Originally published April 28, 2021
As rockets rain down on Western Israel from Gaza, and violent clashes with police occur in Jerusalem, Israelis find themselves keeping one eye on the nearest bomb shelter in case a siren is heard. While this is an annual occurrence during the month of Ramadan, Israel must wonder, for the first time in four years, if the United States will tie one hand behind their back while they defend their citizens.
As hundreds of Gazans crowded the border fence, incendiary balloons flew over the barrier with the intent of destroying agriculture and killing civilians, especially children. These balloons have not appeared for over a month, and in the intervening time, Joe Biden promised to reinstate aid to Gaza, despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority has not ceased its “pay to slay” program. Such aid would be in direct violation of the Taylor Force Act, signed in law by President Trump in 2018.
Hundreds of Palestinians swarmed Damascus Gate in Jerusalem to celebrate Ramadan, chanting, “In spirit and blood we will redeem Palestine” and “Thousands of shahid [martyrs] are on their way to al-Aqsa,” according to the Jerusalem Post. Meanwhile, rockets were fired from Gaza, some intercepted by the Iron Dome, into civilian populations in Israel.
Leading up to Ramadan, random attacks were carried out by Palestinians on Jews, captured on video, and loaded onto TikTok. What’s being referred to as the “TikTok Intifada” has caused a backlash among rightwing Israelis who marched in protest, and some shouted, “Death to Arabs.” These comments were widely condemned in Israel, and Israeli police dispersed the crowd.
This is where a representative of the United States government comes into the story. Rashida Tlaib ignored all the attacks by Palestinian youth on random and unsuspecting Israelis and tweeted, “During the holy month of Ramadan, Palestinians are met w/ mobs of Israeli settlers calling on the “death of Arabs!” The anti-Palestinian violence was not stopped by the Israeli govt. These acts of hate is what colleagues need to see when I say Palestinians deserve human dignity.”
So far, Tlaib is one of the only voices in the Democratic Party speaking about this uptick of violence in America’s closest ally in the Middle East. Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been largely silent on social media. Policy-wise, the Biden administration is going full steam ahead on caving to the Iranians, which will ultimately provide them with billions of dollars to fund Palestinian terrorism.
While this is happening, Elizabeth Warren is telling J Street that military aid to Israel should be conditional. Warren, one of two Senators – along with Bernie Sanders – to vote against keeping the American embassy in Jerusalem, said, “…if we’re serious about arresting settlement expansion and helping move the parties toward a two-state solution, then it would be irresponsible not to consider all of the tools we have at our disposal. One of those is restricting military aid from being used in the occupied territories. By continuing to provide military aid without restriction, we provide no incentive for Israel to adjust course.” Warren’s short-term memory must have blocked out the two-state peace deal that Trump proposed – and the PA rejected outright – along with the dozen other times the Palestinians could have declared a state over the past century.
These are all the questions and issues American Jews would have before the bombshell report by The New York Timesthis week. (Before giving The Times too much credit, this was buried in paragraph 21 of a 23-paragraph article.) According to The Times, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed in a leaked audio recording that “It was former US Foreign Secretary John Kerry who told me Israel had launched more than 200 attacks on Iranian forces in Syria.” Kerry is denying this, but as the New York Post’s Josh Hammer writes, “One might be loath to take on blind faith the claims of a thug like Zarif, but in this case, the shoe fits. This is who John Forbes Kerry is – who he always has been, and always will be.”
So can American Jews trust the Biden administration regarding Israel? This is not Israel of the 20th Century; Israel is more than capable of defending herself from terrorist attacks without direct involvement of the Americans. More so, with the signing of the Abraham Accords under President Trump, Israel is safer and more secure than ever. The question is: Will Joe Biden and those in his administration actively hamstring the Jewish state? Will they force and bully Israel into a PR nightmare? Will they shed daylight on the issues that the governments have with each other? Will they betray their ally to appease their enemy? These are all legitimate questions that must be asked, and Biden’s track record should not make anyone sanguine.
Moshe Hill is a political columnist and Senior Fellow at Chovevei Zion. You can find Moshe on his blog at www.aHillwithaView.com, facebook.com/aHillwithaView, or twitter.com/TheMoHill.