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Biden Goes to Israel

We guessed that Joe Biden might sneak into Israel a little early, so as to throw an additional curveball for any hostiles who wish him ill. He did not do that, by all indications, but he did spend 7 hours there, including a lengthy meeting with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, before heading home.

Biden's trip happened against the backdrop of the hospital explosion in Gaza, a tragedy that certainly upended much of the President's plans. Initial reports pinned the blame on the Israeli military. Now, U.S. intelligence sources believe it was actually a missile fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It was apparently accidental that the bomb landed where it did... in case that makes it better.

Here are five positives for Biden from the trip:

  1. He was not killed or injured
  2. He made a strong statement of support for Israel by being there.
  3. He made a strong statement in favor of Palestinian innocents in remarks delivered while in Israel.
  4. He conveyed empathy for victims on both sides.
  5. He managed to arrange for $100 million in aid to the people living in Gaza.

And here are five negatives:

  1. He was not able to meet with other national leaders, and so could not warn them personally to stay out of Israel.
  2. He stuck his foot in his mouth when he said that the missile that hit the hospital came from the "other team." That is a wee bit flippant, and also makes the U.S. look like something other than a neutral arbiter.
  3. His trip could be interpreted by Iran as a provocation, and could encourage that nation to see what it might get away with.
  4. He did not make any apparent headway in terms of retrieving the 13 Americans believed to be held hostage by Hamas.
  5. He probably gave Netanyahu a propaganda victory, which is concerning for many in America and abroad.

Many of Biden's advisers wanted him to skip the trip, but he was steadfast, and really, he probably had to go. That said, the incredibly tricky nature of this particular bit of foreign policy is indicated by all the infighting that's going on within the Democratic Party. For example, the Democratic Socialists of America put out a statement that was dangerously close to being pro-Hamas, causing Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-MI) to quit the organization, while the DSA's most prominent member, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) condemned the statement as "bigotry and callousness." Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is furious that Israel was blamed for the hospital being blown up, but Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) still blames the Israelis (and Joe Biden), accusing them of perpetuating genocide. Thanks for helping to cheapen that word, Rashida. A mid-level State Department official named Josh Paul resigned loudly in protest of the President's decisions regarding the provision of arms to Israel. And these are just a few examples.

Tonight, Biden will try his best to get his party and his country on the same page, with an Oval Office address in which he will request about $100 billion in funding for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and securing the Mexican border. In other words, there's something there for everyone to like, and something there for everyone to dislike. He's going to need to come up with a heck of a speech if he hopes to get that kind of cash. (Z)

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