The President treats the governing coalition in Jerusalem worse than he does Iran.
By The Editorial Board, WSJ 13.7.23
Why does President Biden go out of his way to snub, criticize and give marching orders to the government of Israel? At least rhetorically, the President and his Administration treat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his governing coalition worse than they do the ruling mullahs in Iran.
Mr. Biden declined again this week in gratuitous public fashion to invite Mr. Netanyahu to the White House, pointing to the Prime Minister’s elected coalition partners. Tom Nides, Mr. Biden’s departing Ambassador to Israel, chimes in that the U.S. must speak up to stop Israel from “going off the rails.” Each gibe makes headlines in Israel.
When Mr. Netanyahu was most vulnerable, in late March, Mr. Biden needlessly decreed that Israel “cannot continue down this road” on judicial reform. The Prime Minister had already changed course and agreed to moderate the reforms—a domestic Israeli affair in which the U.S. President has no business. Mr. Nides publicly instructed Mr. Netanyahu, as if with his chauffeur, to “pump the brakes.”<
The effect of this piling on is for Israelis to see that the U.S. sides with their opposition parties. This is no way to treat a democratic ally and no way to pursue U.S. interests while Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party is in power, as it has been for most of the past 25 years.
Whether Israel’s proposed reforms would rein in its high court’s unusual powers, in the absence of a constitution, or tip the balance too far toward British-style parliamentary supremacy, is for Israelis to debate. Which they do, noisily, without Mr. Biden’s commentary.
The President’s Israel policy has been counterproductive. U.S. aid to anti-Israel international bodies has resumed, and all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem is treated as “occupied territory.” This is now a liberal article of faith, but how does it advance peace to indulge Palestinians in the belief that Jews are interlopers in Judea and at the Western Wall?
While Mr. Biden undermines the Netanyahu government, Hamas and other Iranian proxies are gaining power in the West Bank, activating another front against Israel. The new wave of terrorism against Jewish civilians will set back the Palestinian cause but advance Iran’s.
Perhaps most disappointing has been the failure to extend the Trump-brokered Abraham Accords. The Saudis are the prize, but Mr. Biden’s open hostility drove them to hedge their bets by signing a Chinese-brokered deal with Iran instead. Normalization with Israel may have to wait for a U.S. President interested in rallying a coalition to contain Tehran.
As usual in the region, Iran is the story behind the story. The “longer and stronger” nuclear deal the President promised is long gone. His Administration has been reduced to floating an unwritten, stopgap agreement that would give Tehran tens of billions of dollars to sit on the precipice of nuclear breakout. Call it Hezbollah’s and Islamic Jihad’s lucky day.
This is a startling retreat even from Barack Obama’s position, but with the same ends in mind: staying Israel’s hand and reshaping the region with Iran on board. Alas for the U.S., the enemy gets a say. While Tehran escalates its proxy wars and whittles down U.S. nuclear demands, Mr. Biden carries out diplomatic offensives against Saudi Arabia and Israel.