David K. Rees

Biden doesn’t get it, and he knows better

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv, October 18, 2023. (Miriam Alster/ Flash 90). TOI, May 10, 2024.

At the end of the speech that President Biden gave on October 31, 2024 after setting forth a peace proposal to end the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Biden stated, “It’s time for this war to end and for the day after to begin.”

This war to end? “This war” is much more than a war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. It is a war between, Israel and the ultra-religious Muslim terrorist groups that together form what Iran calls the “Axis of Resistance.” (For a detailed explanation of the Axis of Resistance. see the You Tube video posted by the Wall Street Journal.

The Axis of Resistance, which is headed by Iran, includes all of Hamas (not just Hamas in Gaza),  Hezbollah  (in Lebanon), Palestinian Islamic Jihad, (in Gaza, the West Bank, and Syria), the Houthis (in Yemen) and Shia groups in Iraq. To that group one could add Al Qada. (Remember 911?).  All of these groups believe as a matter of their bizarre reading of the Koran that Allah promised Muslims all the land between the Jordan River and the Sea. They will persist in their war against Israel no matter what happens in Gaza. Israel is simply the first line of defense against terrorism. Biden knows this perfectly well.

Moreover, even though it has cost almost 300 Israel soldiers their lives, Israel has made great progress in winning the war in Gaza. This stands in marked contrast to the United States’ efforts to combat terrorism. George Bush 43 started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The result: Hundreds of thousand of people, many of them civilians, lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and for no reason. Afghanistan is now controlled by the Taliban and Iraq is home to Shia groups, backed by Iran, which have been firing missiles at Israel repeatedly. It is worth mentioning that the Obama/Biden administration spent 8 years sending American troops to fight in the war in Afghanistan, killing numerous (thousands?) of civilians in the process.

Biden also knows that after Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas, the Americans, who were concerned about number of civilians they were killing in Afghanistan, sent people to Israel to learn how to minimize civilian casualties, yet when he should be standing up for Israel, Biden and Blinken investigated whether Israel has committed genocide. Some ally.

In his speech, Biden also set forth his limited view of what supporting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, means. He stated,

“[T]he United States will always ensure that Israel has what it needs to DEFEND itself.” (CAPS MINE).

Biden’s view that the United States’ responsibility only applies to the ability to defend itself is both odd and denies reality. The United States made good on its promise to defend Israel when Iran fired 300 missiles and drones at Israel, The United States, France, and Jordan joined Israel in repelling that attack.

The reality is that fighting a defensive war is not enough to win a war. The allies did not win World War II without attacking German troops and driving them from Normandy after D-Day across France, into Germany from the West, while the Soviet Union went on the offensive and drove German troops back into Germany from the East.

The same was true with war in the Pacific. After Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor and took control of much of the Pacific, including the Philippines, the United States was only able to defeat Japan after it went on the offensive.

The reaction to Biden’s speech has been fascinating. Netanyahu has called Biden’s peace proposal a “non-starter” and has said that Israel will pursue the war until its objective of eliminating Hamas in Gaza has been achieved.

Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy and key actor in Iran’s Axis of Resistance, has responded by greatly increased its terrorist activity in Lebanon. As I write this (Sunday, May 6, 2024), my cell phone has been making the sound of “red alerts” in the Galilee over and over again warning  of Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel. (By my count, there have been 11 of these “red alerts.”)

The reality is that the conflict in Gaza is just the beginning of the war on terrorism — terrorism which threatens the entire Western world. Biden knows this, but it is election time in the United States and acting as though the war in Gaza must be ended now plays well to the American press and the American voters.

About the Author
Before making Aliyah from the United States, I spent over three decades as a lawyer in the United States. My practice involved handling many civil rights cases, including women's- rights cases, in State and Federal courts. I handled numerous constitutional cases for the ACLU and argued one civil rights case in the United States Supreme Court. I chaired the Colorado Supreme Court's Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure and served on the Colorado Supreme Court's Civil Rules and Rules of Evidence Committees. Since much of my practice involved the public interest, I became interested in environmental law and worked closely with environmental organizations, including the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). I was on the Rocky Mountain Board of EDF. I received an award from the Nebraska Sierra Club as a result of winning a huge environmental case that was referred to me by EDF. I also developed significant knowledge of hazardous and radioactive waste disposal. I was involved in a number of law suits concerning waste disposal, including a highly-political one in the United States Supreme Court which involved the disposal of nuclear waste. As I child I was told by my mother, a German, Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany, that Israel was a place for her and her child. When I first visited Israel many years later, I understood what she meant. My feeling of belonging in Israel caused me to make Aliyah and Israel my home. Though I am retired now, I have continued my interest in activism and the world in which I find myself.
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