Biden Shuns Israel At A Fortuitous Moment

The Biden administration's withholding of arms to Israel is the high-water mark in a 20-year process.

Biden Netanyahu 2016 Wikimedia commons

Delegations to the Egyptian-hosted hostage negotiations left Cairo on Thursday night after talks collapsed. A member of the U.S. delegation led by CIA director Willian Burns briefed reporters that the talks failed “due to Israel’s operations in Rafah.”

Under normal circumstances—circumstances that would see the United States siding with Israel in its demands for the release of all hostages, as well as the eradication of Hamas’s forces and its regime of terror—such a statement could easily have been interpreted as supportive of Israel’s operation in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip, where terrorist strongholds still function.

Israel made an offer to Hamas that U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken praised as “incredibly generous.” Hamas rejected it completely, so Israel renewed its offensive entering Rafah. Nothing weakens Hamas’s negotiating position more than defeat. And now, having rejected the deal, Hamas can only expect a much worse offer from its perspective whenever talks are renewed.

Unfortunately, that isn’t what the U.S. announcement meant at all. It meant that the Hamas and the U.S. positions are in complete alignment. This isn’t new information. The fact that the United States, like Hamas, views the hostages as a means to force Israel to capitulate to Hamas’s demands—including ending the war with Hamas victorious, leaving more than 100 held captive behind in Gaza and thousands of terrorists freed from Israeli prisons—became clear last Saturday.

On May 4, Arab media outlets reported that behind Israel’s back, Burns had agreed to serve as guarantor that Israel will not renew its combat operations in Gaza in the event that a temporary ceasefire is enacted during the course of a hostage release. Israel never agreed to such a position. Indeed, Israel’s refusal to agree to an end of the war in exchange for a small fraction of the 132 hostages Hamas is holding in Gaza is the only thing preventing Hamas from rightly declaring victory in its jihad against Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightly felt compelled to stop the story—and the American plot—in its tracks. He issued a statement denying that Israel had agreed to such a deal and rejecting it out of hand as a non-starter.

The news that Washington had now made strategic concessions to Hamas that involved a U.S. guarantee of Hamas victory meant the Biden administration had switched sides. By guaranteeing Hamas’s survival, the administration made it official U.S. policy to stand with a genocidal jihadist terror group against its principal Middle East ally: Israel.

Since then, it’s all been downhill. Biden’s announcement on Wednesday to CNN that he is effectively halting the transfer of vital munitions for Israel’s Air Force and ground forces to prevent Israel from achieving its goal of defeating Hamas’s last four battalions in Rafah marked the official end of the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Thursday’s story that the United States is blaming Israel’s operation in Rafah for the failure of the hostage talks was simply another blow below the belt. Although the lumps Israel has taken from Washington this week have been unprecedented, they aren’t surprising.

Transformation of the Democratic Party

For the past two decades, the Democratic Party—once the more pro-Israel of America’s two major political parties—underwent a process of radicalization. The first sign that something was shifting came in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries when a previously unknown former Vermont governor named Howard Dean raised more money than any of his fellow Democratic presidential hopefuls. Dean was funded by Internet portals conceived and financed by far-left billionaires who initiated the party’s transformation by changing its funding mechanisms. Institutional funders and businessmen, longstanding political arms of lobbies and other funding standard-bearers were suddenly dwarfed by an army of anonymous online donors funneling funds through radical groups. The candidates who received their support were those who adopted the most radical positions on everything from healthcare to cultural issues, education policies to foreign and defense policies.

Just before his first inauguration, Barack Obama announced his intention to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” While it is still an open question how well he succeeded nationally, there is no question that he fundamentally transformed the Democratic Party both in relation to domestic and foreign policy. Israel and American Jews were central casualties of both.

Obama transformed critical race theory from a reality-denying, racialist crackpot conceptual framework into the foundation of the party’s domestic policies. At the heart of CRT is the notion that people’s characters are determined by their racial, ethnic, national and religious background. And they are either victims—and therefore good, or aggressors—and therefore bad. One’s definition is immutable and determined not by individuals or even societies, but by a group of radical, unelected pseudo-intellectuals. Together, this band of racists decided that the United States and Jews in the United States and the collective Jew, the State of Israel, are successful and powerful—and therefore bad.

Thanks to Obama and his senior officials, coupled with the funding mechanisms they built and institutionalized, a steadily growing number of Democrats embraced the view that far from the last great hope of mankind and the leader of the free world, the U.S. was traditionally the world’s greatest aggressor. U.S. allies were viewed as accomplices to this evil, and as such, undeserving of support.

America’s enemies, on the other hand, were viewed as victims, and “innocent” by nature and incapable of doing wrong. Since the most anti-American actors in the world are Iran and radical, jihadist Arab states like Syria and Qatar were necessarily worthy of support and could be blamed for no wrongdoing.

The chief aggressor in Obama’s CRT taxonomy is Israel. And the chief victims are Israel’s existential enemies: Iran and the Palestinians. Empowering the latter against the Jewish state was seen as both a moral imperative and the key to repositioning the transformed United States on the “right side of history.”

Slowly, but surely, over his eight years in office, Obama incentivized abidance by CRT catechisms. Its primary expression in foreign policy was hatred of Israel and support for Palestinian terrorists and Iran.

By the time he left office, Obama had reshaped the party leadership and machines in his own image by transforming the funding mechanisms for candidates and officeholders at all levels of national politics to advance candidates aligned with CRT policies.

Although the so-called “Squad” of openly anti-Semitic lawmakers first elected to Congress in 2018 only included four members, their ability to compel House leaders to bend to their will was a testament to the fact that to all intents and purposes, that tiny minority now controlled the party apparatus. Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) refusal to censure Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her bigoted slurs of American Jews or Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for her calls for Israel’s destruction testified to this state of affairs.

All this in the midst of mobs

Far from a surprise, then, Biden’s open breach in relations was simply the high-water mark to date in a 20-year process. It may not have been inevitable, but it was eminently predictable.

Although it is hard to see at first glance, given the seriousness of the circumstances we find ourselves in, it is fortunate that Biden and his advisers chose this time to openly turn against Israel. So far, Obama’s minions have not succeeded in turning the American people against either the Jewish state or the Jewish people. Five months of tracking polls by the Harvard-Harris polling firm have shown support for Israel holding steady at more than 80%.

More than 70% of Americans support Israel’s operation in Rafah; view Hamas as a genocidal terrorist group; and view its invasion of Israel and campaign of rape, torture and murder on Oct. 7 as an act of genocide.

More than 60% of Americans support Israel’s goal of eradicating Hamas, removing it from power permanently and ending the war only after the terrorist group is eradicated and all of the hostages have returned home.

The timing is also fortunate for Israel because Biden’s decision to turn against Israel comes in the midst of ongoing antisemitic mob violence on North American college campuses from coast to coast. Biden’s failure to take any action against students and groups behind the riots has won him no points with the public.

Not only are more than 80% of Americans repulsed by the antisemitism, but according to an Axios poll of university students released this week, 90% of students oppose aggression against pro-Israel students.

And 81% believe that academic institutions need to hold students causing mayhem accountable for their actions.

Moreover, the issue of the conflict in the Middle East is ranked lowest on a list of nine issues concerning college students. Only 13% of students consider it important.

By placing a hold on congressionally approved offensive weapons to Israel, Biden is bowing to antisemites who are opposed by the overwhelming majority of college students and the general public. And he is siding with them six months before Election Day.

Biden’s actions energized Republicans to move harshly against his policy in the Republican-controlled House and in the Senate. Democrats in swing districts and purple states either hope to keep their heads down or speak out directly against the policy.

All of this places upper limits on what Biden can do to Israel before the elections. The White House’s efforts on Thursday to walk back his statement in the face of the furious backlash against it make those limits apparent.

Unfortunately, however, Biden’s willingness to side with Hamas (and Iran and Hezbollah) against Israel as Israel fights a war for its very survival also demonstrates that if he wins a second term, Israel will face a nightmare scenario of relations with Washington.

Everything that Biden has done in minor ways to signal intentions will become his open policies. This includes sanctioning Israelis who oppose his policies. It includes supporting—perhaps through U.N. Security Council resolutions—arms embargoes against Israel.

It includes trade sanctions against Israeli military industries and all firms operating beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

It includes making the ouster of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the official policy of the U.S. government and treating Israel like apartheid South Africa with a boycott on direct contacts with leaders and sanctions on government officials, so long as Israeli voters continue to elect nationalist leaders determined to protect Israeli independence and national security.

The blood libels against “settlers” and against the IDF that officials have engaged in with increasing enthusiasm since Oct. 7 will become more expansive and lead to the ostracism of Israel in the international arena.

On the other hand, the United States will recognize “Palestine” and open an embassy to Palestine in Jerusalem, with or without Israeli permission.

All of these policies have already been adopted at low levels, or have been tried and abandoned due to fierce opposition in Israel and the United States.

But in a Biden second term, there will be no guardrails.

The administration’s decision to abandon Jerusalem and side with its enemies is a terrible development. But the fortuitous timing allows Israel and the American people to minimize the damage in the coming months, and, if Biden is denied a second term, over the next four years.

Caroline B. Glick is contributing editor of Jewish News Syndicate.


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