| The Rose Report |

Why Israel Expects More from Biden

Where are the US demands for a Hamas surrender and the unconditional release of all of the kidnapped hostages?


he same week President Biden jumped the gun by prematurely predicting an imminent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, he had to bite the bullet in Michigan, where more than 13% of the state’s Democratic primary voters cast ballots for “uncommitted” as a protest vote against him. Protestors stated beforehand they would have considered their campaign a success with even 10% of the vote.

The protest vote was organized by Arab-Americans and led by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a leader of the progressive, anti-Israel ten-member “Squad”on Capitol Hill. Tlaib represents Michigan’s 12th District, which includes Dearborn, a Detroit suburb the majority of whose 100,000 residents hail from Arab lands in the Middle East and North Africa. The goal was to express displeasure with Biden’s support for Israel and to fire a warning shot to impair his re-election campaign.

By the time you read this, Super Tuesday primaries in 15 states will be over. We should know if Michigan had a snowball effect in the eight Super Tuesday states that also allow uncommitted ballots.

Biden is still winning well over 80% of Democratic votes. There are thornier issues with a larger direct impact on Americans than war in the Middle East that may yet derail his quest for a second term. More Americans care about the porous US-Mexican border than the relatively impermeable border between Egypt and Gaza.

The Biden campaign has belittled the uncommitted vote, which could further alienate those voters come the November general election. There is nothing un-American about voting however your conscience directs you. Jews often cast votes based on a candidate’s support for Israel, and Michigan is also home to more than 105,000 Jewish voters, according to a 2021 American Jewish Population Project at the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis. The Biden campaign needs to take them into account as well, even though they are far less raucous.

Michigan is a swing state with 15 electoral votes. Biden won Michigan by less than 3% in 2020, while Donald Trump bested Hillary Clinton by just 0.5% in 2016. Trump leads Biden by a slim 3% in the Real Clear Politics Average poll, so the Wolverine State is again in play.

The uncommitted voter of today could be a no-show in November, or, even worse from Biden’s perspective — a vote for Trump.

From an Israeli perspective — and Israel also has a pool of 200,000 American expats eligible to vote in November who can influence the election in a few swing states — Biden’s failure to make a sweeping commitment to Israel is a crack in America’s moral armor and potentially lethal for Israel.

Even after most of Israel’s political parties unified after October 7, declaring that Israel was about to embark on a war for its existence, the Biden administration has applied ongoing pressure for Israel to wage that war on American terms.


Support Is Sorely Lacking

The picture in Israel today might be far different if the administration had firmly committed itself to the moral clarity that informed US foreign policy when they saved the planet in the First and Second World Wars.

Not a day goes by without a high-level administration official or spokesman admonishing Israel about its use of force, questioning its adherence to international law regarding humanitarian assistance, or heaping criticism on Israel’s center-right-religious governing coalition. The latter is a display of arrogance and disrespect for the will of the voters in the Middle East’s only Western-style democracy.

In the same breath, the Biden administration has little to say about 17 years of Hamas rule, which turned private homes, mosques, schools, and playgrounds into arsenals and underground fortresses to facilitate the movement of terrorists, kidnap and hide hostages, while using their citizenry as human shields. Was this not a humanitarian crisis? Where was the outcry?

All the misplaced pressure on Israel should be refocused on Hamas. Where are the US demands for a Hamas surrender and the unconditional release of all of the kidnapped hostages?

Why is the Biden administration, cheered on by progressive Congressional Democrats, threatening to condition future military aid to Israel on its bowing to US dictates, when the administration gifted Qatar with a ten-year extension of the US military base in Doha without preconditions? The administration allows Qatar to keep up its duplicitous diplomacy, enabling them to finance Hamas while pretending to be unbiased negotiators in the hostage crisis.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken traipses the Middle East as if he’s out to shatter John Kerry’s record for frequent flier miles, insisting that only a Palestinian state situated alongside shrunken Israeli borders can provide Israel with long-term security. Did the US cede Hawaii to Japan after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor?

While Biden rages at Binyamin Netanyahu and portrays him as the region’s intransigent bogeyman, he ignores a century of Arab rejectionism of any compromise solution that would have solved the conflict and legitimized the Jewish presence in our ancient homeland.


Rebutting the President

We should get more clarity, even if it’s not of the moral type of Biden’s Middle East positions from Thursday night’s State of the Union address. Most observers will watch Biden’s presentations for clues of his mental acuity. In this case, it will be how he says it, rather than what he says, that will make a more lasting impact.

Senator Katie Britt, an Alabama Republican, is scheduled to make the rebuttal after Biden’s speech. The opposition party often hands the rebuttal assignment to a politician they want to showcase. Britt’s name has appeared on some lists as a potential running mate for Donald Trump, although at this stage of her career, at age 41, she’s a longshot.

Serving her first term in office, Sen. Britt landed a high-profile position on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over America’s southern border.

She will probably have what to say about Israel’s border as well. Britt was part of a delegation of senators and other US lawmakers who visited Israel two weeks after the October 7 attacks. She showed real empathy for the Jewish victims and demonstrated the moral clarity that has gone AWOL at the White House.

In an interview with CBS News upon her return home, Britt said she believes in religious tolerance but refuses to accept that good can co-exist with evil.

“When evil raises its head, we must look it in the eye and take it down,” Britt said, “Dismantling Hamas is imperative for peace to prosper and we must have the courage to do so.”


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1002)

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