The Holocaust in Israel, the Palestinians, and the Promise of Israel: A Memorandum to Prime Minister Biden during the White House Reheating
There is no one who sensitized him to the issues of the Jewish state while he was with Harry Truman. But Mr. Biden traces his interest to childhood conversations with his father, who described the horrors of the Holocaust over dinner.
The Biden administration is getting the moral equation right according to the word and deed. There should be pressure on Israel to cease the offensive, but not on Hamas to release hostages or give up control of Gaza. Hamas had no legal or moral right to launch its deliberate attack on Israeli civilians. It doesn’t have a right to hide from Israeli attacks in the civilian population. Israel, by contrast, has every right to destroy Hamas in a manner consistent with the laws of war.
Aides said Mr. Biden’s public embrace of Mr. Netanyahu gives him the ability to influence him in private. The president has spoken with the prime minister 10 times since Hamas assailants killed more than 1,400 people and seized another 200 as hostages on Oct. 7, in addition to flying across the world to hug Mr. Netanyahu and survivors of the attack.
Advisers said that Mr. Biden asked pointed questions in those private sessions. Why do you plan to do it this way? What comes next, have you thought about it? What have you done to help the people of Gaza?
“He genuinely feels that it’s not his place to tell another leader how to handle his own politics,” said Jonah Blank, who advised Mr. Biden on the Middle East during his Senate days. “He’ll offer advice, but he’s not going to do it like Tony Soprano.”
The War Between Israel and China in the Years 2024: From the Cold to the Cold, from the Beginning to the End of the World – remembering Joseph Blinken
“The world was wrong — failing to respond to Hitler’s atrocities against the Jews — and we should be ashamed,” he quoted his father saying in one of his memoirs.
In a phone interview, Mr. Blinken said that he had seen it and experienced it and that it went from the president’s gut to his head. Other presidents may process the situation through an “intellectual policy prism,” he added. I have been privileged to witness it and it seems to me that this is more visceral for him.
Now fast-forward to August 2024, when Biden will speak on his own behalf in Chicago at the next Democratic convention. He will have to tell the American people that he did his job. Will he be able to make the claim in the face of international crises, as much as Barack or Donald did during their presidencies?
The sentence was so important because it made me remember that Romney would do a better job as president than obama, and it also made me remember that two of a president’s most important tasks are preserving prosperity at home and security abroad. A war-weary nation longed for a clear win, and a people still recovering from the Great Recession needed economic stability. The killing of bin Laden was the greatest victory of the war on terrorism, and the preservation of General Motors, an iconic American company, resonated as a national symbol as important as or more important than the number of jobs saved.
Consider what he confronts: a brutal Russian assault on a liberal democracy in Europe, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and an aggressive China that is gaining military strength and threatens Taiwan. There is a new cold war as well as two hot wars, each against a nation or entity that negates any meaningful moral standards, violates international law and commits crimes against humanity.
In each conflict abroad — hot or cold — America is indispensable to the defense of democracy and basic humanity. If the United States acts as a democracy, the Ukrainian military can be supplied with the weapons and goods it needs. America is both Israel’s ally and military partner. It depends on our aid and — just as important — our good will for much of its strength and security. Taiwan is a target of opportunity for China since they don’t have the might of the Pacific Fleet.
In Chicago he will have his own story to tell, one that should beat out the adversity of war and politics if he can stick with it. If Biden can do his job, then he can take the stage in Chicago with his own simple pitch for re-election: In the face of disease, war, inflation and division, the economy thrives — and democracy is alive.
Biden is now under fire from two sides, making these challenges even more difficult. The populist, Trumpist right threatens his ability to fund Ukraine, hoping to engineer a cutoff in aid that could well lead to the greatest victory for European autocrats since Hitler and then Stalin swallowed European democracies whole in their quest for power and control.
At the same time, progressives calling for a cease-fire in Gaza threaten to hand Hamas the greatest victory of its existence. If Hamas can wound Israel so deeply and yet live to fight again, it will have accomplished what ISIS could not — commit acts of the most brutal terror and then survive as an intact organization against a military that possesses the power to crush it outright. Dennis Ross was a former US envoy to the Middle East. The outcome of that situation will doom not just Gaza but also much of the rest of the Middle East.
I understand both the good-faith right-wing objections to Ukraine aid and the good-faith progressive calls for a cease-fire in Israel. Ukraine needs an extraordinary amount of American support for a war that has no end in sight. When Ukraine is on the advance, it makes it easier to rally the West. It is hard to sustain American support in the face of trench warfare that consumes men and material at a terrifying pace.
The combination of the fog of war and Hamas misinformation can lead to exaggerated or false Israeli atrocities being reported around the world before the full truth is known. There is no way for decent people to not empathise with the plight of the innocent because of the sheer scale of the Israeli response.
The combination of tragedy, confusion and cost is what makes leadership so difficult. A good leader can’t overreact to any given news cycle. He or she can’t overreact to any specific report from the battlefield. A good leader cannot overreact to a negative poll.
I’ve long thought that politicians’ moment-by-moment reaction to activists, to members of the media and to polls is partly responsible for the decline in trust in American politicians. There is evidence of instability in the aggregate which can be felt in the moment. The desire to win each and every news cycle leads to short-term thinking. Politicians put out fires they see on social media, or they change course in response to anger coming from activists. Activists and critics in the media see an outrage and demand an immediate response, but what the body politic really needs is a thoughtful, deliberate strategy and the resolve to see it through.
No administration is perfect. Americans should object to the slow pace of approval for the new weapons system in Ukraine. But in each key theater, Biden’s policies are fundamentally sound. We should support Ukraine as long as it’s necessary to preserve Ukrainian independence from Russian assault. We should be with Israel as it responds to mass murder and support a lawful operation in the heart of Gaza. We should continue bolstering alliances in the Pacific to better our allies military capabilities and help share the burden of defense.
Later on Thursday, he gave an even bigger moral context. Asked at a news conference about Biden’s observation that innocents will continue to die as Israel presses its attacks, Kirby responded with facts we cannot forget: “What’s harsh is the way Hamas is using people as human shields. Taking a couple of hundred hostages and leaving families anxious, waiting and worrying to locate their loved ones is harsh. A bunch of young people at a music festival are going to be slaughtered.
Ms. Lee said Jews were “10 percent of our district, but we also have Muslim, Arab, Palestinian constituents who are afraid for their families and their lives.”
George Latimer is the executive of the Westchester County that’s in the northern part of New York.
They aregirdicing for possible challenges to Representatives Cori Bush of Missouri, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, funded from deep pockets of the pro-Israel groups.
The Justice Democrats, the liberal group that helped elect many of the progressives now on the primary targets list, said that they spent a historic amount of money to intervene. “I think we will see a doubling and tripling down, because no one in the Democratic leadership is trying to stop them.”
“There will be a time for political action, but right now our priority is building and sustaining congressional support for Israel’s fight to permanently dismantle Hamas,” said the group’s spokesman, Marshall Wittmann.
The jabs are already begun. The lobbying group called Mr. Bowman’s resolution a transparent ploy to paint Israel as aggressor and allow Hamas to control Gaza. Hitting Ms. Lee, AIPAC wrote on X, “Emboldening a group that massacres Israelis and uses Palestinians as human shields will never achieve peace.”
“I think we’re in a post-9/11 environment where there’s a lot of fear to speak out against war, and there could be political electoral consequences for not lining up for the cause of war, the way there was in 2002,” he said.