Lindsey Graham suggests Israel should nuke Gaza and claims Hiroshima bomb was ‘the right thing’

South Carolina Republican told Israel: ‘Do whatever you have to do to survive as a Jewish state. Whatever you have to do’

James Liddell
Monday 13 May 2024 16:09 BST
Lindsey Graham compares Gaza war with World War II

Senator Lindsey Graham has come under fire for drawing comparisons between Israel’s war on Gaza and the US’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan during World War II – urging Israel to “do whatever you have to do”.

Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, the South Carolina Republican appeared to justify Israel’s Rafah offensive – something that President Joe Biden has warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against – and called the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 the “right decision” for the US.

“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, Nagasaki with nuclear weapons,” Mr Graham told Kristin Welker.

“That was the right decision,” he concluded.

The two atomic blasts and the radiation that ensued are estimated to have killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people – most of them civilians.

“Give Israel the bombs they need to end the war they can’t afford to lose and work with them to minimise casualties,” Mr Graham continued.

Ms Welker was stopped in her tracks by the senator’s comments, as he continued to speak over the host.

“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 to do that? I thought it was okay?” Mr Graham said.

He added: “To Israel, do whatever you have to do to survive as a Jewish state. Whatever you have to do.”

Lindsey Graham with Donald Trump at a Republican primary event in February
Lindsey Graham with Donald Trump at a Republican primary event in February (AP)

It’s not the first time Mr Graham has shared his controversial opinion about the Middle East conflict, previously urging the US president to blow parts of Iran “off the map”.

“I have been saying for six months now... hit Iran,” he told Fox News in December.

“They have oil fields out in the open, they have the Revolutionary Guard headquarters you can see from space. Blow it off the map.”

The Republican senator’s comments come as Israel launches a ground invasion on the Gazan city of Rafah, with more than 360,000 Palestinians so far having fled the region, according to the United Nations.

Tensions between the US and Israel continue to come under strain with Mr Biden warning Mr Netanyahu that the US will curtail the supply of certain weapons if Israel invades Rafah.

Mr Netanyahu swiftly responded, telling Phil McGraw on Dr Phil that the halt of precision weapons might cause more civilian casualties due to the uptake of imprecise weaponry.

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