newsU.S.-Israel Relations

As US elections loom, Biden administration’s hostility toward Israel grows

The idea that by combating terror Israel is creating more terrorists, coupled with Washington’s push for a Palestinian state and other seemingly hostile moves, “amounts to a BDS campaign to pressure Israel into concessions that jeopardize its security,” expert tells JNS.

U.S. President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
U.S. President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

The Biden administration appears to be acting with increased hostility toward Israel, having reversed the “Pompeo Doctrine,” sanctioned settlers and a company that manufactures parts for Israel’s Iron Dome system, and switched to harsher language with regard to calling for a ceasefire.

“There is a fundamental disconnect between the policy fantasy land in Washington and the reality of life in Israel after Oct. 7, Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS.

Despite what the U.S. administration may believe, “There is no path to peace without Israel destroying all remaining Hamas command and control in Gaza, massive reforms to the Palestinian Authority, dismantling UNRWA [the United Nations Relief and Works Agency] and excluding Hamas patrons like Qatar from any involvement,” Goldberg said.

Complicating matters, U.S. presidential elections will take place in November, and the Biden administration is worried its support for Israel is causing it to lose crucial votes. Terrified of losing Michigan and other states with sizable numbers of Muslims, U.S. President Joe Biden appears to be willing to endanger Israel to gain the support of a voting bloc in which Jew hatred is prevalent.

“I think we’re witnessing a moment of opportunism where left-wing ideologues inside the White House are using the pretext of a political problem in Michigan and the prospect of Saudi-Israel normalization to ram through all the bad policy ideas that have been rejected for years,” said Goldberg. “The polling in Michigan doesn’t justify a need for Biden to attack Israel, and Riyadh cares a lot more about U.S. defense and nuclear energy commitments than a two-state solution.”

While it is true that the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, White House officials have expressed opposition to an Israeli ground attack in Rafah and the Biden administration is pressing a two-state solution, a notion most Israelis currently reject. Israel’s Knesset confirmed this when it opposed unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time, “The Knesset united with a huge majority against the attempt to dictate to us the establishment of a Palestinian state. The vote sends a clear message to the international community—unilateral recognition will not bring peace closer but will push it further away.”

The citizens of Israel and their Knesset representatives are more united today than ever before, said Netanyahu.

“We voted with a huge majority against a move that will endanger Israel and the achievement of peace before we achieve a complete victory against Hamas,” he added.

Israel’s opposition leader Benny Gantz emphasized that he, too, is firmly opposed to steps that would lead to unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. “Today we passed a resolution in the Knesset with a large majority, opposing the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. After 7/10, it would be a mistake to give such support to terrorism,” he said.

The Biden administration is also ignoring important polls, for instance by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which showed that most Palestinians support Hamas.

In addition to the growing international pressure for Israel to agree to a ceasefire and recognize a Palestinian state regardless of whether Hamas releases the 134 Israeli hostages it holds, numerous critics accuse Israel of creating a new generation of terrorists as it tries to destroy Hamas.

In a recent television segment, comedian Jon Stewart made this very claim. TV host Piers Morgan, as well as others, have also repeated this mantra.

But FDD President Clifford May pushed back against this claim, saying Palestinians are witnessing what is happening in Gaza and understand terrorism does not pay.

“Even with Hamas only weakened, we have seen some Gazans expressing this altered perspective,” he said.

“Given the educational system in the Hamas-run schools in Gaza, it’s unlikely that many people in that territory favored peaceful coexistence with Israel, but [many] will now change their minds because Israelis retaliated against Hamas for the invasion and atrocities of Oct. 7,” he said. 

“If Hamas prevails in the war it has launched, Palestinians are likely to draw the lesson that terrorism pays; that their sacrifices were necessary because that’s how progress toward Israel’s extermination can be achieved,” he added.

May noted that as Israel continues to decimate Hamas, Palestinians are arriving at a wholly different conclusion to the one people like Stewart and Morgan are suggesting. 

“If Hamas does not prevail,” said May, “Palestinians may conclude that terrorism is a dead end—figuratively and literally.

“They may ask themselves: To what good purpose did Hamas bring this destruction upon Gaza? Why did they build tunnels to protect them and use us—innocent civilians, men, women and children—as human shields?”

According to May, instead of joining the ranks of terrorists, Palestinians will perhaps “begin to consider alternatives.”

The idea that by combating Hamas Israel is creating more terrorists, coupled with Washington’s push for a unilateral Palestinian state and other seemingly hostile moves, “amounts to a BDS campaign to pressure Israel into concessions that jeopardize its security,” according to Goldberg.

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Saturday slammed the White House for its hostility toward Israel. 

“The Biden administration must stop undermining Israel and facilitating efforts to delegitimize Israel. It is misguided and unconscionable,” he tweeted.

“That needs to be condemned from both sides of the aisle in Washington,” said Goldberg.

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