The end of a (pipe) dream

“With Biden in the White House we will have a war with Iran”. “Biden will return us to the ’67 borders”. “Biden will agree to a Palestinian State”. “Biden is going back to the Iran Nuclear Accord”.

These are just some of the panic reactions heard in Israel from mostly right-wing politicians, who believe that Trump was our Messiah and now the bitter reality of Biden will overtake and undo all of Israel’s accomplishments under the wings of Trump.

One commentator in the Haaretz newspaper even went so far as to dish up a sophisticated calculation proving, as far as he is concerned, that the Jews were responsible for Biden’s win and that without the Jews Trump would have remained in the White House. It is not clear if Shalev (the author of the article) was pleased with this result or not, in any case it is too preposterous to relate to seriously. The Jews of America, voted as Americans, and an analysis as ridiculous as this, only shows how Israelis think everything is about them. A thorough look at the actions of Trump shows his care for Israel will go as far as his own interests will be furthered by it and no more. Maybe he was influenced by a part of his electoral base, the Evangelists, but, as it turns out, even they couldn’t help him.

Joe Biden is surely also aware of the importance of the backing of large population groups like the Jews, but a little more detailed analysis of the Jewish vote will show that the Jews voted for Biden because of his liberal and humanitarian views, about Healthcare, about Racism, about immigrants etc.,  and while Israel may have come to mind of many of the voting Jews, it has been known for quite a while that there is a growing distance between American Jews and Israel, for a number of reasons, from Israeli politics to the absolute control of Orthodox Judaism in Israel (most American Jews are not Orthodox).

So, how should Israel look at the simple fact that from January on, Joseph Biden will be president of the United States? Biden knows no doubt that Israel is the staunchest ally of the United States in the Middle East, and the Defense agreements between the two countries are a mutual benefit and will be maintained and likely strengthened also by the Biden administration. And Biden has repeatedly expressed and shown his support for Israel, and that is not expected to change.

Israeli politics towards the Palestinians is a different matter. And here right-wing politicians do have grounds to worry, because it is already clear that the Biden administration will not look favorably on the continued land theft by Israel in the Occupied Territories, nor will it allow the continued illegal influx of Jews into East Jerusalem.

Biden will regard the renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians as a crucial part of his Middle East Policy and he is not likely to accept the “there is no Partner for Negotiations” excuses that helped Israel during the Trump years to totally abandon the Palestinians. A Palestinian State will definitely be part of such negotiations, but it may be expected that Biden, as mediator, will allow the two sides to come to conclusions and arrangements on their own.

As one Israeli newspaper already hastened to point out, there will not be a town called after Biden anytime soon (Trump got his “Trump Heights” town in the Golan Heights), but there should not be any doubt or worry that Biden will not act in the best interest of Israel and stand by the Jewish State when necessary.

Of course, “Acting in Israel’s Best Interest” may be interpreted very differently and from the panicky reactions of right-wingers in Israel it may be understood that not everybody will be happy.

But a balanced, straightforward policy towards Israel will help in controlling and limiting the extreme elements in Israeli society that have pushed Israel to the brink of war (with Iran) several times in the past four years. It will help prevent the blatantly illegal actions of the Israeli government, which have caused an increasingly sharp polarization in Israeli society and it will help prevent Israel from becoming the “Apartheid” State that some Israelis are striving for.

It is always difficult to predict how politicians will behave once they reach positions of power, but Israel should be pleased that the four years of Trump finally have ended.

And, who knows, Netanyahu will be the next self-centered megalomaniac that will be send home.  

I hope you found this article interesting and I welcome any comments you may have.

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