In a previous column, I asked what President Joe Biden would do as Israel’s war against Hamas continues, the death toll mounts, and Hezbollah and/or Iran threaten to intervene. Would he continue to support Israel’s military actions or prevent it from destroying Hamas? Would winning over the pro-Hamas wing of the Democratic Party take priority over saving Western civilization?
The President answered my questions last week when he said, “Hamas unleashed a terrorist attack because they fear nothing more than Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace. … To continue down the path of terror, violence, killing and war is to give Hamas what they seek. … We can’t do that.”
Clearly, Biden believes Israel must end the war because to continue it is to give Hamas “what they seek.” But this war is the only way Israel can achieve its goal of eliminating Hamas. That means Biden believes Israel must give up this goal. But destroying Hamas is the only way Israel can guarantee its national survival. That means Biden believes Israel must learn to live with the risk of being destroyed at any time.
Reportedly, Secretary of State Antony Blinken forcefully delivered Biden’s message in person to Israel’s war cabinet last week.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant apparently told Blinken that “The entire Israeli society is united behind the goal of dismantling Hamas, even if it takes months.” Blinken reportedly responded, “I don’t think you have the credit for that.”
Although the words were awkward, the message was clear: American support is limited.
Blinken confirmed the message of surrender later that day when he addressed the media: “I underscored the imperative—for the United States—that the massive loss of civilian life and displacement of the scale that we saw in northern Gaza not be repeated in the south.”
It remains unclear how Blinken believes it is possible for Israel to eradicate a terrorist organization that uses all of Gaza’s civilian population as a human shield without the loss of civilian life. It is unclear because it is impossible.
One would have thought that if the Biden administration truly supported Israel’s legitimate goal of destroying Hamas, it would demand Hamas unconditionally surrender and release all Israeli hostages. That would end the war immediately and save thousands of civilian lives. But one would be wrong.
Instead, the administration is pressuring Israel. To his credit, Blinken was at least honest with Gallant as to why America was preparing to pull the rug out from under our most reliable ally: “domestic and international pressure.” In other words, Biden lacks the fortitude to stand up to America’s enemies. As he faces reelection, he is more concerned about losing the support of some antisemitic pro-Hamas voters in America than he is about defending Western civilization.
The president is no doubt watching the antisemitic pro-Hamas protests on college campuses and in cities across the country. He knows the protesters are not white supremacists. They are not Republican voters. These people are his people. They are his voters, voters he may well need in order to win reelection in 2024. He does not want to alienate them.
Biden also is listening to voices in his party like well-known Israel-haters Sens. Bernie Sanders and Chris Murphy and the congressional “Squad” of avowed progressive antisemites. They all demand that aid to Israel be conditioned on how it conducts its war of national survival. In some cases, such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who has endorsed the genocidal slogan “from the river to the sea,” they demand that aid to Israel stop altogether.
Leaders are supposed to bend the will of others to their way of thinking. They must persuade and cajole. Unfortunately, it is Biden who is bending.
Biden’s weakness as a leader and his failure to give Israel the support it needs is no surprise. He catastrophically surrendered to Islamic radicals in Afghanistan. He continues to appease Iran. He has failed to competently stand up to Putin in Ukraine. China is ascendant. America is in retreat.
Biden will not even defend our service members in Syria and Iraq who have been the targets of over 75 attacks from Iran and its terror proxies since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre. If the president will not even defend American soldiers, why should anyone expect him to prioritize saving Israel?
Now is the time for moral clarity. This is one of those rare moments in history when the divide between good and evil is clear cut and obvious.
Some time ago, Biden did express moral clarity when he called the Oct. 7 massacre an act of “pure evil.” But identifying evil is not enough. One must be prepared to fight and defeat it. That is where Biden is coming up woefully short.
Rather than demanding the unconditional surrender of Hamas just as President Franklin Roosevelt demanded of Nazi Germany, Biden is demanding what is tantamount to an Israeli surrender. The ramifications of such a surrender would haunt the United States and Western civilization for decades to come, assuming either of them survives it. Biden appears prepared to accept these consequences so he can win the votes of a few Jew-haters.
There is one upside to Biden’s weakness and lack of leadership: Israeli leaders can be confident that they can ignore the president with little risk he will push back. They should act accordingly.