.

"Why did we drop two bombs—nuclear bombs—on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? To end a war that we couldn't afford to lose. You don't understand apparently what Israel is facing," Graham (R-S.C.) toldNBC News' Kristen Welker on "Meet the Press" Sunday.

"So when we were faced with destruction as a nation after Pearl Harbor, fighting the Germans and the Japanese, we decided to end the war by bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear weapons. That was the right decision," Graham said of World War II. "Give Israel the bombs they need to end the war they can't afford to lose and work with them to minimize casualties."

As the pair discussed U.S. President Joe Biden's effort to use arms shipments to try to push Israel to more precisely target Hamas, Graham added: "Why is it okay for America to drop two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end their existential threat war? Why was it okay for us to do that? I thought it was okay. To Israel, do whatever you have to do to survive as a Jewish state."

Responding on social media Monday, Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis declared that "madness is taking over the West."

CodePink pointed to the pro-Palestine protests at U.S. colleges and universities and said that "it is despicable that a sitting senator can go on live TV to support nuclear bombing Gaza, but students protesting a genocide are made out to be a threat."

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on Monday called out Graham's comments as "utterly unacceptable."

ICAN warned that "any use of nuclear weapons wouldn't 'end' a war; it would solely lead to mass murder, immense sufferings for hundreds of thousands of people that would last for decades and beyond generations, and cause devastating harm to the environment."

"A nuclear attack on Gaza would be catastrophic with unimaginable consequences, including for Israelis given how radioactive fallout is no respecter of borders," the group emphasized. "Statements like that by Lindsey Graham justifying these weapons plus suggesting they're used shouldn't be normalized."

"Nuclear weapons are illegal under international law, civilians and civilian infrastructure must never be targeted in warfare. This is a fundamental principle of international humanitarian law," ICAN added, also pointing to the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)—the passage of which led to the group receiving the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

ICAN also highlighted that Graham has previously referenced Hiroshima and Nagasaki while discussing U.S. arms for Israel, including at a Senate hearing, which Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yōko was asked about last week.

"I believe those remarks about Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not appropriate. Japan is aware that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took so many precious lives and caused an extremely regrettable humanitarian situation in which people suffered indescribable hardships due to illness and disabilities," the foreign minister said.

"As the government has been saying for a long time, we believe the use of nuclear weapons does not match the spirit of humanitarianism, which is the ideological foundation of international law, because of their tremendous destructive and lethal power," she added.

Israel and the United States are two of the nine nations known to have nuclear weapons; the others are China, India, France, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia—which is currently waging war on Ukraine—and the United Kingdom. None of them support the TPNW.

(Jessica Corbett is a senior editor and staff writer for Common Dreams where this article was first published.).