Biden Phoned, and It's a Good Thing Netanyahu Toed the Line

Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler
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Defense Minister Benny Gantz showing an Iron Dome battery to his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz showing an Iron Dome battery to his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin. Credit: Matty Stern / U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler

After completely supporting the harsh bombings in the Gaza Strip for a full week, and vetoing a number of resolutions against Israel in the UN Security Council, Joe Biden concluded that the operation had run its course. First he hinted at it, but when the other shoe didn’t fall, he spoke with Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and proposed that the prime minister end the campaign.

Netanyahu realized that this was an offer he couldn’t refuse, and the next day he called Biden twice to report that Israel was ready for a cease-fire, which went into effect at 2 A.M. Friday morning.

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Israeli politicians, journalists and public figures came out against Biden. They said we should have told him a big and thunderous no and continued the operation until “Hamas was defeated.” They claimed that Biden surrendered to the Democratic Party’s progressive faction, which is leading the fight against Israel – showing that Biden is just a small-time politician, not a major statesman. Others said it was time to come out from under America’s skirts, become independent and find a better ally more considerate of our interests.

As for the claim that we needed to “defeat Hamas,” it sounds good but it requires a ground attack and the occupation of Gaza for a long time. This would mean dozens of soldiers killed, and no one at the top of the defense or political pyramid wanted this – without any connection to Biden.

As for the Democrats, it’s true we’re losing them, but that’s Netanyahu’s fault. He abandoned Israel’s traditional policies, which always treated the two parties equally, and crudely took the side of the Republicans. He supported Mitt Romney against Barack Obama, and after Obama was elected, totally ruined the relationship with him when he promised to act to advance a two-state solution but did the exact opposite when he expanded construction in the settlements and blew up the negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. After that, Netanyahu joined up completely on behalf of Donald Trump.

So why is it a surprise that we’re losing the Democrats? It’s no coincidence that members of the party recently proposed that Washington cut military aid to Israel.

We must also understand that we can’t win the war for global public opinion; it’s impossible when you see the pictures of destruction in Gaza. The entire world – including the United States – no longer views the Mideast conflict as a conflict over territory but as ongoing repression where the oppressor is the privileged white man and the oppressed are the poor natives. As far as the world is concerned, Israel is a colonialist apartheid state that exploits and hurts the week – and every liberal must fight it.

But the craziest argument is that we need a divorce from the United States. Every year we receive $3.8 billion from it for military purposes. With this money we buy the newest planes, Iron Dome missiles, Apache helicopters and the engine for the Merkava tank. In fact, all our military’s power and qualitative advantage depends on the goodwill of the United States and scientific cooperation with it.

We’re dependent on the United States economically too. If the American support disappears, the ratings agencies will lower Israel’s ratings and banks all over the globe will no longer agree to finance us. Then the dollar will take off, inflation will rise, foreign investors will flee, the trade surplus will turn into a deficit and we’ll wind up in a severe recession. Everyone knows too that without the American veto, the Security Council would have imposed severe economic sanctions on us a long time ago à la South Africa.

The naked truth is that we’re really just a small, fragile country dependent on the United States. Even Netanyahu understands this, so he carried out Biden’s “offer” precisely.

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