The case of Israel in Trump vs Biden

Though registered as a Republican in Florida, I am the only one in our family voting for Biden on November 3. A big factor in my family’s decision to vote for Trump was Israel and the excellent decisions that Trump took on moving our embassy to Jerusalem, getting out of the flawed JCPOA and on promoting the peace agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and maybe Sudan.

These are all good reasons to be happy with Trump and I don’t want to minimize the importance of these pro-Israel actions. I have been traveling to Israel since 1971 and lost count after 35 trips. Unfortunately we were not able to travel to Israel in 2020, because of Covid, but our next trip has already been booked for the Summer of 2021.

I also have reasons to be concerned about the upcoming Biden Administration intention of rejoining the JCPOA, and including John Kerry in his Cabinet is a worrisome sign for things to come. Kerry’s push to include the sunset clause in the JCPOA must be counted as one of the worst political decisions in US history. This being said, I am confident that otherwise Biden has chosen people in key positions that will maintain the traditional bi-partisan support of Israel and let’s face it, I doubt that Biden will be able to agree to rejoin the JCPOA, and remove current sanctions on Iran, without material changes to the JCPOA.

While applauding Trump for his pro Israel actions, I also worry how the form of some of these actions and aggressive behavior may have damaged the bi-partisan nature of support for Israel. In fact, Netanyahu has his share of responsibility as well, especially on how he blindsided Obama when addressing the US Congress several years ago.

The security and prosperity of Israel are engrained in my DNA. But besides my love for Israel, I also believe in the strategic interest of Israel for the US and for Europe (however little Europe realizes this). Without Israel, the Arab Middle East would have been dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood supporting Turkey and the Shia dictators in Teheran. The rest of the world should say a prayer for Israel every day !

The American military and political support for Israel is absolutely crucial for Israel and has shown to be for the past many years. But in a world that has become far more global than before, the US should show moral leadership and work with the other political powers around the world. And moral leadership and Trump, unfortunately, are opposite poles. While many, if not most, politicians are egotistic and lying personalities, Trump is the ultimate narcissist, egotist and lying politician among the current political leaders.
That is not good for America and that is not good for Israel, however much some of his decisions have been good. Many politicians show empathy, even if some are just good at faking that empathy, but Trump is not even capable to fake an emotion that is outside of his range of feelings.

And if many decided that, even if they are disgusted by the Democrats and skeptical of Biden, voting for Trump was the best choice, they should recognize that his abhorrent behavior after November 3 is an insult to America. He is a sore loser, now entrapped in his own denials of his electoral loss, and very unfortunately willing to pull the country down while making his fake accusations. I even think that his behavior may damage the GOP chances of winning the January Senatorial elections in Georgia.

However uncertain I am about Biden becoming a great President, I do hope that he will rebuild the leadership of the US in the world, being firm with China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Turkey, but achieving our objectives, if possible, in concert with the other world powers, however difficult that may be. When it comes to Israel, there are several steps that Biden should take : (1) commit to a JCPOA without a sunset clause (2) maintain sanctions on Iran for as long as they support Hezbollah and destabilize the Middle East, (3) work on a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia (4) however difficult, work on an agreement between Israel and the Arab Palestinians that ensures Israel’s security but that gives Arab Palestinians a democratic say on their own affairs. An agreement with Saudi Arabia, with support from Europe, Russia and China, could do the job. In that, not currently easily realistic, scenario, Arab Palestinians must have a contiguous territory, economic and financial support to give people hope for the future, while eliminating Hamas and Islamic Jihad from their midst. It is also clear that that contiguous territory can no longer be based on the pre-1967 borders. These were armistice lines that Arab Palestinians never accepted when they had them. No, the new borders should not be based on armistice lines, but on ethnic logic.

These are the challenges on Biden’s plate and I have some concerns that he is capable of stepping up to that plate, especially with John Kerry on his team. But the President elect will be our new President on January 20, 2021 and I wish him the best of successes, even if I may be in his opposition. I voted for Biden against Trump, not out of conviction of Biden.

About the Author
Born in the Netherlands, graduated from the Universite de Geneve and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, also in Geneva. Fluent in Dutch, French, English and Spanish, with some knowledge of German, as well as a bit of Ivrit. Spent my working career working in finance in Amsterdam, Paris, London, Geneva, Panama, Mexico and Miami. I am now semi-retired.
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