So far, US President Joe Biden has puzzled his left-wing critics by experimenting with a domestic agenda that is very bold for lifelong centrists and traditional Democrats. His stimulus and infrastructure bills promote an unabashed freedom agenda. Although the voting rights and environmental bills he favored depend on the cooperation of more conservative Democrats such as Joe Manchin, the direction is clear.
Biden has obviously learned important lessons from the Obama era. Tactically speaking, he didn’t seem to want to get caught up in futile negotiations with malicious Republicans. In essence, he did not apologize or downplay policies that both basic and intermediate voters like, such as raising the minimum wage or increasing taxes on high-income earners.
In both respects, Biden differs from his two most direct Democratic predecessors in the White House, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, who often act as if their first priority is to obtain approval from the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
All this is good news. However, in the field of foreign policy, at least with regard to Israel and Palestine, Biden is still a Democrat in the 1990s, that is to say, an unreserved and uncritical supporter of Israel. His government’s response or lack of response to the latest round of Israeli atrocities—from forced evictions to the leveling of residential apartment buildings and media offices—is shameful.
If Biden adopts the same posture on the Israeli-Palestinian issue that has been more commonly adopted since taking office, the foreign policies of the Palestinians, Israel, the Middle East, and the United States will all be in a healthier position: fearless, advancing with the times, and Respond to the base.
The moral and strategic failure of Israel’s U.S. policy
Of course, if the United States had any humanitarian or moral reason to clearly stand on Israel’s side, it would have been extinguished a long time ago. Despite the propaganda rhetoric to the contrary, more than half a century ago, the image of the brave little Israel was haunted by enemy nations that wished to erase it from the map.
The brutality of Israel’s occupation and the ruthlessness of its settlement projects, not to mention its status as the sole nuclear power in the Middle East, makes it a ruthless bully rather than an unfortunate victim. When this kind of rhetoric is more suitable for Palestinians, it will never stop hearing the language of the victims by Israel’s staunchest supporters in the United States and elsewhere.
In addition to the obvious and obvious moral taint, the U.S. continuously subsidizing Israel’s bad behavior has little strategic benefit to the U.S. The only thing it gets is negative news.
Washington’s reluctance to deal with conflicts more fairly, or even to imply that Israel is subject to the usual transactional nature of international politics, should be surprising to few people. There is no collective willingness within the Ring Road to publicly criticize Israel’s actions, such as those we saw last month. Although under Trump/Kushner’s approach, US support for Israel has become ridiculous and almost stupid, but since 2016, blank checks have become a modus operandi in the relationship between the United States and Israel.
Promote fair international and domestic incentives
If Biden hopes to change course from these long-standing moral and strategic failures, then the three developments together provide an opportunity to do so.
The first is geopolitics: the past decade has overturned many traditional camps in the Middle East. The Arab Spring, the rise of ISIL, the Iran nuclear deal, and changes in the domestic distribution of major regional powers such as Turkey have all brought the former alliance into chaos and produced alternative arrangements. Are Turkey and the United States friends because of common NATO members or rivals because of the Syrian civil war? Saudi Arabia and Israel are enemies because they have not had formal diplomatic relations, or are they partners, because how do they view Iran?
Because the Palestinian issue has less resonance, it is no longer the central fault line in the region-if nothing else, Trump’s hyped “Abraham Agreement” confirms the symbolic demotion of the Palestinians in the Arab capital-Biden The government should have more room for maneuver.
The second structural change is the domestic politics of the United States. Israel has gone from a problem of a heated and sharp consensus between the two parties to a problem with more partisan influence. This is partly because the political mobilization of a new generation of liberals was hatched in an era of black fate and systemic inequality, and partly because of Benjamin Netanyahu’s abominable character, his dislike and dislike of Barack Obama. Democratic voters have not easily forgotten the full support of Donald Trump from one right-wing nationalist to another right-wing nationalist. In summary, these developments mean that Israel can no longer count on broad support from all political fields.
In addition to the partisan perspective, the media and cultural environment in the United States is more conducive to a more balanced approach.
To be sure, the dominant weight of the report continues to support Likud or AIPAC-style talking points. But print, television, and social media are all emerging. The New York Times and MSNBC are broadcasting Palestinian voices. Mainstream Democrats such as Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy are working with people such as Bernie Sanders and so-called squad members (Alexandra O Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, or Rashida Tlaib together opposed the unconditional support of the United States for Israel. Supporting the rights and dignity of Palestinians is no longer a marginal position.
The third force that prompted Israel to change course was the global reputation of the United States. The Biden administration has always spared no effort to emphasize that Trump is an abnormal person, especially for external audiences. Regardless of the truthfulness of this statement-in important domestic and international arenas, Trump is a continuation of American politics, not a contradiction-Trump is almost a show of disregard for human rights for Biden Provides an excellent opportunity. If he really wants to prove that “America is back” and will never see anything like Trump or Trumpism again, then what better way than to hold Israel accountable?
Biden’s appalling record in Israel
Nonetheless, even if the political cost of Israeli policy changes has been reduced, Biden will be one of the most unlikely leaders to use. In short, he has a shocking record when confronting Israel.
As the vice president of Barack Obama, Biden has repeatedly weakened his boss’s policy toward Israel, either publicly or privately. For example, throughout 2009 and 2010, Biden advised Obama to oppose his strategy of publicly applying pressure on Netanyahu to freeze settlements, but instead urged “no daylight” between the United States and Israel.
In 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Netanyahu on the phone to completely freeze the settlements and reliably assured him that he would advance negotiations on a two-State solution. Biden then called a more conciliatory Call to encourage Netanyahu to ignore what he saw as a divided government. Likewise, Biden opposed Obama’s 2016 desire to abandon rather than veto a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
Recently, on the eve of the 2020 general election, progressives believed that they had been assured that the party’s program at the convention would include references to Palestinians under “occupation” for the first time in history. But Biden personally intervened to ensure that the word was deleted.
Be bold, Joe
In general, Biden is unwilling to exert even the slightest pressure on Israel. His actions reflect his enduring view that the Palestinians are not worth spending political capital to truly advance their aspirations.
This timidity is wrong in 2021. No one expects that the United States will vocally support the establishment of a Palestinian state like Kosovo, or sanction Israel like Venezuela.
But at least, the United States can provide billions of dollars in aid and advanced military equipment on the condition that Israel does not violate US official policies. It can show in its words that it also cares about the lives of Palestinians and Israel’s “right to self-defense”. It can stop providing diplomatic protection to Tel Aviv at the United Nations, where it consistently vetoed resolutions condemning Israeli actions. And it can stop sitting idly by when the client’s country commits serious human rights violations and war crimes, even far away from its self-proclaimed values or interests.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.