The Growing Moral Confusion over the Gaza War

Almost every war Israel has fought began with IDF victories followed by the U.S. stepping in to call it off and save Israel’s enemies from total defeat. There is reason to believe that the current war has finally reached this moment, following President Biden’s phone call on Thursday with Prime Minister Netanyahu, in which he called for an “immediate ceasefire.” Matthew Continetti comments:

Biden went on to say that “U.S. policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action” and on steps to “address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers.”

This is a demand that Israel appease Hamas at the negotiating table. This is a threat to condition military assistance to Israel based on absolutely no evidence and grounded in a ridiculous and unachievable standard of conduct. The move is cynical, opportunistic, and counterproductive. Biden has lost the plot.

For six months, huge swaths of the press have painted Israel in the worst possible light. . . . Which is why a sense of moral clarity in this conflict is so important. Hamas is evil. Hamas could end the war it started by surrendering its cadres and releasing its prisoners. Hamas refuses. Hamas would rather sacrifice the civilian population of Gaza on the altar of its genocidal ambition and suicidal desires. Hamas brutalizes children, abuses captives, steals food, fires its rockets indiscriminately, wears no uniforms, and hides behind schools, hospitals, and mosques. Hamas does not just commit war crimes. It is a war crime.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship


Israel Can’t Stake Its Fate on “Ironclad” Promises from Allies

Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the Gazan city of Rafah yesterday, suggesting that the campaign there is progressing swiftly. And despite repeatedly warning Jerusalem not to undertake an operation in Rafah, Washington has not indicated any displeasure, nor is it following through on its threat to withhold arms. Even after an IDF airstrike led to the deaths of Gazan civilians on Sunday night, the White House refrained from outright condemnation.

What caused this apparent American change of heart is unclear. But the temporary suspension of arms shipments, the threat of a complete embargo if Israel continued the war, and comments like the president’s assertion in February that the Israeli military response has been “over the top” all call into question the reliability of Joe Biden’s earlier promises of an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. Douglas Feith and Ze’ev Jabotinsky write:

There’s a lesson here: the promises of foreign officials are never entirely trustworthy. Moreover, those officials cannot always be counted on to protect even their own country’s interests, let alone those of others.

Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements, and membership in multilateral organizations. There can be value in such things—and countries do have interests in their reputations for reliability—but one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never “ironclad.”

Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the United States and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship