By Larry Gordon
As we have learned over the last few weeks, the most pressing and vital issues of the day are determined, to an extent, by the level of media coverage.
The scourge of COVID continues to wreak havoc in many parts of our country and the world, though the situation is dramatically different than it was last year at this time.
At the same time, with the chaos in Kabul dominating the news, it has been near impossible for much about COVID numbers to push its way back to the top of broadcast or print news.
As this newspaper hits the stands, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will be in Washington for a meeting with President Biden. We all know that the danger in what should have been a routine meeting is that Biden’s rapidly failing presidency places Israel, and especially the new government of Israel, in a risky position.
Traditionally, failing Democratic administrations—from Clinton to Obama and now Biden—always try to achieve an elusive foreign policy success at Israel’s expense. That is the danger that Mr. Bennett has to be aware of. In previous times, the diplomatic ping-pong match was about the semantics of two states on the land of Israel. Biden or his people will likely bring that up to Bennett, but these days there is much more at stake.
Now the smart but inexperienced new prime minister will have to deal with the increasing danger emanating from Iran combined with the newly discovered extreme American weakness. This for Israel is a double-barrel danger.
According to those around the prime minister, he plans to present to Mr. Biden Israel’s plan to deal with the nuclear threat posed to Israel by Iran. Unfortunately, the way things are set up in the Biden administration that might not be such a good idea, unless Bennett and his people are smart enough not to present the Americans with the real plan. Joe Biden on a good day is very close to former Secretary of State John Kerry, who has unusually close ties to officials in Iran. So it’s not a good idea—these days, anyway—to be too open with the U.S., and that in and of itself is tragic.
At present, considering what is taking place in Afghanistan, with so many American and Afghani lives in danger, as well as the chaos at our southern border, it is very difficult to fathom that major decisions like these are being left to Mr. Biden to decide. With each passing day, fewer and fewer people find that believable.
The question to be analyzed over the next few days is whether the Biden administration can add its policy on Israel to the wild and irresponsible foreign policies that have so far been its hallmark.
At the centerpiece of a U.S. policy shift on Israel is the status of Jerusalem. Many of us may have thought that in the aftermath of the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the issue of the status of the city is now ancient history. In fact, we probably now have a greater appreciation for the breath of air and relief that the Trump policies provided Israel and all of us who care deeply about the safety of the Jewish state.
During the four years of the Trump administration, under the guidance of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the consulate on Agron Street was overseen by the U.S. Embassy in the city. Since the end of the Trump administration and the implementation of new Biden policies, the objective is to turn the Agron Street consulate into an independent embassy-like entity that serves Palestinians and the non-existent state of Palestine exclusively.
According to the Israeli press, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Israel’s Defense Secretary Benny Gantz on his recent trip to Washington that this will be the American intent. The good news is that this is really nothing new. This idea of treating half of Jerusalem like it is the capital of Palestine is a page out of the old, worn, and tired Democratic political playbook. It has never worked yet and will probably not work in the future.
And that is the good news about the matters that Israel will be dealing with under the Biden administration going forward. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority that looks forward to the arrival of Democrat-oriented administrations in DC has to know that there is no hope for anything of substance to originate from this White House.
This matter of Joe Biden being a great and longtime friend of Israel is just as irrelevant as just about everything else from this administration. That Biden was a senior senator, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and cast all the right votes in support of Israel over the last 50 years no longer has any bearing on anything.
Looking back, we can recall that both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama tried everything to reshape the Middle East and at the same time reduce the size and footprint of Israel. The failed, even though they invested an immense amount of effort and power into the process.
One thing was always certain—the U.S. was there to protect and defend our allies. Today the Taliban, the Iranians, and others seeking to undermine freedom in our world are on the verge of being able to declare victory against the U.S. Add to the infamous list Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Authority. They know that Joe Biden and the U.S. military are willing to back off and give up.
At the beginning of the current Afghan crisis, Biden attempted to detract from the essential disaster by speaking to the American people about getting the vaccine and wearing masks. I don’t think Biden is capable of deciding that he can change the national conversation by talking about masks instead of an impending catastrophe in Afghanistan. But someone in that White House must have thought that this strategy might work, that it was worth a shot. So they sent the president out there in front of the cameras to do that, and it left everyone aghast. Tens of thousands of people’s lives are in danger and the president of the United States comes out to talk about how important it is to keep your nose covered, like we never heard it before.
Many believe that the Biden White House is being run by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and former President Obama. Those two have nothing politically to lose and are taking their worst policies from when they were in office and sending Joe Biden out to say and do the most ridiculous things.
Taking all this into consideration, it just might be a very good time for Naftali Bennett to sit side by side with Joe Biden in the White House. That’s because whatever this president, or his secretary of state, or anyone on his foreign-policy team says or does will not be taken very seriously.
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