In a recent telephone call with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that in order to establish a foundation to move forward on a two-state solution, “Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy.”
Now that is a stunning and cynical declaration.
This two-state dictate was handed to Israel. It was not offered as a point for discussion with a valued ally, no, no. The American secretary of state gave Ashkenazi a command and instruction.
The question is: What would persuade the US to view Palestine as equal to Israel, the only true democracy in all the Middle East? Is the Palestinian Authority equal to Israel?
One reason this Biden dictate is so irrational is because, unlike any other state in the Middle East, Israel actually does assure its citizens’ freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.
What can the Biden administration be thinking? What justifies this seemingly disjointed policy directive?
Why would the US reward the Palestinian kleptocracy? Is there no prerequisite for Palestinian statehood? What about a demand for an end to anti-Jewish bigotry in Palestinian schools? Might the US require the Palestinian Authority to halt the destruction and appropriation of Jewish historical sites?
Or even press for basic improvements in Palestinian governance? The PA’s corrupt leaders have historically used their political power to embezzle or misappropriate government funds. Is nepotism governance? Is this legitimate political authority?
And Hamas? Ismail Haniyeh lives in luxury, splitting his time between Turkey and Qatar. He left Gaza in 2019 for what Hamas said was a temporary foreign tour. He has yet to return. Does the US applaud this?
How do we fathom this dictum demanding equity? What is their thinking?
Here is a clue: On the same day as the Blinken phone call with Ashkenazi, US State Department spokesman Ned Price made official the US position on the West Bank in a public statement referring to Israel’s control as “occupation.”
Wait a minute … this is all about delegitimizing Israel. How loaded is the word “occupied” when offered up by the US State Department? The very word “occupied” is so damning, it tells you all you need to know about the Biden foreign policy mindset when it comes to a two-state solution. It bestows validity and authority to the international movement to delegitimize Israel. For those in the progressive and left-wing establishment, denying Israel’s right to exist means imitating the logic of the struggle against the South African apartheid regime. Hence, the effort to undermine Israel’s international legitimacy in a manner that would lead to its isolation and, eventually, its collapse.
The ideology of racial-justice politics has a particular hold on the American progressive left-wing political establishment and it lends itself to the movement to delegitimize Israel. One leading proponent, Dr. Raymond Winbush, research professor and director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University, said that Israel’s “treatment of the Palestinians … is kin to the treatment of Black people during apartheid.”
Viewing Israeli democracy as equal to Hamas in Gaza or the PA’s rule is the ultimate delegitimizing of Israel.
We can make the connection. The progressive, intersectionality and left-wing establishment in the US views Israel as a Western colonial power occupying Palestinian lands. That is their mindset: Israelis are oppressing and occupying Palestinian people of color. This view is prevalent throughout the Left, in academia, in mainstream media circles and throughout the Democratic Party. This negates any Jewish right to self-determination, Israeli diversity, and the legitimate security concerns of Israelis.
Are they proposing a rational discussion on a two-state solution? Those have been held forever, and rejected by the Palestinians over and over.
What they want is a debate about a two-state solution that is really a political debate about Israel’s right to exist. And Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. For this to happen, the Biden foreign policy team needs to make Israel and the Palestinians indistinguishable.
And still, this Biden two-state dictate, “Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy,” remains slightly incoherent.
The picture becomes clearer when we look at two additional, related assertions discrediting and delegitimizing Israel. One, the idea that Jews, and specifically pro-Israel Jews, have too much influence and power in the US. Matt Duss, Sen. Bernie Sander’s longtime foreign policy adviser, whose level of influence had him rumored to be a leading candidate for a top State Department position in the Biden administration, is a proponent of this point of view.
The second is an assertion that Israel itself is too powerful. That it misuses its military strength, particularly in Gaza. Israel’s superiority, so this left-wing argument goes, leaves things in the Middle East out of balance. There is a feeling that Israel’s strength is somehow “not fair” and the US must act to redress the balance of power in the Middle East.
This helps to interpret former President Barack Obama’s quest to reset the balance of power in the Middle East by elevating Iran’s centrality. Resetting the Middle East balance of power and bringing those arrogant and obdurate Israelis down a peg or two was an Obama goal and it surely appears to be a Biden objective.
A discredited, obsolete, all but moribund two-state solution has suddenly been given new life by the Biden administration rushing headlong back to status quo ante 2015. The hopeful new advances raised for a peaceful Middle East blazed by the Abraham Accords seem destined to be ignored and shelved.
Driven by a progressive left-wing mindset, the Biden foreign policy team’s misguided campaign is aimed at discrediting and delegitimizing Israel. But the Middle East is no longer stuck in 2015. Much has changed. And Israel is no longer quite the accommodating subordinate of 2015. Be assured: The Jewish state will not be dismantled.