The Biden administration has brought U.S-Israel relations to lows not seen since the worst days of the Obama era, as the White House attacks Israel in ways the radical wing of the Democratic Party has long hoped to see.
Under Obama, the administration deliberately created distance between the U.S. and Israel in the hope of courting support in the Arab world and enticing the brutal Iranian regime to agree to a nuclear deal.
Thus, in 2010, the State Department summoned the Israeli ambassador for a rebuke over Israel’s plans to build apartments in a Jewish area of Jerusalem. Later, Obama attempted to withhold weapons from Israel during a conflict with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.
In 2015, Obama made a weak deal with Iran, over Israeli objections, and in 2016 he let the UN Security Council declare the Israeli presence in Jerusalem illegal.
When President Donald Trump was elected, there was a complete change for the better.
Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran deal, which would have allowed the regime to go nuclear after about a decade; he moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, which he recognized as Israel’s capital; he cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority and other terror-supporting groups; he recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights; and much more.
The dividend for stronger U.S.-Israel ties was the Abraham Accords, the peace agreement between Israel and several neighboring Arab states. More and more Arab states signed on.
But progress has slowed dramatically since Biden took office. Now, instead of uniting Israel and the Arab world against a potentially nuclear Iran, the Biden administration watches passively as China brokers a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Biden’s policies were anti-Israel from the start, and reflected a hostility toward Israel’s own conservatives that dates back to the 1980s.
Biden restored significant amounts of funding to the Palestinians, and tried to create a U.S. “consulate” in Jerusalem alongside the embassy to cater specifically to Palestinian interests — a violation of U.S. law that would have had the effect of dividing Jerusalem, had Israel’s then-liberal government acquiesced.
It was no accident that Palestinian terrorists, who had largely been quiet throughout Trump’s four years, began to attack Israel shortly after Biden took office, fomenting a riot in Jerusalem and firing thousands of rockets in May 2021.
The White House initially tried to blame Israel for the violence, but soon abandoned that obviously absurd stance in favor of taking credit for arming Israel with the Iron Dome missiles it used to defend itself.
For two years, Biden has tried to revive the Iran deal, easing pressure on the regime as it plays for time and races toward a bomb. Through his envoy to the Palestinians, Hady Amr, the president has tried to impose concessions on Israel as Palestinian terrorists escalate their attacks — this week, even wounding a retired U.S. Marine (who fired back).
Biden has yet to invite Benjamin Netanyahu, the new prime minister, for a visit. The week, the administration rebuked Israel over a recent law repealing Israel’s 2005 “disengagement” law, which had barred Israelis from parts of northern Samaria (the West Bank). The Biden administration claimed Israel had broken a promise not to build settlements. But the law does not move a single brick: it is a symbolic gesture reversing a failed policy — much like the imminent repeal of the old Iraq War authority in the U.S.
Worse, the White House has lectured Israel about its ongoing judicial reforms — reforms that, if implemented, would bring Israeli law closer to the American system. (Ironically, Biden himself proposed a commission to study radical reforms aimed at packing the Supreme Court.) The “arsonist-in-chief” on this issue, according to Tablet magazine, is U.S. Ambassador Tom Nides, who has intervened to inflame Israel’s internal divisions.
The one policy Biden has not reversed is Trump’s embassy move — but he has stripped it of authority to deal with the Palestinians. All of this is happening against the backdrop of a growing threat from Iran, increasing Palestinian terror, and rising Chinese influence in the region.
Biden may once have had chummy relations with pro-Israel lobbyists in the Senate, but his policies today are at least as destructive as those of his former boss.
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.