Netanyahu Pays for Ditching Democrats

The Israeli leader made a major miscalculation by turning against the Democratic Party and allying his country entirely with Republicans, writes Ramzy Baroud.

U.S. President Joe Biden on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Jan. 27. Sitting in on the call, from left: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley. (White House, Carlos Fyfe)

By Ramzy Baroud
Common Dreams

Though the United States remains a strong supporter of Israel, there are some indications that the supposed “unbreakable bond” with Tel Aviv is faltering, though more in language than in deeds.

Following the provocative “Flag March” on May 18, which is carried out annually by Israeli Jewish extremists in the Occupied Palestinian city of East Jerusalem, the U.S. joined other countries around the world in condemning the racism displayed at the event.

The language used by the U.S. State Department was firm, but also guarded. Spokesman Matthew Miller did not condemn the racist, provocative march — which involved leading Israeli officials — but the language used by the large crowds, most of whom are strong supporters of the far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The United States unequivocally opposes racist language of any form,” Miller tweeted. “We condemn the hateful chants such as ‘Death to Arabs’ during today’s marches in Jerusalem.”

Carefully articulated not to appear as a condemnation of Israel itself, the U.S. position is still more “balanced” than previous positions, where Palestinians were often the ones associated with the U.S. use of words such as “condemnation,” “incitement,” and the like.

Flags dance in Jerusalem 2018. (Nettadi, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

On the other hand, during the Israeli bloody five-day war on Gaza, starting on May 9, Washington had resorted to the same old script, that of Israel having the “right to defend itself,” thus entirely misrepresenting the events which led to the war in the first place.

This U.S. position on Israel’s war on Gaza suggests that Netanyahu is the “defender” of Israel against supposed Palestinian violence and “terrorism.” But this purported champion of Israeli rights is yet to be invited to the White House five months after he returned to power at the helm of Israel’s most right-wing government in history.

Some want to believe that the decision by the Joe Biden administration to distance itself from Netanyahu was entirely altruistic. But that cannot be the case, as the U.S. continues to back Israel militarily, financially, politically, and in every other way.

The answer lies in Netanyahu’s major miscalculations of the past, when he crossed a dangerous line, by turning against the Democratic Party and allying his country entirely with Republicans. His tactics paid dividends during the term of Republican President Donald Trump, but backfired when Trump left the White House.

Biden a Self-Proclaimed Zionist

Biden is unquestionably pro-Israel. Per his own repeated remarks, his support for Israel is not only political but ideological as well. “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist,” he has repeated, and proudly so, on several occasions.

But the U.S. president is also anti-Netanyahu, a dislike that even preceded the Trump-Netanyahu love affair. It mostly dates to Barack Obama’s two terms in office, when Biden was the vice president.

[Related: Congress Cheers Netanyahu’s Hatred of Iran]

[Related: What Netanyahu Really Thinks]

Netanyahu’s political shenanigans and relentless attacks on the Obama administration at the time taught Biden that Netanyahu simply cannot be trusted.

March 3, 2015: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in third appearance before a joint meeting of Congress. (Speaker John Boehner, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Yet, Biden, with historically low ratings among ordinary Americans, cannot possibly, on his own, challenge Netanyahu and Israel’s stronghold on Washington through its influential lobby.

Something else is at work, namely, the fact that the Democratic Party as a whole had shifted allegiances, from Israel to Palestine.

This assertion would have been unthinkable in the past, but the change is real, confirmed time and again by credible polling companies. The latest was in March.

“After a decade in which Democrats have shown increasing affinity toward the Palestinians, their sympathies… now lie more with the Palestinians than the Israelis, 49% versus 38%,” the Gallup poll concluded.

The fact that such growing “affinity” with Palestine has been taking place for at least a decade suggests that the position of the Democrats was a generational one, not an outcome of a single event.

Working for a Policy Shift  

Indeed, numerous organizations and countless individuals are working on a daily basis to create a link between “affinity” and policy.

Buoyed by the growing sympathies for Palestine, long-time advocate of Palestinians’ rights in the U.S. Congress Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) reintroduced, on May 5, the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act.

U.S. Rep Betty McCollum, from Minnesota, in 2016. (Lorrie Shaull, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Co-sponsored by 16 other members of Congress, the legislation demands that Israel must be prohibited from using “U.S. taxpayer dollars in the Occupied West Bank for the military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.”

Two years earlier, The Intercept had reported that McCollum and her supporters were pushing towards barring U.S. aid to Israel from “subsidizing a wider array of Israeli occupation tactics.”

Alex Kane wrote, this is “an indication of just how far the debate over the U.S. aid to Israel has come in the past six years,” a reference to 2015, when McCollum introduced the first legislation on the matter.

Since then, things have moved forward at an even more accelerated speed. The effort to hold Israel accountable has now reached the New York state assembly.

On May 16, The New York Post reported that legislation was introduced by several Democratic lawmakers aimed at blocking registered U.S. charities from funneling money to fund illegal Israeli Jewish settlements.

The legislation, Not on Our Dime!: Ending New York Funding of Israeli Settler Violence Act, dares to challenge Israel on multiple fronts: the traditional power of the pro-Israel lobby, questioning U.S. funding of Israel and confronting the channeling of funds to illegal settlements in the name of charity work.

Several reasons compel us to believe that the shift in U.S. policy on Palestine and Israel, though slow, nuanced and, at times, symbolic, will likely continue.

One is the fact that Israel is turning towards far-right nationalism, which is increasingly difficult to defend by U.S. liberal government and media.

Two, the steadfastness of Palestinians and their ability to overcome mainstream media restrictions and censorship that had prevented them from having any fair representation.

And, finally, the dedication of numerous civil society organizations and the widening network of support for Palestinians throughout the U.S., which allowed courageous lawmakers to push for substantive change in policy.

Time will tell what direction Washington will take in the future. But, considering the current evidence, support for Israel is dwindling at rates that are unprecedented.

For those advocating a just peace in Palestine, this is a good thing.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Support CN’s Spring

Fund Drive Today


8 comments for “Netanyahu Pays for Ditching Democrats

  1. Andrew Thomas
    May 30, 2023 at 23:13

    I have seen this kind of Kremlinologist-style dissection of DC public statements regarding the US perhaps changing its 100% commitment to the cause of crazed Zionism before. However, the idea that Biden and his neocon cohort rethinking anything because of self-identifying Democrats being in some poll more supportive of the Palestinian cause than the Israeli state is wishful thinking in the extreme. No one in power gives a hoot about what ‘Main Street’ thinks about anything in the US, including the catastrophe of of the US health care (non)system, abortion rights, plummeting standards of living, etc. Nothing is going to change, on Israel or on anything else, because a poll shows it would be popular, relatively speaking, to nothing changing. If I am wrong about this, I will be the happiest person who ever wrote the words ‘I WAS WRONG! DEAD WRONG! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, I WAS WRONG!’

    • robert e williamson jr
      May 31, 2023 at 14:34

      I couldn’t agree more. By now we all must realize the exact predicament we find ourselves in and it isn’t pretty.
      Andrew Thomas

      As far as I can determine most polls are used to guide the tainted opinions of the masses. Opinions that are all too often knee jerk reactions.

      While some indications suggest many Americans have changing views with respect to our “Israeli” problems most have little clue to to how deeply embedded the Israeli lobby is into American politics. The secret part is the amount of money brought to D.C. by that lobby.

      I wish we both were wrong.

      I think another missed point while we are on the topic of Biden and Benny the “Blade” Nateinyahoo, is that it has always been a given that Israeli leadership will always defend what ever their actions by any means as long as Israel benefits, so it’s not a matter of trusting them , Benny included as much as it is KOWTOWING to their demands.

      I would much rather hear from Biden that he believes Benny is a racist. Not being able to trust him is much different than Benny’s condescending arrogance which he openly displayed toward Obama and democrats.

      The behavior of Israeli leadership falls in the same category of that of the U.S., actions speak loudest and they are what they are.

      Thanks CN

  2. robert e williamson jr
    May 30, 2023 at 18:00

    As I have written here before, based on a lifetime of being subjected to the exploits of too many Israeli leaders to count, I feel the right wing government of the country serves the average Israeli Jew very miserably.

    U.S. news media has done little to reveal the hypocrisy practiced by Zionists from this country who have bowed to the demands of a government gone awry and justified their actions based on their own personal religious beliefs. Something I have very real problems with. Again it is the Church vs State problem. Regardless one has to wonder what exactly the driving force is behind the U.S. Government’s continual kowtowing to Israeli Government interests. See the NUMEC scandal.

    I’ll say it again if I do not trust my government to do the right thing I sure as hell will never trust Israeli leadership.

    What a frigging mess! And for what, so a large group of crazy, radically religious greed heads can blackmail human kind with some fairy tale!

    Thanks CN

  3. robert e williamson jr
    May 30, 2023 at 13:31

    I’ve been a big time critic of the Israeli governments policies and lest we forget the ass kissing policies of the U.S. government toward Israel and the terrible ignoring of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

    The U.S. irrational favorable treatment of Israel should have stopped June 8, 1967. Period, FULL STOP! Remember the USS Liberty incident.

    The diversion of highly enriched U-235 from the NUMEC facility should be investigated and the truth known. A history that changed life on the planet.

    Knowing what I know about the United States Atomic Energy Commission’s history, that organization’s true history must be unveiled. Let us never forget the inhumane policies of the USAEC towards Americans.

    I charge that based on what I know about this NUMEC incident that the one agency responsible for protecting the interests of the U.S. government’s nuclear program, the USAEC, caved the US Naval lobby in D.C. and miserably failed.

    Even the Father of the US Navy Nuclear Submarine Project questioned events that occurred at the facility. Zalman Shapiro had done amazing work for Hyman and Hyman [Rickover] bragged extensively about wearing two hats while he developed and managed the Naval Nuclear Power program. His U.S. Navy hat and his USAEC hat.

    This practice should never have been allowed without rigid oversight and he did not have that.

    I figure somebody got blackmailed or out right reneged on their promise to prevent nuclear proliferation and the black mail ensued.

    The U.S. treatment of Israel then to now the direct result Zionist’s in the upper levels of the USAEC having unfettered control of the Commissions inner workings. That unfettered control led to this abuse in my personal opinion.The USAEC had their own covert methods which in many cases resembled CIA-ish clandestine operations.

    It must also be known that CIA tampered and truncated FBI investigations into the scandal.

    Read his book The Rickover Affec and Stealing of the Bomb, by Roger J. Mattson, don’t take my word for it. Mattson makes a strong case for suspecting an inside job.

    Sounds to me like Biden’s Zionist beliefs spill over into a matter of the lack of separation between church and state.

    Thanks CN

  4. AA from MD
    May 30, 2023 at 10:24

    Zionist is not Judaism. Israel is working hard to blur the line and make it “Jews vs other”. They are trying to equate opposition to Israeli oppression to Anti-semitism. They are succeeding so far with the help of western media. Funny thing is these zionists are not even semitic. European colonizers are not semitic people. Semitic people (of all religion) are the ones that lived in those lands for thousands of years and are being displaced by colonial power from the west. This struggle is between colonial project vs local population and nothing else. Nothing to do with religion. Unfortunately Zionists are using Judaism for their land theft and even more unfortunately most of the Jewish people in the west buy into it with or without understanding the issue.

  5. doug s.
    May 29, 2023 at 23:44

    hey joe, you don’t have to be a zionist to be a jew!

    time for the usa to stop all financial aid to israel, until it straightens up and flies right. israel is a stain on the jewish faith. israel policy is a major cause of increased anti-semitic violence, and as a jew, i don’t appreciate it. zionists need to understand that “never again” applies to perpetrators as well as to victims.

    doug s.

  6. Robert v scheetz
    May 29, 2023 at 18:10

    Hard to believe the nonvertebrate Biden is capable of ought but bootlicking & ass-kissing.

  7. bobzz
    May 29, 2023 at 16:19

    See Patrick Lawrence piece Apparently some young Israelis are burning their draft cards—a huge threat to the Zionist State, if the movement grows.

Comments are closed.