Is a Vote for Joe Biden in the Interest of American Jews?
A recent study conducted by the Jewish Electorate Institute found that 67% of American Jewish respondents planned to vote for Joe Biden and 30% for President Trump. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed claimed to be pro-Israel and 64% said Israel is an important election issue. Most ranked Biden higher on U.S.-Israel relations, the handling of anti-Semitism, and ensuring the security of the Jewish community. The survey results are surprising, given Trump’s stellar record on Jews and Israel. American Jews must reconsider, for Biden’s record and positions on critical topics belie these perceptions.
Record on Israel
Biden’s record should dispel any notions he is staunchly pro-Israel. In 1982, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations committee as a Democratic senator from Delaware, he argued with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. He threatened to cut aid to Israel if settlement expansion continued in Judea and Samaria, shouting and banging the table when Begin wouldn’t budge.
In 2010, Biden upbraided Israel for building apartments in a Jewish section of East Jerusalem and opposed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to extend sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
In 2016, he pressured Ukraine, an abstainer, to vote for U.N. Security Council measure 2334, which identified the Jewish Quarter, the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall as located in “illegally occupied Palestinian territories,” an affirmation that defies historical fact. UNSC 2334 also condemned Israel building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Approval of the resolution emboldened the Palestinian Authority to call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea, Samaria, and the Jewish Quarter, reversing decades of U.S. vetoes against such moves. That year, the U.N. General assembly passed 20 resolutions against Israel. There were only six against other countries.
Biden’s anti-Israel stance is further confirmed by how the Obama administration interfered in the 2015 Israeli elections and tried to get Netanyahu defeated. Obama and Biden tried to rupture Netanyahu’s governing coalition and move it to the left. That year, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found the State Department had granted $350,000 to OneVoice, a radical anti-Israel organization that supports Hamas and the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. The funds were issued for a political campaign known as V15 or Victory 2015, a political campaign that used voter contacts and State Department-funded activists to defeat the incumbent government. The Obama-Biden administration also published never-before-released details of Israel’s nuclear program, heedless of its profound impact on Israel’s security and the balance of power in the region.
As a presidential candidate, Biden has pledged to reopen the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) mission in Washington, rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, and reinstate Obama’s Middle East policy. He spuriously claimed that Trump has “put Israel in danger” by dismantling the Obama-Biden administration’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and “undermined the stability of self-determination for the Palestinians.” In fact, it was the JCPOA that removed sanctions against Iran, released $50 billion in frozen assets, provided $1.8 billion in cash, allowed it to develop nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and enabled the ayatollahs to sponsor terrorism and endanger regional security. Clearly, Obama’s presidency saw a shifting of alliances away from Israel and Sunni Arab nations toward Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood as evidenced by noninterference in the Green Revolution and support for the “Arab Spring.”
Record on Anti-Semitism
Biden has publicly condemned anti-Semitism, but the Democratic National Convention featured several individuals, including Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Congressman James Clyburn, and Senator Corey Booker, who supported, praised, or defended Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan has called Jews “termites” and “bloodsuckers,” praised Hitler as “a very great man,” blamed Jews for slavery, called them “deceivers” of the American people and even accused them of responsibility for 9/11.
In his acceptance speech, Biden said he could never be silent on anti-Semitism but raised no objections, as vice-president, to more than 60 White House visits by Al Sharpton, who incited anti-Jewish riots in New York City in the 1990s and was heard uttering, “Kill the Jews.”
At the convention, Biden failed to a) demand elimination of support for BDS; b) condemn the openly anti-Semitic members of “the squad” -- Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN); and c) refuse to endorse anti-Semitic candidates for Congress. He disavowed Linda Sarsour, removed from the Women’s March for her anti-Semitism, but later, his aides privately apologized to her.
Endorsement by J Street
In April, Biden received endorsement from the George Soros-funded J Street, which opposes Israeli efforts to topple Hamas, and says Israeli settlements, not Palestinian terrorism, impede regional peace. Biden is tied in gratitude to J Street for its support of the Iranian nuclear bomb deal. This is the first time J Street -- disingenuously billed as “pro-Israel, pro-peace” -- has endorsed a presidential candidate. Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School, a liberal Democrat, has called J Street “the most damaging organization in American history against Israel... It has given cover to anti-Israel attitudes on campus and particularly its approach to Israel’s self-defense.”
Position on BLM Anti-Semitism
Tellingly, Biden has refused to acknowledge and condemn domestic terrorist groups such as the anti-Jewish, violent Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. This May, BLM vandalized five synagogues and three Jewish schools and looted Jewish businesses to chants of “F—k the police and kill the Jews.” BLM endorses BDS and calls Israel’s counterterrorist actions cruelty to Arab-Palestinians. It accuses Israel of ethnic-cleansing, promotes the so-called “right of return” and makes false connections between Arab-Palestinians and American blacks’ struggles.
Unity Task Force
Recently, Biden joined a Unity Task Force with Bernie Sanders to craft an agenda that should worry Jews gravely. Like Biden, Sanders pledges to reinstate the Iran nuclear deal and supports diverting to the Hamas-led Gaza government some of U.S. aid to Israel. Sanders’ criticism of Israeli “occupation,” his sympathy for Palestinian refugees, and his campaign’s alliance with Dream Defenders, which promotes BDS and is linked to terrorist groups like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), is well known.
Engagement with Radical Islamist Groups
Worst of all, Biden has appeased radical Islamist groups committed to shariah supremacy. In July, he participated in a virtual conference by Emgage, which counterterrorism expert and former FBI supervisor John Guandolo calls “a Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood front organization deeply embedded in the Biden campaign.” Emgage was founded by the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) leader Khurrum Wahid, defense attorney for convicted Palestinian jihadist Sami Al-Arian and Al Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who plotted to kill President George W. Bush.
Biden’s thanking Emgage signals a partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood. And while liberal Democrats rant about keeping Christian prayer and the Bible out of public schools, he said, “I wish we taught more in our schools about the Islamic faith.”
Pandering to Muslims, Biden promised to end an imaginary Muslim travel ban, factitiously referring to Trump’s January 2017 Executive Order barring tourism and immigration from seven countries the Obama administration had identified as vulnerable to terrorism.
Biden’s record and current positions on Israel and Jewish issues portend a return to the disastrous policies of the Obama presidency. As a presidential candidate worthy of the Jewish vote, Biden pales against Trump, the most staunchly pro-Israel, pro-Jewish president in our nation’s history.