Israel does not need Joe Biden’s sympathy

It needs and deserves his unwavering support.

U.S. President Joe Biden giving a Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, May 29, 2023. Credit: Philip Yabut/Shutterstock.
U.S. President Joe Biden giving a Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, May 29, 2023. Credit: Philip Yabut/Shutterstock.
Eric Levine
Eric Levine
Eric R. Levine is a founding member of the New York City law firm Eiseman, Levine, Lehrhaupt & Kakoyiannis, P.C. He is an essayist, political commentator and fundraiser for Republican candidates with an emphasis on the U.S. Senate.

The late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once observed, “The world hates a Jew who hits back. The world loves us only when we are to be pitied.”

If anyone proves Meir’s point, it is President Joe Biden.

Last week, Biden gave a moving speech at a Holocaust remembrance event. He spoke about the horrors of the Holocaust, the “ferocious surge” of antisemitism we are witnessing on our college campuses and how the events of Oct. 7 were reminiscent of the Holocaust. Not surprisingly, Biden invoked the phrase “Never Again” numerous times to emphasize how deeply he feels about the issue.

I do not doubt his sincerity for a moment. However, Biden’s decision to withhold weapons shipments to Israel that it needs to win its war against Hamas went unmentioned in his speech.

This demonstrates that, while Biden may be deeply disturbed by the mass murder of Jews and the explosion of antisemitism, he fundamentally fails to understand why Israel exists and what the Zionist experiment is about.

Israel is not a living, breathing Holocaust museum dedicated to remembering the mass murder of six million Jews and other iterations of antisemitism over the last 2,000-plus years. It is the Jewish homeland and the living manifestation of Jewish nationalism. In other words, Israel is not about dead Jews. Israel is about living Jews and the future of the Jewish people.  

The foundation of Israel’s right to exist is not the Holocaust. Israel has the right to exist because the Jewish people are a nation like any other. Thus, Jews have a fundamental right to their own state and to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders.

The Holocaust is important to modern-day Israel for many reasons, but one of the most important is that the Holocaust was possible because there was no Israel. Israel exists to ensure that “Never Again” is not merely a slogan. It is not a tool that virtue-signaling politicians can use to cloak their anti-Israel and antisemitic tendencies in soothing kumbaya rhetoric. It means that the Jewish people must be masters of their own destiny. If the Holocaust teaches Jews anything, it teaches that, while being a victim may earn you deep, profound and genuine sympathy, it also leaves you dead.

Today, one is reminded of a 1982 exchange between then-Senator Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin over Israel’s settlement policies and the war in Lebanon. According to Israeli journalist Moshe Zak, who was close to Begin, Biden pounded on the table and threatened a cut-off of American aid.

At the time, Israel was far more dependent on U.S. aid than it is today. Nonetheless, Begin responded, “This desk is designed for writing, not for fists. Don’t threaten us with slashing aid. Do you think that because the US lends us money it is entitled to impose on us what we must do? We are grateful for the assistance we have received, but we are not to be threatened. I am a proud Jew. Three thousand years of culture are behind me, and you will not frighten me with threats.”

No one should doubt Joe Biden’s love for Israel. But it appears that his love is rooted in his pity for the Jewish people. Israel does not need his pity. It needs unquestioning American support in its existential fight for survival.

Israel is hitting back. Biden needs to come to grips with the fact that this is why Israel exists. Until he does, we will continue to see a disconnect between his heartfelt words and his mindless policies.

Israel’s war to destroy Hamas is a moral and strategic imperative. It will happen with or without Biden’s seal of approval.

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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