Joe Biden is rejecting the pressure from Democratic Senators and others to put conditions on America’s support for Israel, at least for now.
An official told two Politico reporters that this “is not something we’re currently pursuing”:
President Joe Biden suggested that conditioning future military aid to Israel was a “worthwhile thought.” But days later, administration officials are shutting down any talk of that happening.
Senior U.S. officials hit the Sunday shows to rule out the proposal, hinting — but not outright saying — there wouldn’t be a shift in the administration’s Israel policy. Now three U.S. officials say Biden won’t restrict support for Israel any time soon.
“It’s not something we’re currently pursuing,” said one of the officials, like others granted anonymity to reveal sensitive internal thinking.
Another official suggested that Biden’s aside, made in response to a reporter’s question, was less about siding with progressive sentiment and more a window into his private frustrations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Biden has long been privately critical of “Bibi,” and he groused to confidants over Thanksgiving that the prime minister could be a challenging partner, according to another of the officials. Biden believed that Netanyahu hasn’t always focused on the hostages and his quip about the aid likely reflected concerns about Netanyahu’s leadership going forward. The remark leaves some strategic ambiguity that the administration might shift on aid down the line — serving as a way for Biden to keep Netanyahu in check.
In other words, the Biden administration is leaving the door open to making our aid to Israel conditional. And you can bet those conditions will begin as this war stretches out over the next few months or Israel finishes their campaign to eradicate Hamas and they remain in Gaza. I am utterly convinced that at some point this government will turn their back on Israel. It’s not a matter of if, but when.