Don’t touch me.
Even though Biden was seen pressing the flesh with outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a NATO summit, and getting a hug from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, not to mention shaking hands with a variety of foreign leaders during his summer trip to Europe, including those of Turkey, Indonesia, and India, there’ll be no touching in Israel.
According to a Jerusalem Post report, the Biden administration has told the Israelis that the president won’t be shaking hands in Israel due to COVID. Apparently there’s a whole lot more of a COVID threat in Israel than elsewhere.
Instead of the traditional greeting line at Ben-Gurion Airport, the Israelis have been told that due to “scheduling pressure, COVID, and the hot weather, the US president will not shake hands with the invited, and there will be no opportunity for personal photographs.”
Not that there’s likely to be too much demand for selfies with Biden anyway.
While the official word is that Biden is too old and won’t be able to handle 90 degree heat, he did not seem to have a problem getting out and shaking hands when he landed at Spain’s Torrejon de Ardoz air base last month, at a time when temperatures in Madrid hit 88 degrees.
Either Biden aged quite a bit in three weeks or two degrees make a hell of a difference.
Or, possibly, the Biden administration wanted to avoid a big show with the Israelis and is using COVID, old age and the weather as an excuse for playing down the traditional ceremony.
While Biden won’t be touching any Israelis, he has made a point of becoming the first sitting president to visit a “Palestinian” facility in eastern Jerusalem. The Biden administration refused to allow Israeli officials to accompany him on the hospital visit, demonstrating that despite President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, Biden doesn’t recognize Israel’s sovereignty over its own capital.
Considering the location of the hospital in question on the Mount of Olives, Biden is effectively declaring that the historic location belongs to the terrorists. It’s a much worse insult than shaking hands with the tyrant of Turkey but not elected officials in the Jewish state.
Biden began the prep for his trip by boasting of providing “over $500 million” in aid to the terrorist-occupied territories in Israel. This despite the refusal of the PLO to stop its “Pay-to-Slay” program subsidizing salaries for convicted terrorists and payments to the families of PLO, Hamas and even Islamic State terrorists killed during their attempts to murder Israelis and Americans.
Administration figures have also demanded that Israel upgrade the Palestinian territories to 4G networks, complaining that the Palestinian Authority is still only able to use 3G. After repeated terrorist attacks in which Israelis were murdered, the big issue is download speeds.
There’s no apparent reason for Biden to come to Israel except to boost the terrorists.
The visit is especially oddly timed since Israel doesn’t even have a functioning government. After the collapse of its leftist coalition, the country is headed for new elections. Biden will be greeted at the airport by the “caretaker” prime minister, Yair Lapid, Israel’s answer to Justin Trudeau, whose militantly secularist leftist Yesh Atid party falls well below Netanyahu’s Likud Party in the polls, but whom the Biden administration is trying to boost in the coming elections.
Biden will be met by Lapid and outgoing former prime minister Naftali Bennett, and then will have an event with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, whose Blue and White Party alliance, one in a long series of fake centrist stalking horse parties for the left, is a player in the next election. And then there will be a session with President Isaac Herzog, the former head of the leftist Labor Party. The Israeli portion of this visit is essentially one long Biden leftist election ad.
But Biden’s stamp of approval isn’t likely to do much for Lapid since Biden is not that much more popular in Israel than he is in America. Surveys of the Israeli public show that confidence in the White House has fallen significantly since the Trump administration. Biden has released funds to Iran and to the terrorists inside Israel. And his visit is set to undermine Jerusalem and Israel.
After the photo ops with Israeli leftists, Biden will head to the PLO to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, its terrorist leader, and to announce concessions being made on behalf of the Israelis.
What the visit really amounts to is Lapid and various leftist politicians trading away Israeli security and lives for an election ad with Biden. And Biden is using the trip to undermine President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem and ending of taxpayer money going to terrorists.
But a meeting between Biden, Lapid and the rest of the gang is a conclave of failed politicians.
When presidents fail at home, they turn abroad. Biden’s European and Middle Eastern trips are a futile effort by a failing president to bolster his image. Biden has nothing new to offer the Middle East. In Israel, he is reduced to picking away at Trump’s accomplishments and promoting a diminished agenda for the terrorists after the success of the Abraham Accords.
As Biden, 79, meets with Mahmoud Abbas, 87, the leaders of the left and the PLO are men whose eras have passed. The Palestinian Authority is a failed institution and the entire ideological infrastructure of the peace process on which it was built has been discredited.
The visit of a failing president will conclude with a meeting with a failed PLO president and will come after a series of meetings with Israeli leftist politicians whose governing coalition also failed.
Even before Biden sets foot in Israel, his trip is already marked by failure. It’s just as well that he won’t be shaking hands with anyone. Failure can be even more infectious than the coronavirus.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
This article was first published by FrontPage Magazine.
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