OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

Biden uses aid workers’ tragic deaths to slander Israel

Team Biden is cynically leveraging the accidental death of the World Central Kitchen aid workers to libel Israel and create an excuse to withdraw American support.

U.S. President Joe Biden signs the guestbook at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden signs the guestbook at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.
James Sinkinson
James Sinkinson
James Sinkinson is president of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

On a dark April night in southern Gaza, a horrible, deadly accident unfolded—one that, as understandable as it might be, was no less tragic.

A World Central Kitchen aid convoy delivering food to Palestinians that night was joined by several Hamas vehicles. Later, a couple of armed Hamas terrorists hopped aboard a WCK truck and started shooting in the air. The Israel Defense Forces was monitoring this activity and watched the convoy as it later split up, with the main group entering a hangar. The IDF tried to call both WCK workers and WCK headquarters to clarify the situation on the ground, but neither answered. When the convoy left the hangar an hour later, the IDF mistook WCK vehicles for those of Hamas and mistakenly launched a drone attack on them, killing seven aid workers.

While such friendly-fire incidents are saddening, they are also common in war. In 2015, a U.S. Air Force gunship attacked the Kunduz Trauma Center, operated by Doctors Without Borders, killing 42 people and injuring 30 more. Doctors Without Borders called it a deliberate breach of international humanitarian law and a war crime.

After the IDF’s mistaken killing of the WCK aid workers, U.S. President Joe Biden demanded thah Israel take additional steps to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza and protect aid workers. He also demanded an immediate ceasefire and threatened that U.S. policy on Gaza could change if Israel did not accede to his demands. 

The Biden administration is using this death of aid workers as another excuse to demonize Israel, despite the fact that Israel’s conduct was no different from that of the United States. Indeed, the Kunduz tragedy took place while Biden was vice president, exposing his hypocrisy in holding the Jewish state to a double standard. 

Whereas Israel immediately took responsibility for unintentionally killing the WCK aid workers, the Obama administration initially tried to deny culpability for the Kunduz civilian deaths. It took the president four days to finally apologize. 

In short, Team Biden is cynically leveraging the accidental death of the WCK aid workers in an attempt to libel Israel and create an excuse to withdraw American support. The White House is no doubt hopeful such posturing will salvage Biden’s flailing re-election campaign, solidifying support from radical, anti-Israel voters. 

Unfortunately, U.S. threats to abandon Israel only make the task of defeating Iran-backed Hamas more difficult and reduce Israel’s bargaining power in demanding the release of the remaining 133 hostages, including six Americans. 

Friendly-fire accidents (FFAs) are regrettable but common in war. The United States has been involved in numerous FFAs, such as those in Ghaziabad (Afghanistan 2008), Khair Khana (Afghanistan 2008), Al-Majalah (Yemen 2008) and Kabul (Afghanistan, 2021), the latter of which occurred under the Biden administration and killed 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children.

During the first 20 years of the war on terror, the United States conducted more than 91,000 airstrikes across seven major conflict zones—Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen—killing 48,308 civilians, according to a 2021 analysis by Airwars, a U.K.-based airstrike monitoring group. 

Israel has also made such mistakes, one of which occurred in Gaza in December last year, when IDF troops mistakenly shot and killed three escaped Israeli hostages after misidentifying them as threats. In both this case and that of the WCK workers, IDF investigations concluded that the tragedies occurred due to misidentification, which is common in the fog of war. Nevertheless, the IDF took full responsibility for both incidents and apologized. 

In contrast, others, including the United States, have not always responded so quickly and forthrightly. In Afghanistan in 2009, for example, a NATO airstrike targeting Taliban terrorists in the village of Bola Boluk hit a convoy, killing at least 27 civilians, including women and children. NATO initially denied civilian casualties but later acknowledged the mistake and apologized. 

In another incident, also in Afghanistan, in 2008, a U.S. airstrike hit a wedding party, killing at least 47 civilians, including 39 women and children. The accident occurred when coalition forces were attacking terrorists, but one missile went off course. The U.S. military initially denied killing any civilians, but following an investigation by the Afghan government, U.S.-led coalition forces apologized.

By contrast, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad never admit their hundreds of misfired missiles and resultant deaths, let alone apologize for them—but we hear nary a complaint from the United Nations, Biden or “pro-Palestinian” protesters. 

Why is Biden blaming Israel for something that all warring nations—including his own administration—have experienced? It all seems part of an ongoing campaign to placate radical, anti-Israel voters—perhaps the same voters who chanted “Death to America” at an Al-Quds rally in Dearborn, Michigan earlier this month. Biden also seeks to appease members of his own party, including 56 congressional Democrats who have signed a letter calling on the president to halt weapon sales to Israel.   

But while Team Biden may win the votes of anti-Israel radicals, he also stands a good chance of losing the votes of the overwhelming majority of Americans who support the Jewish state. Furthermore, the president’s actions also inhibit Israel’s war efforts to defeat Hamas—one of the world’s most evil terrorist groups, a proxy of Iran, the mutual enemy of both Israel and the United States—and secure the return of the hostages, which Washington also insists on.

Every civilian death in war is a tragedy, but whenever wars are fought near civilians, innocents will inevitably be hurt or killed. This is especially true in Gaza, since Hamas uses civilians as human shields, as they did in the case of the WCK convoy, causing the IDF to mistake the aid workers as terrorists. 

Biden’s steadfast criticism of Israel plays directly into the hands of America’s enemies—Hamas, Iran and of course radical, anti-Israel, anti-American extremists in swing states like Michigan, whose votes the president is desperate to win.

Originally published by Facts and Logic About the Middle East.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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