Anyone who has read my work (see, for example, March 1, March 29, June 28) knows I have no hesitation about criticizing President Joe Biden when warranted. Still, there is a vast difference between policy disagreements and character assassination. Sadly, the toxic political environment in America today does not allow for civility. The right and left now demonize anyone with whom they disagree. If the Messiah arrived tomorrow, they would be dismissed as unpatriotic, treasonous, or worse.
Unsurprisingly, even as Biden has displayed greater support for Israel in wartime than any of his predecessors, right-wingers are slandering him with multiple accusations suggesting he is responsible for the Hamas massacre of Israelis. This paper will not publish the word that best describes his detractors, so let’s just say they are full of nonsense.
As Israel faces one of its most difficult tests, Biden has made the strongest statements ever made backing the government’s right to self-defense and the American commitment to Israel. Biden has backed up his words with action: accelerating the supply of weaponry and moving U.S. forces to the region to amplify the message that the might of America is behind Israel. While Israel does not ask for American troops to fight for it, I don’t doubt that if U.S. firepower is needed to keep Iran and Hezbollah at bay, the president will use it.
Just a few weeks ago, even some friends of Israel were making the foolish suggestion that Israel should give up U.S. aid. They look even more ridiculous now that the political, economic, and military significance of that aid is being demonstrated.
Israel requested help, and the president plans to deliver it with the help of the pro-Israel Congress, whose handful of antisemites and detractors are once again proven irrelevant.
Biden has stood up for Israel despite howls of protest from the anti-Israel progressives that are part of his base. He did not hesitate to stand next to Israel’s prime minister, with whom he had sparred for months, even as some of America’s Arab allies and enemies shrieked.
Still, Biden is a Democrat and, therefore, the apotheosis of evil for the partisans.
How is he responsible for the Hamas massacre?
Let’s start with his withdrawal from Afghanistan. It was carried out ineptly and emboldened the Taliban and other Islamists. Of course, it was also the completion of a process begun by Donald Trump. Regardless, Hamas didn’t care about Afghanistan and did not suddenly decide Israel was vulnerable because America cut and ran from a battlefield two thousand miles away.
Another popular fiction is that the president’s Iran policy was responsible. His policy toward Iran has been a mistake, but Biden’s desire to return to the nuclear deal has nothing to do with anything Hamas does.
But what about that $6 billion ransom Biden paid to get back five American hostages? That was a terrible decision. Still, not a nickel has been released, even for its intended purpose of humanitarian aid to the Iranian people. Besides, Iran began funding Hamas long before Biden became president and planned its attack before that hostage deal was announced.
Yet another attack is over Biden’s decision to resume aid to the Palestinian Authority (not Hamas) and UNRWA, and now to provide $100 million in humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza fleeing the fighting. I opposed the resumption of aid when Biden entered office, but that was not what motivated Hamas to attack Israel. It is possible, if not likely that Hamas will divert the new aid, but that is still after the fact. Moreover, Israel requested humanitarian assistance for Palestinians.
More importantly, it was not the United States that funded Hamas. That was Iran and Qatar. And who is it that agreed to let Qatar bring suitcases of cash to Gaza that was diverted to Hamas?
One guess. It wasn’t Joe Biden.
And who was responsible for the IDF’s intelligence failure and lack of readiness when the attack occurred.
It wasn’t Joe Biden.
Who incentivized Hamas to take hostages by trading more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for a single Israeli soldier years before the Iran hostage deal?
It wasn’t Joe Biden.
Who failed to organize a government response to the crisis or communicate with the families of victims and hostages?
It wasn’t Joe Biden.
Who met with the families, shed tears and hugs, and empathized with them?
That was Joe Biden.
Now Biden is being accused of holding up Israel’s ground operation because he would like to give negotiators more time to win the release of hostages. There is no indication that this is affecting Israel’s war plans, which are to first do as much damage from the air as possible. That strategy has not been affected.
And it is not only the United States that has an interest in making every effort to free hostages before Israeli troops go in and carry out operations that may result in hostages losing their lives or prompting Hamas to kill them. Many other countries, including Israel, want to give negotiators a chance to free as many hostages as possible. A former Mossad official involved in the negotiations to free Gilad Shalit has also said Israel should delay ground operations.
There will be plenty of time after the war, and Hamas is vanquished, to lay blame for the mistakes made before and after October 7. Automatons in America may try to place it on President Biden, but Israelis know that the responsible party is in Jerusalem, not Washington.