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2015, Anyone? Biden Administration’s Efforts Against Netanyahu Looked Doomed to Fail

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The Biden administration looks to be ramping up their criticisms of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, something that became increasingly pronounced last week given Vice President Kamala Harris’ unauthorized meeting with opposition leader Benny Gantz and Biden’s hot mic moment after his State of the Union address. There have also been subsequent interviews since then suggesting a complicated relationship with Israel. 

Last Thursday, Biden said after the State of the Union that he told Netanyahu that they were going to have a “come to Jesus” moment. Among those who have since reacted to such a ridiculous moment have been Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ben Ferguson in the Monday episode of their podcast, “The Verdict.”

As Cruz explained about the implications of the president’s words, “he’s bragging to a fellow Democrat about how he was threatening the Prime Minister of Israel” and that he said so “as a way to like beat the hell out of him.” Cruz, who along with Ferguson is a Southern Baptist, pointed out that “if a Republican had said that the media would lose their minds.”

“There is an offensive condescension, and understand what he means, the come to Jesus meeting,” Cruz explained. “What he means is you stupid Israeli, stop killing Hamas terrorists. That’s what he’s saying. We’re gonna force you, as a response to October 7, to allow the Hamas terrorist who murdered 1,200 Israelis, 1,200 Jews, who kidnapped Americans, who murdered Americans, we’re gonna force you to allow them to create their own state where they can engage in acts of terror like this over and over and over again.”

Cruz highlighted how “it’s the anti-Israel animus in this administration and in, sadly, today’s Democrat Party,” which he said “keeps getting worse.” Such remarks, he continued, show “this is how Biden talks behind closed doors. ‘I’m gonna beat up these damned Israelis,’ like that’s just terrific.”

Although Ferguson called it “shocking,” he added, “it also goes hand in hand with him basically pandering to the extreme left, that is all about Hamas and supporting the terrorists and the Palestinian protesters that are supporting these terrorists who butchered children, who took hostage 80-year-old women, grandmothers and put babies in ovens to burn them for sport,” as he spoke of some of the more heinous atrocities Hamas carried out. 

Speaking of Hamas and their atrocities, Cruz pointed out what Biden didn’t say. “He didn’t say we will utterly and completely destroy Hamas. He didn’t say, as Israel defends itself, we have your back. We are with you. You are right, we must destroy Hamas, we stand together. That’s what a real American president would say. That’s what an American president defending America defending our allies would say,” the senator declared. 

Saturday brought us the MSNBC interview with Jonathan Capehart. When asked what he meant by the “come to Jesus meeting,” Biden casually offered that “it’s an expression used in the southern part of my state, meaning a serious meeting, and uh, I’ve known Bibi for 50 years, and he knew what I meant by it.”

When he went into further detail as to what he wants discussed in that meeting, Biden stressed that Netanyahu “must, he must, he must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken.”

The president even went so far as to claim “he’s hurting, in my view, he is hurting Israel more than helping Israel by making the rest of the world–it’s contrary to what Israel stands for. And I think it’s a big mistake. So I want to see a ceasefire. And I’m starting with a major, major exchange of prisoners, for a six-week period.” 

Such a focus on a word of caution stands in contrast to Cruz’s call that the American president should support the Israeli prime with how “we must destroy Hamas.” 

Biden and Capehart addressed other issues pertaining to Israel, highlighting how the president’s confusion extends to all sorts of issues, including international crises. When Biden was asked about “a red line,” he expressed concerns about an invasion of Rafah. He also referenced claims of 30,000 Palestinians dead without citation, numbers which have been used for propaganda. 

Although the president did appear as if he could be onto something when asked about Hamas’ actually wanting a ceasefire, what followed was a jumbled response and awkward pauses. 

“Well, I think Hamas would like a total ceasefire across the board because they–then–they see they a better chance to survive and maybe rebuild. But that’s not what I think–the vast majority of people think–you have to. Look…” Biden said as he trailed off. “After what happened in World War II, and the carpet bombing took place, what happened was we ended up in a situation where we changed the rules of the game, what constitutes legitimate rules of war that should be abided by,” Biden went on to say. 

Of course, what Hamas really wants to do is be able to destroy Israel. They also broke the ceasefire that was in place before October 7 and the temporary pause that was in place late last November. 

Harris had had her own troubling remarks to make that also failed to produce much clarity. In an interview with CBS News on Friday, Harris was asked if Israel is “at risk of losing aid.”

Part of her response involved separating the Israeli government from the Israeli people. 

“I think it’s important for us to distinguish, or at last to not conflate the Israeli government with the Israeli people. The Israeli people are entitled to security, as are the Palestinians, in equal measure. And our work is always as the United States of America is going to be to do what we must and we always have to stand for the security of Israel and its people, and also to do what we have done behind closed doors and in public around forcing a better path forward in terms of what’s happening currently in Gaza,” she said.

This isn’t exactly surprising news coming from the Biden administration. When Biden was vice president, the Obama administration was found to be involved in supporting a campaign to oust Netanyahu by a bipartisan Senate investigation. 

As the Times of Israel wrote in July 2016:

According to the report, authored by the permanent subcommittee on investigations of the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the State Department gave grants totaling $349,276 to One Voice’s Israeli and Palestinian branches “to support peace negotiations” over a 14-month grant period that ended in November 2014.

After that period, the organizational infrastructure created with these funds was used by V15, a group that actively called on Israel’s to vote for “anyone but Bibi [Netanyahu]” during last year’s general election.

The V15 campaign, which was ultimately unsuccessful, was dogged by charges during the campaign of being linked to US President Barack Obama and a covert administration effort to push Netanyahu out of office.

Days after the March 2015 election, a senior Israeli official accused the White House of being directly involved in trying to oust Netanyahu.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel at the time that “it’s no secret” that the Obama administration attempted to influence the outcome of the election, having been partially motivated by a desire for revenge over Netanyahu’s polarizing speech before Congress earlier that month, which sought to undermine the president’s key foreign policy initiative – a nuclear deal with Iran.

The Times of Israel also covered earlier this week how an “Israeli expert” has been quoted as saying “I have been asked by a serious administration figure what it is that will force the Netanyahu coalition to collapse. They were interested in the mechanics, what can we demand which will collapse his coalition.” A “US expert” has also been quoted as claiming that the White House realizes “Netanyahu is in a corner of his own making. He has no room to maneuver. He is screwing us. The politics of this have to completely change, and I think time is running out.”

The outlet has put out multiple live updates about Israel’s reactions throughout Tuesday

Just as the effort to oust Netanyahu in 2015 failed, it looks like this current effort will fail as well. Former Israeli Intelligence Official and regional analyst Avi Melamed provided a statement to Townhall explaining as much.

“Every action and statement made by Biden and the U.S. Administration against or pressuring Netanyahu has been used by Netanyahu in his attempt to further secure his government from fracture and preserve his legacy as the defender of Israel, while also harming his challengers,” he warned. He also pointed to how “Netanyahu’s recent recharacterization of the dispute between him and Biden as not between the two leaders but rather between Biden and the Israeli people.”

Gantz fit into Melamed’s analysis as well. “Benny Gantz, widely seen as the successor to the Netanyahu government understands this and likely is advocating behind the scenes that Biden and the Administration not fall victim to Netanyahu’s political spin,” he offered. 

Netanyahu has also been asked about the Biden administration, and it looks like he’s sticking with doing what he feels is best for Israel. Jennifer Van Laar, at our sister site of RedState, highlighted the prime minister’s interview with BILD. 

When asked about Israel going into Rafah, Netanyahu confirmed as much. “We’ll go there. We’re not going to leave them. You know, I have a red line. You know what the red line is? That October 7th doesn’t happen again, never happens again. And to do that, we have to complete the destruction of the Hamas terrorist army,” he affirmed. Netanyahu also made clear he stands with Biden on the protection of civilians. Calling it “something that I do not only not disagree with the president, I agree with him completely,” Netanyahu shared “we have to do it while enabling the safe evacuation of Palestinians, civilians.”

Netanyahu repeated his own “red line,” calling it “very simple.”

“My red line is very simple. We’re not going to leave Hamas with the capability of pursuing, of perpetrating another Hamas massacre as they did on October 7th. And the only way we can do that is, we cannot leave–we cannot leave the Hamas terrorist battalions intact. It means that, in fact, we lose the war,” he pointed out. 

When Netanyahu was confronted with the number of civilian deaths, he brought up Hamas’ tactics. “As I said for Hamas, that hides behind civilians and uses them as human shields, it’s a strategy. For us, it’s a tragedy.”

Especially in light of Harris’ comments, it’s worth pointing out that a poll from The Israel Democracy Institute finds that 75 percent of Jewish Israelis and 65 percent of Israelis overall support the operation in Rafah.

Melamed’s statement backed up that sentiment as well. “Whether Netanyahu or any future successor serves as the country’s prime minister, there is a strong consensus among Israel’s Jewish citizens demanding the eventual assault on Rafah to ensure that Israel’s goals for its war in Gaza–the return of all the hostages and the ending of Hamas’s reign of terror–are complete,” he told Townhall.

Updates look to be happening quickly, as news came on Monday about aid to Israel being conditioned if Netanyahu invades Rafah.

While Biden may have a problem with the anti-Israeli base with Michigan Democrats voting “uncommitted,” he has a problem with fellow Democrats when it comes to such reports as well. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) posted about his opposition towards conditioning aid and has been trending over social media as a result. 

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