columnJewish Diaspora

Conservative Jews might just miss Joe Biden

The president’s collapse could lead to the takeover of the Democratic Party by an openly antisemitic movement.

An illustrative image of U.S. President Joe Biden. Source: DeepAI.
An illustrative image of U.S. President Joe Biden. Source: DeepAI.
Benjamin Kerstein
Benjamin Kerstein is a writer and editor living in Tel Aviv. Read more of his work on Substack at No Delusions, No Despair. Purchase his books here.

It remains unknown whether President Joe Biden will cede the presidential nomination and perhaps the presidency now that his cognitive decline is undeniable. What is clear is that, due to the president’s obstinacy, the issue is already tearing the Democratic Party apart. This unprecedented internal crisis, however, conceals a deeper crisis of great import to American Jews.

The Democratic Party is currently split between its moderate and radical wings. The moderate wing is, by and large, composed of classic squishy liberals. On Jewish issues, they are a mixed bag, albeit increasingly problematic. Nonetheless, they are not openly antisemitic.

The radical wing, spearheaded by the progressive left, is quite different. With some exceptions, it is proudly antisemitic, and overwhelmingly pro-terrorism and pro-radical Islam. It views American Jews as a feculent plutocracy that props up the “settler-colonialist,” “apartheid” State of Israel through insidious backroom machinations. Their avowed goal is to destroy the Elders of Zion of their perfervid fantasies. They are, in other words, an existential threat to the American Jewish community.

Conservative American Jews who see no distinction between these two factions are not entirely wrong, given the moderates’ tendency towards appeasement and accommodation in the face of antisemitism. Nonetheless, it would be a grave mistake to think that the two sides get along. In fact, the radical wing passionately hates the moderate wing. The moderates, by and large, feel that the radicals are something they have to suffer. The radicals feel that the moderates are something they have to destroy. Radicals, after all, very much enjoy destroying things.

It is doubtful that Biden is still president in any meaningful way but, as a symbol, he remains the standard-bearer for the Democrats’ moderate wing. In the moderates’ narrative, he is a bulwark not only against Donald Trump but also against the AOCs and Ilhan Omars of the world.

Thus, for American Jews, Biden’s collapse has very grave implications. The June 27 debate did not only reveal a senile president. It also exposed a political scandal of extraordinary proportions: The White House and Biden’s inner circle clearly engaged in a years-long cover-up of the fact that the president of the United States was incapable of doing his job. This was not only a monstrously unethical deception; it endangered the national security of the United States itself.

This does not only indict Biden and his people. It indicts the entire Democratic Party, and especially, the moderate wing Biden represents. There is simply no way that the legislators, fundraisers and other party officials who have toiled on Biden’s behalf for years were not well aware of the president’s condition. The same is true of Biden’s media mouthpieces like columnist Thomas Friedman of The New York Times.

Whether they kept silent out of cowardice or avarice is irrelevant. These people lied for years to keep Biden in office when they knew he was incapacitated. Once the full implications of a scandal potentially worse than Watergate sink in, it is difficult to see how they can come back from this.

Thus, the Democrats’ moderate wing is going into the final stretch of a presidential campaign disgraced and discredited. It is not surprising, then, that the party’s radical wing has been almost entirely silent in recent days. It is very likely that they are waiting for their chance to pounce.

Whether they will pounce in this election cycle or the next is unknowable. It will likely be the latter, but there is little question as to what they will do: They will attack the moderate wing with everything they have, blaming it for all the party’s woes, especially if Trump defeats Biden or his successor—as now seems quite likely. Then, with the party faithful disillusioned with the moderate wing and outraged at its perfidy, the radicals will seize the moment and with it the party.

This means American Jews will face what British Jews faced during Jeremy Corbyn’s reign as head of the Labour Party: The takeover of one of the country’s two major parties by an openly antisemitic movement. Like Corbyn’s Labour, a Democratic Party conquered and colonized by antisemitism would likely go down to defeat, but there are no guarantees in politics.

If an AOC or a similar figure becomes president, the consequences for the American Jewish community will be horrendous. Leftist and Muslim antisemites will be given free reign.

Antisemitic violence will skyrocket. Entire neighborhoods and perhaps entire cities will be unlivable. American Jewish life as a whole may become impossible. At that point, Jews will have to ask terrible questions about their future—or lack thereof—in the United States.

None of this has to happen, of course. Biden may ultimately accept his fate and step aside. The moderate wing might have time to recover and head off the radical takeover. If not, then a rejuvenated Republican Party may crush the radical Democrats politically, permanently discrediting them. Nonetheless, at the moment, American Jews disaffected by Joe Biden should refrain from celebrating his downfall. They might miss him.

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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