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Israel - US Relations

While former President Barack Obama had a notoriously frosty relationship with Netanyahu, Biden’s personal friendship with the Israeli prime minister stretches back more than three decades.

On 19 May 2020, Biden conducted an online fundraiser cohosted by the former Obama ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, and pro-Israel academic, Deborah Lipstadt. According to The New York Times, Biden told donors that “it was important to condemn criticism of Israel that drifts toward anti-Semitism, including on the political left”, even as he acknowledged that he had “gotten in trouble” for such calls in the past. “Criticism of Israel’s policy is not anti-Semitism,” Biden said. “But too often that criticism from the left morphs into anti-Semitism.”

Biden in effect has endorsed one of the most incendiary decisions of Trump’s presidency, moving the US embassy to the divided city of Jerusalem: endorsing Israeli sovereignty, including over East Jerusalem, which is supposedly reserved for a Palestinian capital. This Democratic presidential hopeful, who served as vice president in an administration that refused to do any of these things, has swallowed the poison pill and declared it delicious.

Biden’s white paper addressed to Jewish voters, The Jewish Community: a Record and a Plan of Friendship, Support, and Action promised to resume aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), he conditions it on the PA halting its welfare payments to the surviving family of shahids who died at the hands of Israel. As PA President Mahmoud Abbas has refused such demands in the past, this would mean that Biden would effectively continue Trump’s cutoff of all support to the Palestinians.

In earlier statements, Biden’s senior adviser Tony Blinken had explained that his candidate would not condition US aid to Israel on Israel’s adherence to international law. “He [Biden] would not tie military assistance to Israel to any political decisions that it makes. Period. Full stop. He said it; he’s committed to it.” Blinken also emphasised that, if elected president, Biden will push back against the BDS movement as well as efforts to denounce Israel for its violations of international law at the United Nations. “Will we stand up forcefully against it and try to prevent it, defuse it and defeat it? Absolutely,” he said.

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Page last modified: 03-07-2022 15:25:51 ZULU