OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

Biden’s glass White House

Israel is a convenient punching bag to divert attention from the administration’s failed policies.

Palestinians outside the headquarters of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Askar refugee camp, east of Nablus, on May 8, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Palestinians outside the headquarters of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Askar refugee camp, east of Nablus, on May 8, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard is a foreign-policy analyst and an authority on U.S.-Israel relations who has written and edited 22 books, including The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews and After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.

So far, U.S. President Joe Biden has been good about withholding criticism of Israel publicly despite the Netanyahu government doing everything it can to provoke him. Other than expressing concern about judicial reform and the hope of a compromise, the U.S. president seems content to convey his disapproval by denying Netanyahu an invitation to the White House. Other administration members have demonstrated far less restraint and have been casting stones at Israel as if Netanyahu was a target at a dunking booth.

The Arabists were primed for vengeance when Biden brought them back to the fore of Middle East policymaking, and they have been doing their best to wreak havoc. Here are just a few examples of what their policies have wrought:

  • Alienating the Saudis to the detriment of our economy and the opportunity to expand the Abraham Accords.
  • Subsidizing the murder of Americans and Israelis by restoring funding for the Palestinians.
  • Ensuring the Palestinian refugee problem will remain unsolved by resuming support for UNRWA.
  • Inspiring jihadis by the precipitous and disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • Emboldening Iran by failing to stop its nuclear program’s advancement or responding to Iran-sponsored attacks on U.S. forces and now offering a multibillion-dollar windfall in exchange for more lies about their pursuit of a bomb.

Meanwhile, Israel is a convenient punching bag to divert attention from their failed policies.

While the administration has stood up for Israel at the United Nations, it has also behaved much like the international antisemites by singling out Israel for condemnation from the State Department podium. No other Western government is treated with such disrespect.

As I noted in an earlier column, the administration had no trouble telling Netanyahu to respond to protests by compromising on judicial reform being pursued democratically while making no such suggestion to the president of France, who was facing even larger protests for his unilateral actions.

Israel’s democracy is being questioned even as former President Barack Obama is telling CNN: “Our existing democratic institutions are creaky, and we’re going to have to reform them.”

Efforts to reform the Israeli judiciary are met with derision while Americans are helpless to reform their Supreme Court while it dispenses with precedent, ignores public opinion, and displays a disregard for ethical boundaries. The process for appointing Israeli justices is being criticized by a country where a single partisan politician prevented the appointment of a justice by inventing a rule that he immediately broke when it was no longer to his advantage.

Israel’s behavior towards immigrants is being criticized, and the State Department suggested that Israel’s policies have increased their vulnerability to sex trafficking. While attacking Israel, the Department did not acknowledge that its reports indicate that thousands of people are trafficked in the United States.

The situation at the U.S. border is a horror show that has only gotten worse under this administration. Just one example: The Department of Homeland Security removed the top medical official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection following the death of an 8-year-old girl held in U.S. custody at a border station in Texas. U.S. officials should be the last ones to criticize others for the way they secure their borders.

Israel was falsely accused of targeting and killing Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and harangued about ensuring the safety of reporters. In America, Vox noted, “journalists have been targeted by police, facing arrest, detention, and violence, including being pepper sprayed and shot by rubber bullets.” While Abu Akleh was killed amid gunfire during a counterterror operation, Vox reported that “Ali Velshi and his MSNBC camera crew were shot at by Minneapolis police live on the air while covering a peaceful protest.”

The United States is also in no position to be lecturing Israel about how to fight terror, given the number of police who have killed unarmed individuals like George Floyd, who posed no threat to the officers. Since 2015, more than 500 of those shot were unarmed. We also hear a lot of concern for civilians injured in Israeli counterterror operations. Do you know how many civilians are injured from contact with American law enforcement? According to the University of Chicago, the number of non-fatal injuries in 2020 was 82,769. Since 1979, more than 5,000 bystanders have been killed during police pursuits, most involving suspects of non-violent crimes.

The double standard is even more dramatic in the administration’s focus on Israel’s behavior compared to that of the Palestinians. This was evident again in the reaction of the U.S. ambassador to the murder of four Israelis by Palestinian terrorists, which he lumped together with casualties in the West Bank. This administration cannot distinguish between good and evil, terrorists and innocents.

The United States is a great country, if not the greatest, in the world. But it is imperfect. Israel is a great country that is also imperfect and is well aware of its shortcoming, and it is not only the United States that is eager to highlight them.

The State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, Deborah Lipstadt, should inform her colleagues they are engaging in antisemitism by singling out Israel for opprobrium and applying double standards to the only Jewish state. They wouldn’t want cracks to develop in the White House.

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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