Steven Saks

Dear President Biden: Stop the Pivot

April 9, 2024

Dear President Biden,

I find talk of conditioning aid to Israel to be deeply troubling. Though the Israeli strike killing aid workers from the World Central Kitchen was a deeply tragic error, the opprobrium leveled at Israel by members of the administration smacks of hypocrisy. You should bear in mind that during the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan, US forces killed 10 Afghani civilians after mistaking them for members of the Isis-K terror cell. It should be noted that Jerusalem was much quicker in taking responsibility for its error than was Washington. On your first day as vice-president in 2009, 20 Pakistani civilians were killed by a US drone strike and at least 300 civilians were inadvertently killed by US strikes during your tenure as vice-president.

We all know that the sad reality is that Hamas deliberately places civilians and aid workers in harm’s way in hopes of facilitating exactly the kind of hypocritical condemnations from the international community that abound. This, despite the fact that leading experts of warfare such as John Spencer, the chair of urban warfare studies at West Point, and historian Andrew Roberts have stated that Israel is not only following the international standards of war, but has been more successful than any other nation in minimizing civilian casualties in the history of modern warfare. 

Holding Israel to this double standard is antisemitic and counterproductive. It is antisemitic because the expectations placed upon the Jewish state make it virtually impossible for the state to defend its citizens. The most basic function of a state is to defend its citizens from attack and if it cannot, it will cease to exist. The unfortunate reality is that in the haze of war, tragedies occur especially when fighting an enemy that is embedded amongst its civilian populace. The double standard is counter productive in that it gives Hamas hope that they will again be rescued by the international community; thus being allowed to literally get away with murder. This will ensure that Israel is attacked again and the residents of Gaza are again cynically used as human shields by the nihilistic terrorist groups who govern them. In other words, the message that our enemies such as Iran who are closely watching will glean is – terror pays.  



Rabbi Steven Saks

Spiritual Leader, Congregation Sons of Israel Woodmere, NY

About the Author
Rabbi of Sons of Israel, Woodmere NY. Vice President of Morasha Rabbinical Fellowship (affiliated with the Union for Traditional Judaism). Served as president of the Rabbinical Association of Delaware.
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