Israel’s advocates offer political cover to Biden over embarrassing trip – Mondoweiss

Posted By on July 19, 2022

Joe Bidens trip to Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia has been something of a fiasco back home. His fist bump with the murderous Saudi Crown Prince was widely criticized, even by mainstream media, because Biden spent a ton of political capital without much in return; oil prices went up.

He made similar concessions to Israels rightwing leadership, saying nothing about the occupation or illegal settlements or the killing of Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh, while he gushed over his Israeli hosts including a warm meeting with disgraced former PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden could not even push to reopen the consulate serving Palestinians in Jerusalem, lest he offend the Israeli government. Rep. Rashida Tlaib called the visit ill-conceived.

But Israelis exulted over the trip, and now Biden has gotten rave reviews from the organized Jewish community.

The American Jewish Committee celebrated the advances in the Saudi-Israel relationship. So did AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League. And the official Jewish Democratic Party organization (the JDCA) cheered the trip, with two former U.S. ambassadors applauding the growing normalization between Israel and the Saudis and saying not a word about Israels killing of Abu Akleh, during more than an hours discussion.

The White House has reflected the Israel lobby line. It has tried to salvage victory from the trip by bragging about warming Israel-Saudi relations when Jake Sullivan and I gaggled on the plane when the President flew from Israel to Saudi Arabia, that was a historic flight, Bidens press secretary said.

The trip has been tough on liberal Zionists. The scholar Dov Waxman said that the trip showed the U.S. has given up any pretense of pushing for a two-state solution. And J Street issued a statement about the trip admitting that it fell well short on any measures that would bring about Palestinian freedom. Though J Street grasped at an upside Bidens lip service to a two-state solution.

Here are some of the center-right wing celebrations of the trip.

Former ambassador Martin Indyk told the Jewish Democratic Council that the trip was a great success because Israelis were overjoyed with Bidens love for them.

Israelis have a bottomless desire to be loved by U.S. presidents. It doesnt matter how much else you do for them, its the love they want to feel.

On that same call, Dan Shapiro of the Atlantic Council said Biden bowled Israelis over with the depth and the breadth and the sweep of his relationship to the country, and the big win for Israel was normalization the emergence of a regional coalition of Israel and Arab monarchies, ala ASEAN.

Cameron Brown of AIPAC said that rightwing organization could not have asked for more from Biden.

If you had been the presidents speechwriter I think you would have been hard pressed to write a better speech [than what Biden gave upon his arrival], for the things we believe in, he said.

If you had been the presidents speechwriter I think you would have been hard pressed to write a better speech, for the things we believe in.

In that speech, Biden described the U.S.-Israel relationship as bipartisan and bone deep. Then there was the Jerusalem Declaration issued the next day by Biden and Israeli PM Yair Lapid. Brown said the denunciation of BDS as a terrible thing that both countries have to fight against I dont think we could have asked for more.

The Jerusalem Declaration was also heartwarming to center-left Zionists: Yossi Alpher at Americans for Peace Now called the Declaration a strategically pleasing feature of a visit that also included an awful lot of schmalz and kitsch designed to warm Jewish hearts.

And designed to militarize the Middle East against Iran. Shapiro and AIPACs man Brown both exulted in Israel getting arms deals with Arab countries, and advancing laser weapons systems that even the United States cannot match.

Meanwhile, Brown and Shapiro and Indyk all insulted Palestinians. As I noted, in discussing the trip, neither Shapiro nor Indyk mentioned Shireen Abu Akleh, let alone Israels impunity for killing the journalist two months ago, a source of rage to Palestinians that Biden fumblingly tried to address in a Bethlehem appearance with P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas.

While the AIPAC official said Bidens message was that Palestinians are irrelevant in the new Middle East.

The Palestinians have become increasingly less relevant. The reason that countries want to move forward with Israel is that theyre tired of waiting for the Palestinians to get on board.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman, also cheered the Biden trip on the JDCA call and said the message is that American politicians must not quarrel about Israel. This statement by Wasserman Schultz is pretty astounding in its arrogance about Israels political rights here:

Its important for me to stress that all the progress we have made is really dependent on our maintaining Israel as outside of American political decision-making. It hurts Israel for us to become political and to try to use it as a strategic weapon to have one side best the other.

Liberal Zionists were not so cheerful. Here is part of Dov Waxmans thread saying the U.S. has given up on a two-state solution:

If nothing else, President Bidens brief visit to Israel and Palestine confirms the fact that the US has given up any serious effort to reach a two-state solution. When Biden came into office, many hoped that he would reverse Trumps policies and renew US efforts to reach a two-state solution, before it was too late (if it isnt already too late) [Biden] has not delivered on most of its promises to the Palestinians (reopening consulate in Jerusalem and PLO office in DC, etc.).The administration preferred to keep the now defunct Bennett-Lapid government in power over pressuring it to make concessions to the Palestinians or holding it accountable for Israeli human rights violations. Now that it is 100% clear that neither a Democratic or Republican administration will prioritize reaching a two-state solution, let alone pressure Israel to make this happen, the Palestinians will reevaluate their options and growing numbers will turn towards a one-state solution

J Street tried to revive the two-state solution in its comments on the trip:

Its more than welcome for J Street to see the President reaffirm his commitment to a two-state solution with borders based on the pre-1967 Green Line with land swaps. This effectively rolls back the position taken by the Trump administration and returns the US to alignment with the rest of the world. It was also notable that Israels new Prime Minister Yair Lapid stated publicly his belief that a two-state solution is a guarantee for a strong, democratic Israel. These are words not heard from an Israeli leader in nearly 14 years.

But J Street lamented Bidens politeness. There is no reason to shy away from using the term occupation to describe what is happening on the West Bank and in Gaza.

Of course the left now uses different terms to describe what is happening: apartheid. And by refusing to give any oxygen to the liberal Zionist camp, Biden has made the left that much more relevant. The ADL said the trip has caused a spike in anti-Zionist rhetoric, and it has a point. Biden has only fostered the very process Debbie Wasserman Schultz says he beat back: politicization of Israel in the U.S.

h/t Dave Reed, Adam Horowitz, Yumna Patel, Mariam Barghouti, Michael Arria.

This movement needs a newsroom that can cover all of Palestine and the global Palestinian freedom movement.

The Israeli government and its economic, cultural, and political backers here in the U.S. have made a decades-long investment in silencing and delegitimizing Palestinian voices.

Were building a powerful challenge to those mainstream norms, and proving that listening to Palestinians is essential for moving the needle.

Become a donor today and support our critical work.

Continued here:

Israel's advocates offer political cover to Biden over embarrassing trip - Mondoweiss

Related Post


Comments are closed.