It is not just me: I doubt that there are very many who are not Islamists or hardcore leftists, or absolutely determined optimists, who smile at the news today.
Across the ocean, America is crumbling at a rate that had not been anticipated even by most of us who knew the situation was going to be bad. American history trashed. Critical Race Theory brought to the army, dividing black soldiers from white, and – terrifyingly – rendering the fighting forces less equipped to do battle. Police, and thus law and order, vilified.
And antisemitism in America???
Writes Jeff Jacoby: “Politicians’ platitudes won’t stem a surge of Jew-hatred unseen in America since World War II.
“Jews constitute just 2 percent of the US population, but they are the victims in more than 60 percent of religion-based hate crimes, according to the FBI’s most recent Hate Crimes Statistics report.“
I had imagined that “Sleepy Joe” would be out of the White House in a matter of months, because of his dementia. But now I find myself hoping he can hang in there for the duration because the prospect that a totally incompetent, sniggering Kamala would replace him is horrendous.
This does not mean, however, that Biden is a friend to Israel! He may have declared himself to be so, and President Rivlin, in a paroxysm of feel-good optimism, may have made a similar declaration when visiting in Washington DC. But the facts tell us otherwise.
There are a number of Biden Administration policy decisions that have already been very problematic for Israel. Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Jewish Policy Center, touches upon these in a recent piece, “Biden Delivers.” It’s the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for whom he delivers. Some of the major Biden policies Bryen mentions (emphasis added):
- “In early April, the administration rolled out a pledge to deliver $75 million to Palestinian areas; plus $40 million for security assistance; $150 million to UNRWA…”
- “References to Palestinian incitement to violence against Jews and Israelis over the past seven months have been deleted from the State Department’s mandated report to Congress on Palestinian violence.”
- Since the conflict in Gaza in mid-May…”the administration has advanced the idea of an ‘extra’ $57 million to be funneled through the P.A. and UNRWA…to Gaza. This despite the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) saying that State Department reporting on textbooks for Palestinian students was ‘problematic’ (read: ‘ignored blatant incitement to violence, anti-Semitic and historically inaccurate).”
- “As a further gift to Abbas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested the United States would reopen the Jerusalem Consulate, closed (as would be normal in every other country) when the U.S. embassy opened in Jerusalem in May 2018. The consulate had operated as diplomatic representation to the P.A., never reporting through the U.S. embassy, including when it was in Tel Aviv.”
- “In addition, the United States froze the Abraham Fund designed to finance programs in Israel and its Gulf and African partners involved with the Abraham Accords.”
- Bryen also mentions Blinken’s “distress” with the Israeli court decision to evict a handful of Arab squatters and individuals living in four Jewish-owned homes in the Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood of Jerusalem whose leases have run out or who are not paying rent but refuse to leave.
- These evictions, he declared, could lead to “tension, conflict and war,” undermining “even further the difficult prospects for two states.” Thus did he fail to demonstrate respect for legal process in Israel (who cares about Israeli courts?), and the rights of those who own the houses. His readiness to sublimate everything to the interests of the “peace process” is exceedingly disturbing.
- “And, finally, in a move that can only be called disgusting, America announced that it would not raise the issue of the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas since 2014, and the repatriation of two Israeli civilians who are said to suffer from mental illnesses and crossed the border by mistake. While claiming to be sympathetic to Israel’s position, the United States didn’t want to ‘derail’ talks with Hamas about allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza.”
- Bryen also mentions State Department criticism of the razing of the home in Turmus Ayya of Palestinian Arab Muntasir Shalabi, indicted for the killing of Yehuda Guetta in a drive-by shooting at Tapuach Junction in the Shomron, in May.
She notes that the statement from the US embassy in Jerusalem declared, “All sides should refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution; this certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes.” And she observes cynically that “Guetta’s murder, it seems, was not ‘unilateral’ and did not ‘exacerbate tensions.’”
State Department spokesman Ned Price had declared, “We attach a good deal of priority to this, knowing that the home of an entire family shouldn’t be demolished for the action of one individual.”
But Israel’s High Court of Justice had unanimously disagreed, rejecting the appeal of the Shalabi family. The court said the need to provide a deterrent against future attacks was weightier than the need for consideration of the relatives who may have been uninvolved.”
(Again, disrespect for an Israeli court ruling.)
The Shalabi family, attempting to distance themselves from Muntasir, stated that he was almost never in that home; yet evidence was presented proving that he actually owned the residence, had renovated it, and was there often.
It should be noted that the Shalabi family are US citizens. The Guetta family intends to file lawsuits in the US and Israel demanding that Muntasir Shalabi’s assets be seized. “This will be an unprecedented process that will teach terrorists and their handlers that there is no corner of the world where we won’t reach them,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat HaDin legal aid group, representing the family.
“Guetta’s father, Elisha, said “It would be expected that the US, which has often been the victim of terrorism, would stand with terror victims rather than with their murderers.”
In a very recent interview, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said: “When it comes to working with the current American administration, it will be easier for our government.”
I find this to be a particularly revealing statement – even as she means it to be positive. See, she is saying, we can do this better than a Netanyahu-led government could have. We hear that ad nauseam these days in many regards: Netanyahu didn’t succeed here, but watch how well we will do.
But hey! Sometimes challenging a government that is espousing policies that are detrimental to Israel is the appropriate path. I listed above a number of the policies of the Biden administration that are very definitely not in Israel’s best interest. Should “getting along” with the Biden people be a primary goal of our government? Should our government – Heaven forbid – ultimately decide to refrain from evicting illegal tenants in Shimon HaTzadik, or stop demolishing terrorists’ homes to appease Biden?
I know the mental set. It comes out of the left: We’ll be nice, and friendly, and accommodating, and we’ll get more in the end. But sometimes what you get in the end is grief. Netanyahu crossed swords with an anti-Israel Obama many times, and it is to be regretted that Bennett and company may not be ready to do the same with Biden when the situation calls for it.
I want to note a couple of situations in which we already see this policy of “getting along.”
I want to note a couple of situations in which we already see this policy of “getting along.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah II in a phone call to our new president, Yitzhak Herzog, earlier this week, expressed satisfaction with our current government’s efforts to strengthen ties with Jordan.
This enthusiasm was evoked in good part by an agreement struck between Israel and Jordan last week to sell Jordan an additional 50 million cubic meters of water this year.
The 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty stipulated that Israel would provide Jordan with 50 million cubic meters of water annually, and in fact most years we have actually provided more. The current agreement doubles the amount in the treaty (although Jordan must pay for the water). It became public after this deal had been announced, that Bennett had first met secretly with Abdullah.
All well and good, if we have sufficient water, with desalinated supplies, to do this. But the question that jumps out at us is this: If the relationship is to be improved, should there not be mutual accommodations? That is, we gave, but what did we get?
And in point of fact, there are exceedingly serious issues on the table at the moment – issues that impinge on Israel’s security – and the question remains as to whether Prime Minister Bennett, while he is courting friendship with King Abdullah, is paying sufficient attention to them:
“It is now official: Jordan is allied with Iran (emphasis added here and below).
“On June 27, 2021, Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with Iraqi PM Mustafa Kadhimi and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Sisi in Baghdad. The three announced an agreement to cooperate on transporting Iraqi oil through pipelines from Iraq to Jordan to Egypt, from where it will be exported to Europe via the Mediterranean…”
“…this agreement represents King Abdullah’s ‘coming out of the closet’ with the Islamic Republic. Exporting Iraqi oil through Jordan to Europe is simply exporting oil controlled by Iran…
“The day after the announcement, Jordanian state media began promoting full financial cooperation with Iran…
“The monarchy is now supporting a campaign to promote the Shiite faith itself. This kind of religious infiltration is exactly what Iran did in both Syria and Iraq—indeed, this is how it began its pursuit of total control over those countries.”
Jordan is dealing with a number of crises. “King Abdullah believes opening the door to the Shiite regime in Iran will rescue his country from these crises. But this is likely to prove a double-edged sword.”
Yair Lapid went courting to the EU on Monday when he spoke to EU ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. His desire, he told them, was to recalibrate the relationship: a new start with a new government.
Conciliatory words, from our left wing foreign minister. Does he get it, remotely, that while we have friends among individual European states (notably in the east), the EU is anti-Israel and solidly pro-PLO? Does he care?? Did he tell them that their funding of illegal building by the PA in Area C undermines peace?
Nah… What he said was that Israel and the EU share common values, including “human rights, rights for the LGBT community, a commitment to the basic components of democracy…– and fighting together against climate change, international terrorism, racism and extremism.”
Note the buzz words: LGBT community, climate change, racism. If these ministers embrace him it will be because he has moved towards them and not because he will have convinced them of anything.
Most significantly, Lapid said, “It is no secret that I support a two-state solution.”
I sat up when I read this. Who the hell is he?? Is this the policy of our government now?? Has Bennett – who claims he has right wing values – agreed to this? Oh, for this the EU surely loves him. As will Biden and company.
He “explained” that there cannot be a Palestinian state now because it would be a security risk to Israel. True. But he made no case for Israel’s rights to the land, naturally. Because he doesn’t believe in those rights. But I will come back to examine them again, soon. Speaking out for them is a matter of urgency.
According to Middle East Monitor: “This came only one day after his [Lapid’s] meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, in Brussels, where he reiterated to Shoukry the importance of reactivating the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.”
My final message here is that our current government, such as it may be, is a danger to Israel and needs to fall as soon as possible, before real damage is done.
I wrote above about efforts by Bennett and Lapid to play in a conciliatory if not obsequious manner to other nations or organizations, in a deluded attempt to curry favor for Israel.
But there is worse, and it is Bennett and Shaked that I hold responsible directly: The coalition is behaving obsequiously to Mansour Abbas and the Ra’am party. Every time Abbas does not like something, he says he will not support the coalition. But since the numbers are tight they need his votes. And so, time and again they have offered Abbas special deals as incentives – never mind that those incentives are not in the best interest of Israel. In the end, the incentives have proved to be insufficient – but the point here is that Yamina is beholden to Ra’am and this is a huge danger to the country.
The situation is so vastly complex at this point that I will simply summarize. The government had sought to bring forward a renewal of annual legislation on family reunification – this I had written about. The opposition refused to support it – to demonstrate the weakness of the government, which could not garner support from Ra’am for it. The opposition was seeking to bring forward a more extensive immigration law that would be permanent and would enfold family reunification issues.
The family reunification law has now expired. Interior Minister Shaked had promised to bring it up again, with a proposal that it be voted on for a short interval of time, perhaps three months, to allow a committee to meet to discuss changes. (This too represented conciliation to Abbas.) But this has not happened. Shaked has promised many things.
Tonight all hell broke loose in the Knesset. The opposition brought forth a bill that sought to deny residency and citizenship to terrorists. Pretty straight forward. It had been advanced by MK Avi Dichter (Likud) some time ago. Members of Yamina and New Hope (both now part of the coalition) had signed on to the proposal at an earlier date and Ayelet Shaked had called it a proper law.
Dichter decided it was time to bring the bill forward, and Orit Struck (Religious Zionists) worked with him on this.
But when it came time to vote now, those members of Yamina and New Hope did not support it, nor did the centrist and leftist parties of the government.
Said Avi Dichter: “The government has proved today that it is a captive of the Arab parties and that we will have to deal with it…We will not give up. This law will pass.” (Emphasis added)
More, much more to come.