President Trump is keeping the Palestinian Authority’s feet to the fire until it resumes direct negotiations with Israel in good faith and ceases using its funds to subsidize Palestinians imprisoned in connection with terrorist acts against Israelis, or the families of jailed or dead terrorists. By contrast, the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to return to the failed policies of the Obama-Biden administration. Biden recently stated that, if elected president, he “will reopen the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem, find a way to re-open the PLO’s diplomatic mission in Washington, and resume the decades-long economic and security assistance efforts to the Palestinians that the Trump Administration stopped.” Biden demands an end to Israeli settlements and opposes annexation of any disputed territories, even if done for purely security reasons.
President Trump signed the Taylor Force Act in 2018. This law prohibits certain economic support assistance that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority (PA) from being made available for the West Bank and Gaza unless certain conditions are met. The Department of State must certify that the PA, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any successor or affiliated organizations, among other things, have terminated payments for acts of terrorism against U.S. and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been fairly tried and imprisoned for such acts, to any individual who died committing such acts, and to family members of such an individual. Either Biden intends to seek the repeal of the Taylor Force Act or just plans to ignore it, assuming he follows through with his pledge to “resume the decades-long economic and security assistance efforts to the Palestinians that the Trump Administration stopped.”
Although Biden claimed that he would not move the U.S. embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, he said the embassy “should not have been moved.” Biden called the move “short-sighted and frivolous,” even though Obama and prior presidents had promised to do the very same thing.
In 1995, while serving in the Senate, Biden voted for the Jerusalem Embassy Act which authorized moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At that time, then-Senator Biden noted “the continued sham of maintaining our Embassy in Tel Aviv.” He declared, “Regardless of what others may think, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.” Biden added, “Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem will send the right signal, not a destructive signal. To do less would be to play into the hands of those who will try their hardest to deny Israel the full attributes of statehood.”
Donald Trump promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and he made it happen. The president had the courage to follow through on the convictions that Biden had 25 years ago but has abandoned.
Obama and Biden had eight long years to change the trajectory towards a viable negotiated two-state solution but got nowhere. In playing their “honest broker” role, they distanced the U.S. from Israel and pressured Israel into agreeing to a moratorium on settlement building. This accomplished nothing except to harden the Palestinians’ position. Yet Biden wants to reprise the Obama-Biden administration’s bankrupt approach, which yielded stalemate in the negotiations and imposed no consequences for Hamas’s rocket attacks launched against Israeli civilians and the incitement to violence against Israel by leaders of the Palestinian Authority.
Joe Biden is caving increasingly to the leftwing agenda on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the agenda of the progressive J Street, which endorsed Biden’s candidacy on April 17, 2020. In its endorsement announcement, J Street said that it intends to raise over $1 million for the campaign by Election Day.
J Street claims to support Israel but it is doing so in name only. The group, for example, lobbied against the Taylor Force Act. It is now pushing for pro-Palestinian planks in the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform that are critical of settlements and declare “formal opposition to Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank.”
The topic of conditioning U.S. aid to Israel rose to the surface at J Street’s confab last October when Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, declared, “Our aid is not intended to be a blank check.” He later told +972 Magazine, “It is important for the U.S. to take a very close look at whether or not our money should be going for activities that make it impossible to get to a two-state solution.” He was talking about aid to Israel.
On February 11, 2020 Ben-Ami embraced Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas after Abbas had denounced the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan.
During the primary campaign, Bernie Sanders endorsed the conditioning of aid to Israel on how it treats the Palestinians. Last year, when Biden and Sanders were still competing for the Democratic nomination, Biden criticized Sanders’ position. “The idea that I’d withdraw military aid, as others have suggested, from Israel, is bizarre,” Biden said. “I would not do that.” But since Sanders decided to suspend his campaign and endorsed Biden, things have changed. Now that Biden is the presumed nominee and wants to secure as many Sanders supporters as he can in the general election, he has tacked further left. That is what Israel-hater Linda Sarsour and campaigner for Sanders said must be done if Biden wants Sanders supporters in his camp.
“We have to push him to the left,” Sarsour tweeted last March. During an interview Sarsour conducted on April 28, 2020 she said she would choose Joe Biden “because he’s not a fascist.” In the same interview, she said that “we have trillions of dollars that we send the state of Israel in military aid that is used to occupy the Palestinian people who are me.” During a digital town hall discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Biden’s presidential platform on April 23rd, Sarsour suggested that “there is some potential” for progressives to “force” Biden to shift his long-standing views on Israel. That was shortly before she equated Israel’s human rights record with North Korea’s. “Our taxpayer dollars are funding the continued occupation of the Palestinian people,” Sarsour said. “Like, North Korea commits outrageous human rights violations against the North Korean people, but guess what? We are not funding them, we are not bottom-lining their oppression.”
Sarsour is an avid supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Back in 2012, Sarsour tweeted, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism. Challenge racism, #NormalizeJustice.”
Joe Biden should forcefully reject the support of Israel-haters like Linda Sarsour. Biden should also repudiate the endorsement of his candidacy by Progressive Caucus co-chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal as well as her offer to “do everything I can to help him win back the White House.” Jayapal was one of only 16 House Democrats who voted against a non-binding resolution that opposed the BDS movement. Squad members Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Rep. Ilhan Omar joined Jayapal in the opposition. So did co-chairman of Sanders’ campaign Rep. Mark Pocan, who has since also endorsed Biden’s candidacy. But Biden has not pushed back. In his quest for the presidency, Biden has put out the welcome mat for Sanders supporters, irrespective of their views on Israel.
Emgage, which claims to be the largest Muslim political action committee in the country and originally backed Sanders’ candidacy, has come out in support of Biden. “I am honored to receive the endorsement of Emgage PAC,” said Biden in a statement. “I am excited to have Emgage PAC’s support to mobilize Muslim Americans to vote in November and elevate the voices of Muslim Americans across the country.” Emgage also endorsed Omar and Tlaib in 2018 and can be expected to do so again.
Helping Emgage get out the vote for Biden in New York will be Debbie Almontaser, who was named recently as the Senior Advisor for Emgage NY. Almontaser and Linda Sarsour are friends. They have appeared together, including back in 2015 on NY1 Online. Almontaser gained notoriety back in 2007 when she resigned under pressure as principal of the Arabic-themed Khalil Gibran International Academy days after she was quoted defending the use of the phrase “Intifada NYC” as a T-shirt slogan. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) -NY rallied to demand Almontaser’s reinstatement. She repaid the favor by working with CAIR in its attack on the counter-terrorism efforts of the NYPD and also by speaking at a major CAIR fundraiser.
Joe Biden has been seeking the presidency for more than 30 years. Desperate to succeed with his final bid for the White House, Biden is willing to abandon his past strong support for Israel and accept help from progressive Israel-bashers.