From Israel’s Perspective, Joe Biden Is as Good as It Gets—for a Democrat

Aug. 12 2020

Most Israelis would, if given a choice, want Donald Trump to get another four years in the White House, not because of his domestic policies or his personal style, but because they see him as having been unusually favorable toward their own country. To Shmuel Rosner, this evaluation is essentially correct—but that doesn’t mean a Biden presidency would be disastrous:

As far as Israelis are concerned, Mr. Biden has two disadvantages. He is not Trump, and he is a Democrat. In other words, he is not the candidate they support and he comes from the party many of them distrust. In recent years, there’s been a steady drift of Democratic voters—and some Democratic politicians—away from Israel. They are more likely to say that the United States should be an impartial broker in the Middle East, rather than take Israel’s side—and they tended to oppose recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. So it’s not unjustified for Israelis to worry.

Of course, it would be foolish to predict the exact policies of a Biden administration in the Middle East. But there is history to consider. Biden is hardly a newcomer, after all. [He] understands Israel’s concerns. He understands the need to use force.

Biden could [even] provide an opportunity for Israel to re-emerge as a truly bipartisan cause in America. Biden is a self-defined Zionist and a longtime supporter of Israel familiar with both the issues and the main players, who instinctively understands of the country’s security concerns. Sure, pressures from within the party could be a problem. Sure, there would be thorny disagreements to surmount if he becomes the next president. But from an Israeli perspective, Biden is as good as it gets—for a Democrat.

As for Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as a running mate, Rosner is above all relieved that she got the spot over Susan Rice—who was reportedly under consideration and whose long diplomatic career has established a record of frostiness toward Israel, appeasement of Iran, and ineffective policies. Rosner adds:

Of all the realistic potential Democratic vice-presidential candidates, Senator Harris was Israel’s choice. . . . [L]ike Biden, she is neither an ideologue nor a dreamer. She understands that under certain circumstances there is a need to use force and therefore would be open to the option that Israel occasionally must use force.

Representative Rashida Tlaib once tweeted that Harris’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meant that Harris is no longer “part of the resistance to racism against all people.” That’s another reason for Israelis to be pleased. Not because Tlaib would be unhappy but because Harris was never a part of a group or a movement that targeted Israel as a symbol of misbehavior.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Donald Trump, Joseph Biden, Kamala Harris, Rashida Tlaib, Susan Rice, US-Israel relations

 

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism