Israel is an ally, not a geopolitical pawn.
It was disappointing, but not surprising, to read Haim Saban’s biased defense in the Sun-Sentinel of Joe Biden’s foreign policy record — specifically his claim that Biden would be able to do more to enhance Israel’s security than President Trump.
It’s difficult to believe that anyone could sincerely hold that view, given that Biden served in the administration that signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran — a one-sided deal that made Israel more vulnerable to nuclear annihilation than ever before.
Saban asserts that “a Biden administration would never use the holy city of Jerusalem as a political prop,” which is apparently a convoluted way of saying that Biden would reverse the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s legitimate capital.
The fact is, however, that when Donald Trump moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he was merely carrying out the longstanding will of Congress and ending the practice of treating Israel as some sort of client state. Prior to 2017, three successive presidential administrations — including the one in which Biden served as vice president — had refused to recognize Israel’s sovereignty solely out of deference to the Jewish state’s professed archenemies. That’s no way to treat an ally. It’s not even the proper way to treat a neutral state that exercises independent control over its own affairs.
Saban then uses Biden’s own words to inadvertently hammer home the notion that the former vice president views the U.S.-Israel alliance in purely transactional terms, noting that Biden once said that “were there not an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests.”
Whereas Saban attributes Biden’s stance to a desire to protect U.S. troops in the Middle East, the Trump administration has forged a close working relationship with Israel’s leaders, treating them as equal partners rather than overseers of a giant American military base.
That attitude certainly informed the president’s decision to tear up the Obama-Biden administration’s misguided “Iran Deal,” which paid off the theocratic regime in Tehran in exchange for its promise to briefly pause its pursuit of nuclear weapons — weapons Iran has repeatedly threatened to use against Israel. Instead of waiting to find out how quickly the mullahs would have been able to assemble nuclear weapons after stabilizing their economy with American help, President Trump cut off the subsidies and reimposed sanctions, putting Iran in a no-win situation that will eventually compel it to accept the fact that the world will never allow it to intimidate its rivals and enemies with a permanent stockpile of nuclear weapons.
Israel is undeniably safer and more secure today than it was four years ago, as evidenced by the fact that it was recently able to sign peace treaties with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and could soon announce similar pacts with other Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Prior to this year, it had been nearly a quarter of a century since Israel had established formal relations with any Arab state.
America should never treat Israel as a “junior partner” in our alliance by exploiting its geopolitical strengths solely for our own purposes. Donald Trump understands this; Joe Biden does not.
Rogan O’Handley (@DC_Draino) is a former entertainment lawyer who now posts conservative political commentary and news online. He earned two bachelor degrees, magna cum laude, in political science and criminal justice from Northeastern University. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.