Many Republican senators are showing concern over changes the Biden administration is making to Middle East policies, particularly when it comes to Israel. In a letter to the President this week, lawmakers led by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) urge Biden to firmly stand with Israel.
Lankford told CBN News when it comes to U.S. support for Israel, the Biden administration is sending mixed messages and he argues we need to reaffirm our commitment rather than distancing ourselves.
"We stand with Israel. They're an ally, and America is opposed to terrorism," said Lankford.
One concern, in particular, is the Biden administration's decision to reopen a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem.
"That's an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people," said Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a recent press conference announcing the plan.
Lankford, however, argues opening the embassy in Jerusalem sends the wrong message and would reaffirm a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem.
"Our embassy is in Jerusalem, that's the focus there. Obviously, the Jewish state - their main headquarters, their Knesset, all their leadership offices are in Jerusalem, that should be a focus. So I have a real concern that sends a mixed message from the United States," the Oklahoma senator explained.
The Biden administration also has plans to reopen a Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Washington, D.C.
"The flip of that is I've also worked very hard to allow Americans to hold the Palestinian leadership accountable in American courts," explained Lankford. "The connection there is if they base any of the Palestinian efforts here in the United States and have a headquarters here in the United States, American families are able to sue Palestinians for damages and for loss for the acts of terrorism that have been carried out against some of these families."
"The Biden administration is trying to find a way around that and to allow the Palestinians to base a headquarters in the United States without also honoring American victims of terrorism at the same time," he continued. "We pushed on both areas to say the Americans should not give a mixed message to the Palestinians or the Israelis about our alliance with the Israelis, and we definitely shouldn't send a mixed message to American families that are victims of terrorism that they're not going to be able to get their day in court."
Secretary Blinken also recently announced $30 million in U.S. tax dollars will go towards the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.
"I do not believe we should've restored the funding to the U.N. organization that handles refugees," argued Lankford. "They handle refugees in the Palestinian areas different than they handle refugees anywhere else in the world."
"Every other refugee area in the world, when refugees move from one country to another, the U.N. helps integrate them into the new society so they don't live their whole lives as refugees and they're able to become citizens and they move into other places across the world except for the Palestinians," said Lankford. "The U.N. will not allow them to be able to integrate into other areas because the theory is that they're going to move back to Israel and take over Israel in the future. That's absurd."
Even Blinken recently acknowledged the U.N. group spreads anti-Semitic education materials erasing Israel from maps.
"We need to make sure the schools are not teaching hatred and bigotry to the next generation," declared Lankford.
The Biden administration, however, insists its support for Israel is strong.
"Our stalwart support, our ironclad support for Israel will remain," declared State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
While some Democrats recently questioned U.S. funding for Israel's Iron Dome defense system, Price says the Biden administration remains committed to it.
"It is an indispensable tool for the safety and security of Israelis," Price said. "Again, we are talking about equal measures of safety and security for Israelis and Palestinians, and on the Israeli side, the Iron Dome is an important element of that equation."