On the key issues concerning Israel, how would a Biden administration act?
By David Isaac, World Israel News
“Is it good for the Jews?” — that question has been asked in so many places and at so many times that it’s become a punchline. Applied to a potential Biden administration, the answer, unfortunately, isn’t funny.
After four years of basking in a beneficent Trump administration, likely the most pro-Israel in U.S. history, Israel sees storm clouds brewing, which is why unnamed Israeli officials are saying “it could have been worse,” meaning at least the Senate will probably remain Republican.
The fact is, as much as Israel’s government and its American supporters want U.S. support for Israel to remain bipartisan, the Democratic party has been moving away from Israel for some years.
So what would a Biden administration mean for Israel?
Prepare for the U.S. to reenter the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – in President Donald Trump’s words “the worst deal ever negotiated,” under which Iran was allowed to keep its nuclear infrastructure, continue enriching uranium, and proceed with research and development. Prime Minister Netanyahu had made herculean efforts to warn against the deal, telling Congress on March 3, 2015 that “Iran’s regime is as radical as ever.”
Despite the evidence that Trump and Netanyahu were correct, including a treasure trove of damning material spirited out of Iran by the Mossad, Biden has said he wants to return to the deal. “Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden’s foreign policy priority list,” Axios reports.
Biden will have plenty of help from France, Germany and England, all eager to prop up the deal in order to do business with Iran.
What it means for Israel? Nuclear-tipped ayatollahs.
2. Arab-Israel conflict
Trump brought revolutionary thinking to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Even the New York Times admitted:
“President Trump has run roughshod over conventional thinking, advancing key policy aims or fulfilling campaign promises in ways that experts warned could set off a conflagration or blow up in his face. Not only did the predicted disasters not materialize, but in many cases his policies produced demonstrable achievements.”
Trump’s main achievement was overturning the deeply held assumption that peace between Israel and the Arabs went through Ramallah, that only after the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was solved could the Jewish State ever hope to normalize relations with Arab countries. Trump did an end-run around the Palestinians and brokered three peace deals between Israel and Muslim countries.
Never mind that Trump proved it wrong; in a Biden administration, Israel can expect a return to the old way of thinking and the old pattern of excuses for the Palestinians, blame on Israel. Only a few months ago, Biden said Netanyahu “has undermined the stability of self-determination for the Palestinians, undercutting hope for a viable two-state solution any chance that he gets.”
The Palestinians have never left their modus operandi, i.e. not moving an inch in negotiations with a bottom line of the “return of refugees,” which even Israel’s Left identifies as the end of Israel via a demographic tidal wave. Faced with pressure for the first time from a Trump administration, they simply pulled out of any talks.
Under a Biden administration, they’ll be reinvigorated. Biden has promised to reopen the U.S. consulate in eastern Jerusalem and the PLO’s mission in Washington. His running-mate, Kamala Harris, reiterated that mission promise just before the election.
The Obama administration, under which Biden served, mounted unrelenting pressure on Israel. It culminated in, as one Israel supporter writes, “a gratuitous kick to the teeth,” with the U.S. withholding its veto to a UN Security Council vote declaring Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and its ancient homeland in Judea and Samaria a violation of international law.
Since the Palestinians won’t budge, and will receive rewards for their intransigence, all the pressure falls on Israel.
Expect a Biden administration to start where Obama left off.
3. Anti-Jewish elements
The Trump administration took steps to counter anti-Semitism, notably signing an Executive Order Combating Anti-Semitism in December in order to target Jew-hatred on campus. Although smeared by his political opponents as a supporter of white supremacy (Biden flat-out lied when he said Trump has “yet once to condemn white supremacy, the neo-Nazis”), Trump has repeatedly condemned it.
Expect a Biden White House to allow in not just anti-Israel elements, but anti-Jewish ones. Biden first welcomed the support of anti-Semite and BDS activist Linda Sarsour, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention’s Muslim Delegates Assembly. Receiving pushback, Biden distanced himself from Sarsour only to follow up with an apology to Arab and Muslim activists for doing so.
The anti-Semitic Left is growing more vocal in Congress. It’s led by the party’s Young Turks, such as Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Add in Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez after her sponsorship of a bill attempting to hinge U.S. military support on Israeli settlement activity. Their ranks are growing as they will be joined by the likes of pro-BDS Democratic Congresswoman Cori Bush from Missouri.
Those who dismiss these Democratic representatives as ‘only a handful’ miss the point. Omar, Tlaib and their ilk aren’t a few, they’re effective spokespeople for anti-Israel, anti-Semitic attitudes pervasive in the party, a dark current that Democratic leaders may have only themselves become aware of during the 2012 Democratic National Convention when a voice vote spurned language including Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the party platform.
The old guard of the Democratic party fears the new wave. They will placate them on Israel and on other issues.
To borrow from Genesis, Israel has enjoyed four years of plenty under the Trump administration. It’s likely to be followed by four lean years under a Biden administration.
David Isaac is managing editor of World Israel News.