Originally published March 30, 2023
Echoing his Democratic predecessor, President Joe Biden has shined a light on the tensions between his administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Knesset in Israel. Like Barack Obama, who had open hostility towards Bibi throughout his tenure, Biden is refusing to meet with the Jewish State’s longest serving Prime Minister, fanning the flames of partisanship that exists in the United States regarding how to view the only democracy in the Middle East.
The well-known saying that people become more conservative as they age has held true for generations. However, a cohort effect has emerged among millennials that suggests they have developed different values to previous generations, shaped by unique experiences, and do not feel conservatives share these values. The Financial Times reported last December that millennials are much less conservative than previous generations at age 35 and are tacking much further to the left on economics than previous generations did, favoring greater redistribution from rich to poor.
While FT focused on the economic aspect of this disturbing trend, it can be expanded out to the areas that liberals view as social justice causes. In a classic example of “White Savior Complex”, Liberals view themselves as the stalwart warriors for whoever can be deemed marginalized, especially if they can point fingers at an “oppressor”. As such, they have placed outsized attention to the Palestinian people. In the backwards minds of the Left, and in a prime example of bigotry of low expectations, all problems that Palestinians have cannot be solved internally, but can be blamed on the Jews next door. That outlook sets in at college, where anti-Israel activists have set up camp for nearly 2 decades, and is not dissipating as millennials and GenZ get older.
A recent Gallup poll showed a seismic shift on how Democrats have shifted their opinions on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinains. For close to 15 years, there has been reporting on college campuses throughout the nation that the Leftist indoctrination that targeted young minds in terms of Marxist economic policy and intersectional identity philosophy were putting a heavy emphasis on another topic that seemingly was irrelevant to them – the plight of the Palestinian refugees. The blame was immediately and ferociously aimed at the only Jewish State in the world, Israel. Defenders and Supporters of Israel have, since then, been playing catch-up to this indoctrination, but the chickens have come home to roost. For the first time, Gallup polling shows that Democrats have greater sympathy for Palestinians than Israelis.
From Gallup, “After a decade in which Democrats have shown increasing affinity toward the Palestinians, their sympathies in the Middle East now lie more with the Palestinians than the Israelis, 49% versus 38%. Today’s attitudes reflect an 11-percentage-point increase over the past year in Democrats’ sympathy with the Palestinians. At the same time, the percentages sympathizing more with the Israelis (38%) and those not favoring a side (13%) have dipped to new lows.” Independents still side more with Israelis at a rate of 49% to 32%, while nearly 8 in 10 Republicans favor Israelis, 79% to 11%.
Joe Biden has been in politics since the Nixon administration. He is a political animal, and his M.O. throughout his career has been to see which direction the parade is marching in, pick up the baton and run to the front of the pack, pretending he was leading the whole time. This is why he has flip flopped so often on so many issues, or as his defenders would put it “evolved”. On Criminal Justice, Biden led the way in 1994, tacitly endorsed Defund the Police and BLM in 2020, and then shouted “Fund the Police” during the 2022 State of the Union. On abortion, Biden supported the Hyde Amendment during nearly 4 decades in the Senate, but now wants to repeal it. He was opposed to same-sex marriage in 2006, but supported it in 2012 when it became politically viable to do so. The list goes on and on, from the Iraq War to Climate Change, and now Israel.
Joe Biden likes to appeal to Jewish voters, almost three-quarters of whom still vote Democrat, and has made statements throughout the years pledging his support for Israel. In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 2016, Biden said, “Israel is not just a friend, it’s a family member.” In a speech to the Jewish community in Miami in 2019, Biden said, “I love Israel. Israel is very important to me.” During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden said, “I will always stand with Israel, always.” In an op-ed for The Forward in 2020, Biden wrote, “As president, I will continue to ensure that the United States is unequivocal in its support of Israel’s security.” Now, when asked if Netanayhu would be invited to the White House, Joe Biden replies, “No. Not in the near term.”
This is not how you treat an ally, even one you personally and politically dislike. Many Presidents before Biden have had problems with many Prime Ministers before Netanayhu, but they have had the good sense to keep it between themselves. When facing the public, especially a public that includes many who would love to see the destruction of the Jewish state, this simply throws more gasoline on the fire. And as more and more members of the Democratic caucus in Congress become increasingly anti-Israel, this simply gives them more power within their ranks to push their agenda.
This fissure must be repaired, not only for the good of the U.S.-Israel relationship, but for the stability of the region. While other Middle Eastern nations may get on board with the United States every-so-often, Israel is an ideological and philosophical cousin to the United States in terms of a multi-ethnic democracy. They will always be the last line of defense in the region, and the United States, and Democrats, would be fools to throw that relationship away.