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Biden's UN Betrayal Of Israel Is A Fundamental Shift

News Image By Jonathan Tobin/JNS.org March 28, 2024
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Don't believe the Biden administration's claim that it hasn't changed its stance on Israel's war on Hamas. The U.S. abstention on the vote in the U.N. Security Council for an "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza isn't just a routine political or diplomatic maneuver. It's a fundamental betrayal of the U.S.-Israel alliance, whose consequences go far beyond the immediate circumstances in which the White House believes that its political interests require it to force the Jewish state to give up its goal of eliminating Hamas from the Gaza Strip.

Rather than merely sacrificing Israel's security, it is also handing a major victory to both Hamas and its Iranian allies. With the United Nations demanding an end to the war, there is no reason for Hamas to stop trying to hold onto those parts of Gaza it still controls. 

Nor is there any reason for it to release the hostages it still holds captive except for a deal that will force Israel to acquiesce to a return, in one form or another, to the pre-Oct. 7 status quo. That will ensure that it gets away with having committed the largest mass slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, as well as asserting its primacy over Palestinian politics for the foreseeable future.

That doesn't just expose the administration's supposed quest for Middle East peace as a sham, since it is essentially anointing an organization pledged to Israel's destruction and Jewish genocide as the primary voice of Palestinian nationalism. It also sends a signal to the region and the rest of the world that the United States is no longer interested in defeating Islamist terrorism or in keeping faith with allies.

A two-faced strategy

Security Council resolutions have the force of international law, and if Israel continues its operations to eliminate Hamas--as its government has rightly said it must--this resolution could be used as a basis for international sanctions against the Jewish state. 

Yet the Biden administration claimed that the resolution, which called for a cessation of fighting for the remaining two weeks of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (though the world body had nothing to say about Muslim attacks on Jewish holidays like Simchat Torah, the day of the Oct. 7 atrocities), as well as the release of the hostages and for the free flow of aid into Gaza, is "non-binding." In this way, it continues to try and talk out of both sides of its mouth about the war--on the one hand seeking to stop Israel from winning while claiming on the other that it's still a faithful ally.


Given that Hamas has not ceased its violence and continues to hold Israeli hostages, it can be argued that Israel has a legal right to continue its battle. But Israel's enemies around the world--at the United Nations and in the United States--aren't interested in the fine points of international law. What they want is for the fighting to conclude with Hamas still standing with the ability to regroup and rearm, and make good on its promises to keep killing Jews.

While the U.N. vote must be considered a turning point in the history of relations between the United States and Israel, it cannot be considered a surprise. President Joe Biden has been steadily walking away from his initial pledges of support for Israel after the Oct. 7 massacre. 

At the time, Biden didn't just condemn the barbaric terrorist attacks on 22 Israeli communities in southern Israel that left more than 1,200 Israelis dead, with thousands wounded and more than 250 others dragged into captivity in Gaza. He agreed with Israel's government that Hamas, which had governed Gaza as an independent Palestinian state in all but name since 2007, must be eliminated. 

Letting Hamas get away with murder

Ever since then, Biden and his foreign-policy team have shown themselves to be more worried about conforming to a narrative in which the suffering that the Palestinians brought upon themselves by starting a war that included rape, torture and firebombing homes, in addition to killing and kidnapping, invalidates Israel's right of self-defense or any accountability for barbaric crimes.

The notion that Israel's counter-offensive into Gaza was "over the top," as Biden mischaracterized it (let alone the big lie put forward by Hamas propagandists and their Western dupes that it was "genocide") remains contrary to the facts. Though many Palestinians have died, Israel's efforts have been more measured than those of any other modern army faced with similar issues related to urban warfare and resulted in historically low levels of civilian casualties relative to those of enemy combatants.


If Hamas is to be defeated--and it must be if justice is to be served and the security of Israelis assured--then the Israel Defense Forces must be allowed to finish the job it started after Oct. 7. The Israeli government is right to assert that it has a moral obligation to root it out of its remaining stronghold in Rafah, as well as guarantee that it doesn't use its tunnel network to reassert control in other parts of Gaza.

But unlike any other war that has been waged by Western forces against Islamist terrorists, the international community appears to be unwilling to tolerate an Israeli victory if it means the elimination of Hamas. The reason why Israel is treated in this way has nothing to do with the graphic pictures of Palestinian suffering or even the inflated statistics about deaths in Gaza supplied by Hamas to its willing accomplices in the corporate media. 

At the heart of this betrayal is a belief that Israel and its genocidal Islamist opponents are somehow morally equivalent. Were Biden trying to maintain the alliance with Israel, then he would have continued to assert that Hamas must be defeated before any ceasefire and that any aid going into Gaza--most of which has been stolen by Hamas for use by its remaining forces hidden in the tunnels with the hostages they are holding--must be kept out of its hands.

A morally serious American government would assert that any and all casualties in Gaza are the responsibility of Hamas, not Israel, and that the only way to save the Palestinian people from more suffering is the immediate and unconditional surrender of the terrorists. 

But for Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the rest of the chorus of Democrat officeholders and liberal media outlets clamoring for a ceasefire are not interested in Hamas's surrender. They insist that the impact of the war on the Palestinians is more important than ensuring that Gaza is no longer controlled by people who are intent on using it as a platform to carry on a century-old war on the Jews.

Escalating pressure on Israel

Nor is this resolution the end point of a pressure campaign not on the Palestinian murderers who remain in Rafah, but on Israel to cease a war of self-defense. As The New York Times reported, the abandonment of Israel in the United Nations is just one prong of a multifaceted plan of action being employed by the White House to force Israel to tolerate a Hamas victory in the war. 

It is prepared, as the Times aptly put it, to "coerce" Israel to give up the war by starting to stop weapons shipments that enable Israel to continue fighting effectively. If that doesn't work, the article, based on calculated leaks from the administration, said that Biden will then proceed to enact sanctions on Israeli officials.

In plain terms, Biden is contemplating applying measures to Israel that it has used against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. And it is thinking of doing that at the same time that it continues to waive sanctions on the world's leading state sponsor of terror in Iran, in which it has gifted Tehran billions of dollars of much-needed aid to that despotic regime.


This turn against Israel won't help the Palestinians. Allowing the ceasefire resolution to pass will only deepen Hamas's resolve to keep fighting and to hold onto the hostages. They deliberately created a situation in which their human shields are being killed or enduring privations precisely in order to orchestrate international pressure against Israel. The more the Palestinians are hurt by the war, the better it is for Hamas.

Nor will it speed the release of the hostages since the resolution encourages Hamas to refuse to give in, secure in the knowledge that support from the international community gives them the leverage to hold them in captivity indefinitely until Israel not only pays an exorbitant price in ransom but also acknowledges that Gaza will remain in the terrorists' hands.

Biden's political motives

A rational U.S. policy would have been one in which the U.N. Security Council would not be allowed to become a forum in which Hamas terrorism was effectively endorsed and Israeli self-defense treated as a war crime. It would have continued to insist that any resolution about a ceasefire must be dependent on the release of hostages and the demand that Hamas be labeled as a terrorist group that must lay down its arms.

But Biden and his advisers are obsessed with the idea that criticism of his early support for the war will cost him the election because left-wing activists and Arab-Americans--cheered on by liberal media--think that Israel, and not Hamas, is the villain of the war. 

They have tried to have it both ways for months, simultaneously genuflecting to leftist critics of Israel by validating the smears of its conduct in Gaza while maintaining both support in the United Nations and the flow of arms. They orchestrated a campaign of defamation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as if he were continuing the war for his own purposes rather than following the will of the Israeli people to ensure their security and rights.

This development can be considered worse than the similar betrayal of the Obama administration at the United Nations during its last days in office in 2016, when it let the Security Council pass a resolution that essentially labeled the presence of every Jew in Judea and Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem, as illegal. That happened only weeks before everyone knew that the incoming administration led by Donald Trump would reverse this stand, as it did. 

This vote happened at a moment when Biden has, at a minimum, another 10 months left in office during which he can implement his plan to render Israel defenseless and to acquiesce in a U.N. campaign of delegitimization that could have a devastating impact on the Jewish state's ability to go on functioning in the world economy. This shift in policy means that if Israel is to defeat Hamas, it will have to do so alone with its sole superpower ally increasingly determined to force it to give up and let the terrorists reconstitute their state. 

Liberal Jews fail to speak up

This is also a moment when friends of Israel throughout the American political spectrum ought to be working together to apply the sort of pressure on Biden that will cause him to return to a position of support for Israel's war of survival. But Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer regard solidifying the liberal base behind Biden's re-election campaign as a priority. Mainstream liberal Jewish organizations are equally unwilling to use their political capital with the same ruthless determination that Israel's intersectional leftist foes have employed to force Biden to bend to their will.

If Jewish Democrats and liberal Jewish groups are prepared to tolerate this betrayal or are willing to endorse the administration's gaslighting about it all being Israel's fault, then that will be just one more nail in the coffin of the bipartisan consensus that they have long touted. 

Biden will not unreasonably conclude that he will pay no political price for undermining the Jewish state's security. Or at least none until he finds that there are more votes to be lost in the political center by abandoning Israel to the jackals at the United Nations than on the left from those who think he was insufficiently hostile to the Jewish state.

This is one more signal to America's Arab allies that they are kidding themselves if they think that Washington would ever defend them against Iran. Worse than that, a world in which Hamas is allowed to win the war it started with atrocities on Oct. 7 is one in which no one, including Americans, should consider themselves safe from terrorism.

Yet as ominous as those consequences may be, the singling out of Israel in this manner must also be viewed as part of the surge in antisemitism since the war began. Jew-hatred from the left has been legitimized in ways that right-wing antisemitism never has been. A policy that lets a terrorist movement bent on Jewish genocide win can only be seen as part of this.

Biden's feckless behavior has created a long list of disasters, including out-of-control inflation, the rout in Afghanistan and the collapse of the border that let in as many as 10 million illegal immigrants. But by extending a lifeline to one of the planet's most vicious terrorist groups, the president has set in motion a series of events that could undermine American security just as much as he is harming Israel.

Originally published at JNS.org




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