The Biden Administration’s Hostility Towards Israel Is Counter-productive — and Could be Contagious
CSP Panel Addresses U.S. Contributions to the Jewish State’s Insecurity
The new Israeli government is barely a week old, but it faces an unprecedented array of criticisms — including some outright threats — from domestic opponents and foreign adversaries. Worse yet, both are being encouraged and emboldened by the ill-concealed hostility of the U.S. government. As high-level bilateral meetings take place in this country and in the Jewish State, it is time to examine what is at stake and to avoid further, possibly enduring harm to the bilateral relationship.
The Netanyahu government faces arguably unprecedented vitriol from its internal critics among the political opposition and the left-leaning opinion-setting elites. Their attacks focus on the governing coalition’s policies with respect to social issues, legal reforms and foreign policy. Especially neuralgic has been the response to a series of proposed reforms that threaten the monopolistic control enjoyed by a narrow Ashkenazi/secular/left-leaning legal fraternity and that contribute to the increasingly unchecked power of Israeli courts.
Things have reached the point where all the main opposition leaders, a number of former officials and prominent influencers have overtly called for a “civil war,” an insurrection, a popular revolt or a universal refusal to follow orders of police or government. Compounding such incitement are widely disseminated pictures of the new government’s officials are characterized in posts as Nazis, SS officers or Ayatollahs.
It appears that the Biden administration is fostering such dangerous fracturing of Israeli society and its mondo politico. For one thing, the United States has remained silent amid such threats to the rule of law and demands for an insurrection against the new, democratically elected Israeli government. It has, instead, adopted what is, at best, a posture of probational judgment of Bibi Netanyahu and his coalition, if not outright hostility towards them.
Washington is also aggressively challenging the new coalition in Jerusalem by trying to morph the Abraham Accords into the Oslo framework, whereby Israel’s increasingly strategic and friendly bilateral relationships with its Arab neighbors are once again subordinated to the Palestinian issue and regional progress subjected to a PLO veto.
On the status of Jerusalem, itself, the United States is increasingly siding with Jordan — while ignoring the Hashemite kingdom’s fraught bid to reinterpret the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty in ways that limit or terminate Israeli sovereignty in the most critical parts of the Old City and promote the concept of the “historic status quo,” a new term that implies complete restoration of Islamic sovereignty over all the holy places as it was in 1857 under Ottoman imperial rule.
And on Iran, the United States insists that it has, for the moment at least, backed off its quest of a new nuclear deal. But it has neither taken it off the table decisively nor materially stiffened policies to isolate the regime (e.g., no snap-back sanctions, no broader designation of sanctions, no regime-change suggestions, no severing of all contacts).
The Center for Security Policy discussed these topics and much more in the latest Mideast Policy Webinar.