The Good News and the Bad about Joe Biden’s Defense of American Military Aid to Israel

After the Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg advocated withholding aid to the Jewish state to punish it for one infraction or another, Joe Biden, the current frontrunner, called the suggestion “absolutely outrageous.” Supporters of Israel from both parties should be relieved that Biden is willing to stand up to the party’s left wing on this issue, writes Jonathan Tobin. But the good news ends there:

Pro-Israel Democrats should worry that their champion is the candidate who has been steadily losing ground since the race began in earnest over the summer. While Biden’s pro-Israel rhetoric is supported by 43 percent of Democrats, according to a Gallup poll, . . . it may also, like Biden himself, better represent the Democrats’ past than their future.

Biden is no longer the odds-on favorite to win the nomination. He’s trailing in the key early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as flopping in the competition for campaign donations. Right now, the momentum is on the side of his more liberal rivals: Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg. That quartet make up the top tier of the Democratic field, and if the still large cast of also-rans drop out in the early going next year, that could leave Biden as the sole occupant of the moderate lane in the primaries.

In a competition with far more extreme critics of Israel than he ever was, Biden is the best that pro-Israel Democrats, who once dominated their party, . . . can muster. It is on his aging and uncertain shoulders that the fate of the Democrats as a pro-Israel party rests. That’s a prospect that should scare friends of the Jewish state, no matter which party they support.

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More about: Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Joseph Biden, Pete Buttigieg, US-Israel relations

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror