Bruce Farrell Rosen
Author of books and articles, retired portfolio manager

God Willing, There Is Peace Out There Someway, Somehow

It is unfortunate that US President Joe Biden during an interview  May 8 with Erin Burnett on her CNN program, Erin Burnett Out Front, made the global headline grabbing comment that he would “halt some shipments of American weapons to Israel” if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders a major invasion of the city of Rafah. He went on to elaborate that “civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers.”

The comment, ” …other ways in which they go after population centers…” is a particularly egregious accusation to make.” Implicit in this  insinuation is  that Israel is ‘targeting population centers in Gaza’, that they are being ‘indiscriminate in their attacks designed to eliminate Hamas, the Iran funded jihadist terror organization that murdered, mutilated, tortured, raped, kidnapped, more than 1200 Israeli civilians on October 7. and injured several thousand more.

I have no doubt that President Biden would never intend for there to be any equivalence between Hamas–whose murderous rampage on October 7, 2023 involved the beheading of babies, rape of women in front of their husbands and the murder of their families, torture, kidnapping and so much more of the most heinous blood lust known to man–and Israel’s retaliation against this Jihadist terror group. However, when making a loose comment such as that “Israel is going after population centers” he certainly provides language that would only further fuel that hatred against Israel, the anti-Semitism that he clearly condemns.  No ,there is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, but President Biden has inadvertently permitted that comparison with the ‘looseness’ of his language.

Israel vacated Gaza in 2005, withdrawing from the territory unilaterally.  They removed more than 9000 of its own citizens, even digging up Jewish graves.  They made this move in good faith, believing that in time a moderate Palestinian authority would be established that might unite Gaza and the West Bank , and begin the process of a negotiation toward a Palestinian state that would provide its people with its own flag and national identity.  The Israeli’s departed Gaza as a gesture toward Palestinian self-determination.  I do not believe they anticipated that this land would become a staging ground for the kind of virulent, blood lusting massacre that occurred on October 7.

No doubt Israeli leadership had been familiar with the Hamas covenant that found “Israel to be an illegal state”,  its 1948 Declaration of Independence null and void, and that their manifesto called for the “raising the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine”.   Yes, it would be a travesty to in any way imply that there might be some equivalence between  this organization that uses the Palestinian people as ‘ human shields’ to camouflage the murderers– as they emerge and attack from their hundreds of miles of tunnels built under schools, mosques, residential homes and hospitals –and the Israeli soldiers that go to war time and time and time again to survive as a national haven against a second holocaust.

Perhaps October 7 occurred because Prime Minister Netanyahu was so busy trying to appease as part of his coalition the far right parties whose objective is to expand Jewish settlements over land seized during the 1967 war.  Perhaps his attention was much more focused on this expansionist policy in the West Bank than on the clues coming from Hamas in Gaza.  Or, maybe Hamas was just brilliant in their secrecy to hide these clues.  And, no doubt Netanyahu was also dealing with corruption charges that might land him in jail–and just maybe his campaign to over rule the independence of the judiciary in favor of the decisions of any ruling political coalition distracted him from the planning that was taking place in Gaza.

Indeed all of this matters with respect to how this organization whose objective is to destroy Israel was able to launch this well planned attack. Yes, it was a massive failure of intelligence.  And all of this will be debated politically and legally in the months or years to come.  But let it suffice that though Netanyahu has come under deep condemnation in the aftermath of October 7, the people of Israel–the polls show–are committed to eradicating Hamas from Gaza.

We must go back once again to that Biden statement during the interview wherein  he states ” civilians have been killed as a consequence  of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers…”  Yes, from what we hear multitudes of thousands of innocents have tragically died as a result of Israel’s attempt to destroy Hamas.  It is a tragedy that I cannot really comprehend.  And their is no innocence in any of this.  But is it a ‘just’ war to fight to survive as a nation, as a people when there are hundreds of millions of dollars backing an ideology bent on destroying you ? Yes it is.  It is a just war.

There are many debates regarding how this should or must be fought–the United States rightfully like all nations wants to see the end to this bloodshed and is urging Israel to target the incubators, leaders, planners of this operation–targeted assassinations that would decapitate the movement of Hamas. Yes, that would be preferable to this horrendous war being fought amidst civilians.  Such a strategy would allow the moderate Arab nations to support a peace plan that would install an interim multi national authority to govern Gaza.  But would that strategy work ? Would this strategy survive as Hamas launches attack after attack upon the moderate Arab elements overseeing the security of the people of Gaza, including attacks against any Palestinian authority established to monitor the area and hopefully become the representative that Israel could look to as the new government of Palestine ?  Iran is not prepared to cede anything to any moderate Arab representation in Gaza. So, they will attack and attack for as long as they exist.  And, thus, we look to Iran, their sponsor.  Is it inevitable that Iran will have to be defeated for there to ever be any peaceful co-existence in this land ? They will have to be mitigated in some way. But how to do this when they are committed to a Holy War to conquer Palestine and are willing to play the short and long games to achieve this ?  Perhaps we can only hope for rebellion in Iran that produces a moderate state, not intent on a Holy War.  We can only hope!

But again, Biden’s loose statement. It was very dangerous.  The implications are bad.  And he made it literally just barely three weeks after Israel was attacked by more than three hundred missiles by Iran–half of them guided cruise and ballistic missiles that might have killed many people and maimed many many more.  It was irresponsible to make that statement.  It is language that empowers Hamas. It empowers Hezbollah who continue to escalate their rocket attacks from southern Lebanon. It empowers Iran.  It emboldens the United Nations to pursue war crimes against Israel, while not in any way ever condemning the attack by Hamas !  It elevates the status of Hamas as freedom fighters for the Palestinian people in public opinion.  It allows them to take the ‘moral high ground’ in the battle for public opinion–a moral high ground that has them being glorified on college campuses across the United States and increasingly so in the Western World.  If President Biden wanted to send this message to Israel he should have done it quietly–not loudly on CNN.

Sometimes the politics of desperation lead to equivocation.  President Biden is in the fight for his life politically, recent polls showing him falling several points behind former President Donald Trump in all but one of the six swing states.  He made this statement in Racine Wisconsin, the only swing state that has him barely ahead at this moment in time.  Anti Israel protest is surging in this swing state,  the home to the University of Wisconsin, with leaders of Jewish organizations saying that anti-Semitism   is being normalized through political and social rhetoric.  Israel’s prosecution of the war in Gaza is highly unpopular among a solid progressive element, and it could be large enough to cost him the state that he won in 2020, but one that Trump very narrowly won in 2016. So, yes, a statement about withholding weapons from Israel may very well resonate enough in those closely contested states to give Biden the edge that he needs to win.

No doubt, Biden’s CNN comments will resonate in Michigan, a state that he won  by a close margin in 2020, but also a state that Trump barely won in 2016.  Michigan is also home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a campus among several in the United States where student protests, encampments and anti-Israeli slogans were the most aggressive.  There is also a large Palestinian population in this state that Biden won by barely 100,000 votes in 2020–close to the number of people that marked ‘non-committed’ in the 2024 democratic primary.  If these people stay home and not vote as a result of Biden’s military support for Israel, and  the US.  veto over a United Nations vote for a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, he could lose the state and the election.

There is no questioning President Biden’s support of Israel from this writer; he has been a firm supporter of the state of Israel his whole life, and provided inspiration to the Israeli people when he visited the country shortly after October 7.  He recognizes that Hamas has to be defeated for Israel to have any security for its people, and that is clearly evident in this speech given on October 20 2023:

“Hamas–it’s stated purpose for existing is the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of the Jewish people.  Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people.  Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and innocent Palestinian families are suffering greatly because of them.”  And when asked in an October 2023 press conference if he thought Hamas must be eliminated entirely, Biden answered, ” Yes I do.  But there needs to be a Palestinian authority. There needs to be a path to a Palestinian State. ”  And therein lies the issue.  How does that happen ? How does a country defeat a country whose staging ground for war is right amidst the people they claim to represent politically? How does a Palestinian authority or any multi state authority last long enough in Gaza with this menace dedicated to never giving up, never compromising its holy war ?   Yes, President Biden, there does have to be a moderate authority.  But you also support the eradication of Hamas ? How are these goals mutually reconcilable.  This is the quagmire and the crisis facing Israel and the World.  And it is complicated by an impending US election and the politics within Israel.

There is a troubling discontinuity between President Biden’s answer to CNN’s Erin Burnett on May 8, and his remarks just a day earlier at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance Ceremony.  At the Ceremony that gave voice to the more than 6 million Jews murdered during the Nazi Holocaust, Biden eloquently stated  that “…Now here we are, not 75 years later but just seven and a half moths later, and people are already forgetting.  They’re already forgetting that Hamas unleashed this terror, and that it was Hamas that brutalized Israelis , that it was Hamas who took and continues to hold hostages.  I have not forgotten, nor have you, and we will not forget…”.  Yes, that was just one day before his comments on CNN that have been criticized Democrats and Republicans alike.  Outgoing Senator, Mitt Romney stated in response that “We stand by our allies, we don’t second guess them. Biden’s dithering on Israel weapons is bad policy and a terrible message to Israel, our allies and the world.”

There is no ambiguity about the horror of Gaza.  It is horrible for Israel, it is horrible for the Palestinian people.  I believe that the Palestinian people, if they could choose, would want to see the end of Hamas.  I’m sure most Arab nations, including Egypt–a nation that has sealed its border out of fear that the influx of refugees would bring the presence of Hamas–would love to see Hamas gone, and not part of any solution in Gaza.  Iran, with the friendship of Russia–a nation that has lost influence in the region since the demise of the PLO–is committed to stand in the way of this progress. It truly is a quagmire with the the welfare of mankind potentially in the balance.

Once can certainly understand and agree with  many of the sentiments of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders when he describes the  horrifying catastrophe unfolding in Gaza.  Bernie in a speech on March 6, 2024 stated that”…Hamas started this terrible war with a brutal terrorist attack that killed 1200 innocent Israelis and took 253 hostages, more than 100 of whom remain in Hamas’ hands, including Americans.  And just the other day the U.N. reported that there is strong evidence that Hamas also committed horrific sexual assaults against Israeli women of the worst kind imaginable. Nobody should forgive or forget those atrocities.  As I have said many times, Israel had the right to respond to that attack and go after Hamas, but it did not and it does not have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people.  And that is what Israel has done.”

Yes, Bernie, Gaza is one of the great horrors in the history of mankind’s horrors.  But Israel is not conducting a war against the Palestinian people.  It is conducting this against Hamas.  No, they are not targeting civilians.  And that language only further isolates Israel in its fight for survival. Yes, the quagmire continues and God Willing  there is peace out there someway, somehow.

Bruce Farrell Rosen

San Francisco

About the Author
My understanding of politics, economics, geopolitics, political theory is grounded in my undergraduate and graduate study of philosophy and international relations. I recently retired from managing investment portfolios for over Forty Years. I have also always been a writer, and have published two books of non-fiction: Bombed In His Bed, the Confessions of Jewish Gangster Myer Rush', and " If you Ever Need Me, I Won't Be far Away". I have done television and radio for these books. I have authored numerous articles on various subjects, such as international affairs, politics, economics, culture, music, sport for various newspapers, magazines and journals. I live in San Francisco California.
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