There’s just one thing we don’t know about the future: what it will bring. Like everyone else, I don’t have a crystal ball. But, as a Jewish-American who wants to see Israel prosper and thrive, I see warning signs on the horizon. You probably see them too, so it’s likely I won’t be telling you anything you don’t already know. Still, I won’t feel comfortable until I get this off my chest. So, here goes.
No matter what all those progressive, woke, J-Street-type American Jews contend, the Democratic Party is now moving to positions that are much less favorable, and perhaps even hostile, to Israel. And now it’s not only Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, together with Senator Bernie Sanders—that is, the most extreme, left-wing elected officials in the party—who exemplify this trend.
In the last few weeks we have seen a majority of Democratic senators—not a few Democratic senators, but a majority of them—issue this statement: “To prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories, we urge an immediate ceasefire.”
They might instead have said that, to prevent any further loss of civilian life, they were urging Hamas and the other Islamist terrorists to stop launching rockets into Israeli population centers and to stop their well-documented practice of launching those rockets from Gaza residential areas while using civilian Palestinians as shields (all of which constitute war crimes). But that’s not what they said.
Similarly, nearly two-thirds of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives sent a letter to Pres. Biden, urging him to “take decisive action to end the violence.”
Thus, more than half of the Democratic members of the Senate and the House are quite comfortable with the idea that Islamist terrorists are free to decide when to begin launching rockets into Israeli communities, but Israel has no right to determine when the terrorists’ capabilities have been sufficiently degraded to deter or at least substantially delay the next inevitable attack from Gaza. Democratic politicians in D.C. of course know more about Hamas’ capabilities than Israel does.
It might also be noted that, during the four years of the Trump administration, the Islamist terrorists in Gaza did not launch any major rocket attacks on Israel. Three months into Biden’s presidency, the rockets start flying from Gaza. Maybe the terrorists think the new Democratic administration is less likely to strongly support Israel.
Moreover, as president, Joe Biden has rejected the innovative approach that former president Trump followed—an approach which actually produced favorable results, in the form of the Abraham Accords, for Israel. Instead, Biden has resurrected the antiquated “two-state solution,” a “solution” that has not solved anything in the last fifty years.
The Palestinians launching the rockets are the Islamist terrorists in Gaza. They have no allegiance to Mahmoud Abbas, the impotent, superannuated “president” of the Palestinian Authority who is currently in the 17th year of his four-year term as president. So, a “two-state solution” with the Palestinian Authority would be worthless, because Abbas and his cronies could not deliver peace. Peace can be attained only if the Islamist terrorists in Gaza lay down their weapons and commit to living in peace with Israel. They will never do that voluntarily.
Hamas and the other terrorists sincerely believe they have a religious obligation to cleanse Palestine—from the River to the Sea—of any taint of Jewish sovereignty. Because it was conquered in the past by Muslims, the land of Palestine is forever, until Judgment Day, an Islamic Waqf land; it must be ruled by Muslims. (Don’t take my word; read the Hamas Covenant.) How can there be a “two-state solution,” when the Palestinians with the rockets and the guns believe they have a religious duty to create one state—an Islamic state—from the River to the Sea?
One day, in the not-so-distant future, it is possible that a U.S. president will use the bully pulpit to announce: “Palestinian Lives Matter.” If Bernie Sanders were president (and he came pretty close), he would have already announced it. It might never happen, and I hope it won’t, but, given current trends in the Democratic Party, it could. The lesson for Israel is that it must be prepared for such a possibility.
There are, I think, two main fronts where Israel should make preparations. One is the arena of weaponry and defense. I think Israel should plan for the possibility that U.S. funding grants for Israeli arms purchases from U.S. defense contractors will no longer be available. And, concomitantly, Israeli access to particular U.S. weapons, including Iron Dome missiles, might be limited or terminated. Therefore, Israel should develop options that would enable it to replicate or even improve on the most vital military hardware it currently receives from the U.S. Israel itself has a formidable defense industry; it should expand and strengthen those capabilities.
The other main front would be international relations with countries beyond the U.S. There are more than a billion Muslims in the world, and perhaps fifteen million Jews. There are approximately fifty Muslim-majority countries in the world, and only one Jewish-majority country. So, Israel is always going to be subjected to unfair and unfounded criticism in the international arena. We see that at the U.N. every day.
But, notwithstanding all the criticism, Israel’s international relations have strengthened in recent years. There are two drivers supporting that positive trend. First, the Sunni Arab states see Shiite, non-Arab Iran as a grave threat, and, in the Middle East, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Israel should focus (as I’m sure it does) on improving relations with its Arab neighbors.
The second driver of improvements in Israel’s foreign relations is that Israel makes stuff that lots of other countries want to buy. The “start-up nation” leads in many high-tech fields that produce innovative products. Israel ought to invest as much as it can in schools, laboratories, basic research, etc.—in all the educational and high-tech infrastructure that fuels an inventive, entrepreneurial business sector.
One hopes the concerns that inspire this warning will never be actualized. But, as the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared.”