Congress Dithers While the World Burns

For all the Biden administration’s talk about the need for a ceasefire and a two-state solution, and its recent criticism of Israel’s conduct of the war, it has continued to support the Jewish state in deed. On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Washington has approved a massive shipment of armaments to Israel, and that an internal assessment concluded that their potential use raises no human-rights concerns.

By contrast, the Senate passed a bill last week allocating military aid to Taiwan, Ukraine, and Israel, but it is now being held up by the House of Representatives. Matthew Continetti comments:

The obstacle isn’t substantive. It’s personal. House Speaker Mike Johnson won’t bring the Senate bill to the floor. But he can correct his mistake. And if he chooses not to, then members of both parties should support a discharge petition that would allow the pro-Israel, pro-Ukraine majority to speak.

The world is a dangerous place. America’s allies face existential threats. Vladimir Putin intends to absorb Ukraine into his resurgent Russian empire. Iran’s theocrats seek to destroy the Jewish state by proxy wars and nuclear arms. Xi Jinping wants Beijing to rule Taipei. We owe it to our friends—and to the generations of Americans who sacrificed for peace—to do what we can to deter aggressors.

The critics argue that ending aid will bring the Ukraine war to a close. Not so. Russia will continue to fight. Ukrainians will resist. Even if the combatants agreed to a ceasefire along the current lines of control, Putin would resume the invasion at his convenience. He’s done it before. And he has targets beyond Ukraine. At this moment, Russia is probing Finland and Estonia—NATO members both.

A minority of lawmakers are exploiting their leverage in a historically narrow House majority to paralyze the Congress, abandon our allies, and embolden our adversaries. Americans deserve better. They deserve a voice.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Congress, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy, U.S. Politics, U.S.-Israel relationship, War in Ukraine

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