President Joe Biden completely ignored the Middle East — including the failing Iran nuclear deal, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — in his remarks to Congress in the State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
In the past, and particularly under President Barack Obama, it was almost routine to hear the president talk about prospects for a nuclear deal with Iran, and about efforts to pursue an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Under President Donald Trump, the focus shifted to fighting Iran’s malign activity in the region, and support for Israel — a stance that eventually fostered Israeli-Arab peace deals in the region under the Abraham Accords.
But Biden has downplayed the Middle East, and rarely mentioned Iran, even as his administration has pursued a renewed nuclear deal. And he has not mentioned Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in any of his three addresses.
That is probably good news to supporters of Israel, who worry the Biden administration is eager to shift U.S. policy back to the hostility of the Obama years, and to salvage the defunct Iran deal with another weak deal. It may be bad news for Israel’s critics and opponents, and for a vocal anti-Israel caucus in the Democratic Party.
But it also suggests that the administration is keeping some of its more controversial foreign policies out of view, perhaps in deference to an electorate focused on domestic issues — or to shield its policies from scrutiny.
The Biden administration has been widely reported to be putting pressure on the new Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu to moderate its judicial reforms, and to act with restraint against Palestinian terrorism.
But Israel was not mentioned once in the entire speech — either in a positive way or in a negative fashion.
Even on China — which the White House was said to have inserted into the text in recent days, given the challenge of the surveillance balloon — was downplayed, both as a threat and as a focus of Biden’s policy.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
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