OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

Israel should do even when Biden says ‘don’t’

The president’s self-defeating foreign policy must be defied with massive retaliation against Iran.

U.S. President Joe Biden on the South Lawn of the White House on June 22, 2023. Credit: Muhammad Aamir Sumsum/Shutterstock.
U.S. President Joe Biden on the South Lawn of the White House on June 22, 2023. Credit: Muhammad Aamir Sumsum/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.

After Iran attacked Israel last weekend, the White House leaked that President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to retaliate against Tehran. “You got a win. Take the win,” Biden reportedly said.

Despite Biden’s instructions, Israel must retaliate. And it must do so forcefully.

The Iranian attack could have caused thousands of deaths. If the only Jewish state in the world is to survive, it must never allow such attacks to be normalized. Being on perpetual defense is a strategy for losers. Eventually, rockets will get through and many thousands will die. Thus, Israel must go on offense and stay on offense. It is the mullahs who must be forced into a defensive crouch. They must believe that if they lash out again, the entire Iranian regime is at risk.

Biden’s plea for Israel to turn the other cheek should surprise no one. The Biden administration has followed this path of weakness and appeasement from its first day in office with horrendous consequences. Indeed, because the administration failed to enforce sanctions on the Iranian regime and delivered billions of dollars in sanctions relief to the Islamic Republic, the American taxpayer essentially helped pay for Iran’s attack on Israel.

Worse still, it appears that Biden told Iran that the U.S. would not participate in any retaliation and did so before Iran attacked Israel. In other words, Iran launched the attack already knowing that America had sidelined itself and would likely try to limit Israel’s response.

In other words, Biden proved once again that his administration firmly believes in Israel’s right to self-defense so long as it is never exercised.

The same holds regarding Gaza, where the administration is preventing a Rafah operation that could finally destroy Hamas. Israel can fight but cannot be allowed to win. Victory must always be elusive.

It appears that, to the Biden administration, the only thing worse than losing a war is winning it. This is the only explanation for its otherwise baffling foreign policy missteps.

For example, Ukraine is allowed to defend itself against Russia, but it cannot be allowed to defeat Russia because victory could “escalate” the conflict. After initially offering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “a ride” and encouraging him to quickly surrender to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, the Biden administration adopted a strategy that has been the epitome of a day late and a dollar short. Even after Congress authorized every penny the administration requested, Biden slow-walked delivery of the funds and equipment. When they finally arrived, Biden placed significant restrictions on how any weapons systems could be used.

In other words, under Biden, a stalemate is the best Ukraine can hope for. Putin knows the administration will always tie one hand behind Ukraine’s back, so he will drive a hard bargain if he proves willing to negotiate at all. Ukraine may not lose, but Biden will make sure it cannot win.

Worst of all, our own troops are not allowed to defend themselves for fear of “escalation.” Biden’s utter failure to protect American service members in Syria and Iraq provides the perfect example. Our troops have faced over 200 attacks by Iran and its terrorist proxies since Oct. 7. 2023. Not once have we attacked Iran, even though we know that it funds, arms and directs the attacks. If we will not defend our own troops, why would any friend or foe expect the U.S. to support an ally on the cusp of victory?

Contrary to the Reagan doctrine of “peace through strength,” Biden has given us the doctrine of “war from weakness.” Biden effectively summed up the Biden Doctrine in a single word: “Don’t.” Don’t retaliate, don’t respond, don’t provoke, don’t escalate and, worst of all, don’t hurt their feelings or get them angry. Unfortunately, Biden’s admonition is directed only at America and its allies, not America’s enemies.

Israel cannot allow itself to be constrained by such a self-defeating worldview. In the face of Biden’s “don’t,” Israel must do whatever it needs to do to safeguard its national security.

Here is a suggestion: Israel should launch a massive cyber-attack and turn off the lights in Tehran for a day or two. At the same time, it should destroy Iran’s drone-making capabilities. Not only will this send a message to the ayatollah, but it would help save lives in Ukraine and frustrate the Russian war effort. Perhaps even Joe Biden could support that.

But don’t bet on it.

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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