OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

Biden’s skin-deep support for Israel

The president's actual policies toward Israel are revealed by his political appointments, his courtship of Iran and resumption of funding to the P.A.

Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, March 2016. Credit: U.S. Embassy via Wikimedia Commons.
Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, March 2016. Credit: U.S. Embassy via Wikimedia Commons.
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.

Until Wednesday, President Joe Biden had maintained a fairly supportive posture towards Israel in the face of the Hamas terror regime in Gaza’s launch of its newest round of war against the Jewish state. In the first week of the new war, Biden’s administration blocked the United Nations Security Council from adopting anti-Israel statements and resolutions three times.

Until Wednesday afternoon Israel time, Biden avoided publicly calling on Israel to halt its counterstrikes against Hamas and expressed his support for Israel’s right to protect its citizens from Hamas’s missiles.

So it wouldn’t be surprising if some Israelis were flabbergasted when Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday afternoon that he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” effectively ordering Israel to stand down by day’s end.

But Biden’s week of professions of support for Israel were hardly the last word on his administration’s positions on Israel and the war. Indeed, they weren’t even its first word.

Biden’s actual policies regarding Israel are revealed in three different ways. First, there are the policies Biden had already adopted before Hamas opened its missile offensive from Gaza and its spate of organized anti-Jewish pogroms in mixed Arab-Jewish cities throughout Israel.

Biden’s courtship of Iran through the renewal of nuclear talks in Vienna, in which he has signaled his willingness to end U.S. economic sanctions on Iran, and his administration’s persuasion of Iraq and South Korea to unfreeze billions of dollars in Iranian oil revenue have signaled Iran and its terror proxies, including Hamas, that the Biden administration is abandoning the U.S. alliance with Israel and the moderate Sunni states in favor of Iran and its proxies.

Likewise, Biden’s announcement that he is restoring U.S. funding to UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority despite their funding of terrorism were a tailwind for Iran and Hamas plans to attack Israel. With U.S. funding and sanctions relief, not only did they realize that the United States had their back, Iran and Hamas gained the economic wherewithal to wage war. So too, Hamas was able to use America’s abandonment of Israel as a means to persuade Israeli Arabs that they could safely participate in pogroms against their Jewish neighbors and accept Hamas as their representative.

The second indication of Biden’s actual policies were the people he appointed to positions responsible for managing U.S. ties with Israel, in his National Security Council, at the State Department, the Defense Department and the U.S. intelligence agencies. Most of the people that Biden has appointed to these key positions have public records of hostility towards Israel.

For instance, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr was an anti-Israel activist until his appointment. Amr has a long record of statements hostile to Israel and supportive of Palestinian terrorists, including Hamas. When supposedly moderate Secretary of State Antony Blinken decided to send an envoy to the region last week, it was Amr that he dispatched. Appointments like Amr, and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, are the sort that one would expect from an anti-Israel president, not from a pro-Israel president.

Finally, there is the political climate in Biden’s Democrat Party. From the moment Hamas launched its current offensive against Israel, radical Democrat lawmakers in Congress have escalated their anti-Israel rhetoric and actions to unprecedented levels. On Monday, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush and others adopted rank antisemitic language against Israel, referring to Israel as an “apartheid” state and insisting that it is not a democracy because “apartheid states aren’t democracies.” The State Department itself has determined that accusing Israel of being an “apartheid” state is an antisemitic act.

No “responsible adult,” not Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and definitely not Biden, called them out for their bigoted behavior. Instead, Schumer, along with Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and longtime Israel supporter Sen. Bob Menendez both called for a ceasefire on Tuesday, with full knowledge that such a demand harms Israel, not Hamas.

If that weren’t bad enough, Monday, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks announced his intention to place a hold on a routine sale of $735 million worth of precision-guided missiles to Israel that Biden had approved. Meeks was acting under pressure from the likes of Omar, Cortez, Tlaib and Rep. Betty McCollum. He only relented when House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer placed even greater pressure on him. Meeks, it should be mentioned, was until recently considered a pro-Israel lawmaker. His stunning interference in a routine arms sale that enjoys the support of a wide majority of members of Congress indicates that the radical wing of the Democratic Party controls the party’s discourse on Israel today.

Biden himself underlined this point on Tuesday. As Tlaib was expanding her anti-Semitic assaults on Israel, Biden praised her in a speech in Detroit. He referred to the woman who has made rejecting Israel’s right to exist her signature issue as a “fighter.” Biden said to Tlaib, “I want to say that I admire your intellect, I admire your passion and I admire your concern for so many people.”

So although Biden seemed to distinguish himself from his administration in his support for Israel as its cities are pounded with missiles from Hamas-controlled Gaza, the fact is that his support was barely skin deep and never dependable. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right to reject Biden’s demand for a ceasefire.

Going forward, Israel must devise a national strategy that starts with the presumption that the Biden administration has replaced America’s traditional support for Israel with a policy of supporting its enemies.

Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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