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.

Read more at JNS

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

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy