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President Biden issued a statement honoring the late former Sen. Joe Lieberman, noting his principled and steadfast nature while steering clear of his support for Israel. Lieberman, who represented Connecticut in the Senate for 24 years and was the first Jewish candidate on a major party’s presidential ticket, passed away due to complications following a fall. Biden commended Lieberman’s liberal record and highlighted his work on key legislation such as repealing discriminatory restrictions on LGBTQ Americans in the military and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security post-9/11.

In his earlier years, Lieberman supported President Biden’s approach to addressing the conflict between Israel and Hamas, praising the president for exercising “quiet and effective diplomacy” and resisting pressure from the left of the Democratic Party to take a stand against Israel. However, towards the end of his life, Lieberman became concerned about what he perceived as a weakening of support for Israel by Biden and other leading Democrats, possibly influenced by potential political repercussions. Lieberman and his attorney, Alan Dershowitz, cautioned Biden that the Jewish community could no longer be counted on for their votes if support for Israel wavered.

Lieberman, known for his independence, was the founding chairman of No Labels, an organization advocating for a third-party presidential candidate, which some believe could impact Biden’s chances in upcoming elections. The president has faced opposition from within his party, with progressives criticizing his handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Biden’s comments on the situation, describing Israel’s response as “over the top” and setting a “red line” regarding an invasion of Rafah, have drawn attention and criticism from various factions.

After declining to veto a UN resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, the Biden administration faced backlash from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who canceled plans to send a delegation to Washington to discuss potential military action. The White House has maintained that Biden’s stance on Israel has not been influenced by party politics, despite the evident divisions within the Democratic Party. Netanyahu also paid tribute to Lieberman, calling him an American patriot and a champion of the Jewish people and the Jewish state, expressing his condolences to Lieberman’s family.

The passing of Joe Lieberman sparked a wave of tributes and reflections on his legacy, with President Biden acknowledging him as a good man and praising his service during a brief exchange with reporters. Lieberman’s longstanding commitment to public service, dedication to key issues such as gun safety, environmental protection, and LGBTQ rights, as well as his influence on homeland security legislation all contributed to his reputation as a respected figure in American politics. However, his support for Israel and concerns about the direction of American policy in the region towards the end of his life have highlighted the ongoing complexities surrounding foreign relations within the Democratic Party and broader political landscape.

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