columnIsrael at War

Biden’s Hamas conundrum

The president’s continued reliance on his anti-Israel, pro-Iran officials is not merely a policy disaster. It is a political problem.

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with senior advisers on Sept. 6, 2023, in the Oval Office. Credit: Adam Schultz/Official White House Photo.
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with senior advisers on Sept. 6, 2023, in the Oval Office. Credit: Adam Schultz/Official White House Photo.
Caroline B. Glick
Caroline B. Glick is the senior contributing editor of Jewish News Syndicate and host of the “Caroline Glick Show” on JNS. She is also the diplomatic commentator for Israel’s Channel 14, as well as a columnist for Newsweek. Glick is the senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington and a lecturer at Israel’s College of Statesmanship.

Since Oct. 7, American Jews have seen their civil rights trampled every day. Jewish students are subjected to constant intimidation, assault, battery and threats from Hamas supporters on campus. From coast to coast, the stories are depressingly similar. University authorities refuse to protect them from their pro-Jewish genocide peers.

Then, too, on Thursday, the New York Police Department told the Jews of Brooklyn to stay off the streets on Shabbat afternoon. Pro-Hamas will be demonstrating, and the police said that they will be unable to protect Jewish residents as the terror supporters march through their neighborhoods.

How is this happening? How is it that at a time of maximum peril, law-enforcement bodies are doing all but nothing to defend the Jewish community? Why is the FBI not arresting terror supporters as required under U.S. law? Why is the U.S. Justice Department not directing local authorities to defend the Jews?

A good place to begin to look for answers is the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. That powerful division is led by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke.

Clarke’s appointment in 2021 caused an uproar in Jewish circles because she has a record of anti-Semitic activism and was an ardent supporter of the pro-Hamas, anti-Jewish Black Lives Matter movement.

In 1994, as the head of the Black Students Association at Harvard Law School, Clarke invited Wellesley College Professor Tony Martin to speak at Harvard. Martin had just written a Protocols of the Elders of Zion-style anti-Semitic book called The Jewish Onslaught.

Clarke defiantly defended Martin at the time and attacked the Jewish students who expressed concern about her move. She never apologized for her actions. Instead, ahead of her Senate confirmation, she told progressive, anti-Israel Jewish reporters and activists that she “regretted” the invitation. That was enough for them to declare that the allegation that Clarke remains hostile towards Jews is slander.

U.S. President Joe Biden has a problem. He staffed his administration at all levels and across departments with hardened ideologues, many of whom have records of hostility towards Jews and support for Hamas, Iran, and other terror groups and regimes. Under Biden, these officials have advanced his Middle East policies that until Oct. 7 were largely aligned with the interests of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis.

Now that those policies have been shown to be counterproductive, and at least partly responsible for the threats America now faces to its core Middle Eastern interests, the same officials remain in their positions and continue to direct the Biden administration’s policies.

Consider the Palestinians.

U.S. policy towards the Palestinians is directed by the U.S. Special Representative to the Palestinians, Hady Amr. Amr is a longtime supporter of Hamas. In 2018, at the Qatar-based offices of the Brookings Institute, Amr was the lead author of a Brookings policy paper titled, “Ending Gaza’s Perpetual Crisis–A New U.S. Approach.”

Amr’s basic recommendations were to change terror financing laws to permit U.S. contractors to work with Hamas, as well as to use any new round of war between Israel and Hamas to launch a new three-pronged policy towards Israel and Hamas.

Amr’s plan accepted Hamas as a legitimate actor. It called for the Palestinian Authority to unite with Hamas and reorganize under Hamas’s leadership in light of Hamas’s stronger support among Palestinians. Finally, it called for the United States to coerce Israel into making unreciprocated concessions to Hamas and the P.A., even though Amr acknowledged that the concessions would endanger Israel. Among other things, he called for Israel to end its maritime blockage of the Gaza coast and permit Hamas free access to the sea.

As the architect of Biden’s Palestinian policies, Amr’s Brookings paper was a blueprint for many of the policies adopted by the administration, including its willingness to fund Hamas indirectly through the P.A. and U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the U.N. agency operating in Gaza. Some 90% of UNRWA employees are Hamas members.

Amr remains in his position.

The ongoing Iran problem

Then there is Iran.

Biden appointed Iran apologist Robert Malley to lead the administration’s Iran policy. Malley’s policy was so pro-Iranian that several career U.S. State Department officials—not known for their hostility to Tehran—resigned in protest. As Semafor and Iran International exposed last month, Malley surrounded himself with advisers in and out of government with records of serving as Iranian regime agents in Washington. One of those aides, Ariane Tabatabai remains in her position as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, with her security clearance intact, a month after her direct ties to the Iranian regime became public knowledge.

Although Malley was booted from his position under a cloud of suspicion of misuse of classified information and is reportedly under FBI criminal investigation, his policy of courting Iran and enabling its rise as a nuclear power and regional power remains in place.

This week many observers, including former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, expressed shock when they discovered that the Biden administration gave a U.S. entry visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to speak at the United Nations. The move signaled that despite the fact that Iran trained Hamas terrorists in Iran ahead of the atrocities on Oct. 7, oversaw the planning of the Oct. 7 slaughter, green-lighted the atrocities and finances Hamas, the administration is still implementing Malley’s Iran policy. And to repay the administration for its appeasement, Abdollahian used his speech to threaten the United States with war if it continues to support Israel. Since Oct, 7, and as the administration clings stubbornly to Malley’s pro-Iran policies, Iranian proxies in Syria, Yemen and Iraq have repeatedly attacked U.S. forces in the region.

The Pentagon’s continued refusal to fully acknowledge Iran’s direction of Hamas’s acts of genocide is further indication that Malley’s policy remains Biden’s Iran policy.

Biden’s continued reliance on his anti-Israel, pro-Hamas and pro-Iran officials is not merely a policy disaster. It is a political problem. As Democratic pollster Doug Schoen explained at The Hill on Thursday, public support for Israel among both Democrats and Republicans is sky-high. Americans don’t merely support Israel; they support Israel passionately.

As Schoen noted, 81% of Republicans and 74% of Democrats support providing Israel with military support. Some 80% of Republicans and 72% of Democrats feel that it is important for the United States to protect Israel. And 74% of Americans believe that supporting Israel is more important than other geopolitical priorities.

Schoen concluded his article by noting, “Frankly, in my five decades of experience in politics, including polling extensively on issues related to Israel and the America-Israel relationship, the current support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorists who seek its destruction is like nothing I’ve seen before.”

Sensitive to public opinion on the one hand and his administration officials on the other, Biden tried to thread the needle on Wednesday. The results weren’t pretty.

At a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Tony Albanese, Biden restated his administration’s commitment to provide Israel with the arms it needs to defeat Hamas. But he then demanded that Israel resupply Hamas under the euphemistic headline: “Humanitarian aid.”

A brewing rebellion

While Palestinian election results, polling data and the wide-scale celebrations of Hamas’s atrocities across Gaza, Judea and Samaria are evidence that Hamas represents a large majority of Palestinians in Gaza, and Judea and Samaria, Biden insisted that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people.

His false assertion is a necessary component of his administration’s strategic goal, which he restated at the press conference—the establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and portions of Jerusalem.

To defend the proposition that Israel must agree to establish a state in its heartland for a people that supports and engages in acts of genocide of Jewry and seeks the annihilation of the Jewish state, Biden turned to Amr’s playbook: He demonized the half-million Israeli Jews who live in Judea and Samaria.

“I continue to be alarmed about extremist settlers attacking Palestinians in the West Bank that—pouring gasoline on fire is what it’s like. They’re … attacking Palestinians in places that they’re entitled to be, and it has to stop. They have to be held accountable. And it has to stop now,” he said angrily.

Biden’s broadside is unsupported by facts. Although several dozen Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria have been killed in gun battles with IDF forces in Judea and Samaria since Oct. 7, no Israeli civilians were involved in any of the clashes.

On the other hand, the morning after Biden launched his slanderous broadside, a Palestinian mob outside a Jewish farm in the Binyamin region attacked two Israeli shepherds, critically wounding one.

Many Israeli media outlets responded with shock and anger at Biden’s demand for Israel to accept that the goal of the war is to establish a Palestinian state. One headline blared: “Biden deceived us.”

In an effort to play to both sides, at the same press conference, Biden rejected claims by Hamas’s “Gaza Health Ministry” that Israel has killed 6,000 civilians, including 2,700 children in Gaza, saying, “I have no confidence in the numbers the Palestinians are using.”

If Israelis were stunned and angered by Biden’s hostile messages directed against them, Biden’s rejection of Hamas’s casualty propaganda enraged Hamas’s allies in Washington. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) demanded that Biden apologize. Furious Hamas supporters at the State Department showed The Huffington Post 20 department cables where Hamas’s “Gaza Health Ministry” numbers were accepted as credible.

To quell the brewing rebellion of their own officials, both National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Tony Blinken have reportedly conducted “listening sessions” with these pro-Hamas staffers to make sure they feel “listened to” by their bosses. There have been no reports that any of these pro-terror officials have been fired.

The rancor in the ranks of the Hamas supporters in the administration and their supporters in the progressive base is also a political issue. Biden’s support for Israel, limited though it has been is costing him support among Muslim Americans and pro-Hamas progressives. A Gallup poll of Democrats from Oct. 3 to Oct. 23 shows that Biden’s support among Democrats went down 11% in three weeks and now stands at 75%.

These numbers, aligned with Schoen’s data, expose Biden’s conundrum. If Biden maintains his support for Israel, then he will anger, alienate and perhaps permanently lose the support of his administration and the activist progressive base of his party. And if he stands with his base—and his pro-Iran and pro-Hamas officials and voters—he will alienate the American public. Either way, he undermines his standing as he moves towards an election year.

In “The Caroline Glick Show” this week, historian Victor Davis Hanson argued that with the public’s stalwart support for Israel, and Iran’s escalating attacks against the United States through its proxies, Biden will be forced to stand with Israel even more forthrightly in the weeks to come.

If the opposite occurs, if Biden opts to stand with Hady Amr, Robert Malley’s acolytes, and their allies and comrades throughout the administration, as well as with the Democrat Party’s pro-Hamas camp, and against three-quarters of the American public, it will be a testament to the brittleness of the administration’s extremism. It will also constitute a rejection of the democratic norms of governance that have underpinned American society and politics for 250 years.

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