TEL AVIV — President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel earlier this month featured saccharine platitudes and rote pledges of friendship and fealty, but given that Biden was spurned by the Saudis, used by the Palestinians, left Israel worse than he found it, and apparently got COVID for his trouble, maybe he should’ve stayed home.
After landing at Ben Gurion International Airport July 13, Biden was warmly greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who called the American president “a great Zionist and one of the best friends Israel has ever known.” Israeli President Isaac Herzog was equally effusive, calling Biden “a visionary and a leader,” “like the biblical Joseph.”
Biden’s very words and deeds while in the Jewish State belied their charitable words, and it wasn’t just the shocking gaffe in which he referred to the “honor of the Holocaust,” or his failure to visit the iconic Western Wall. Biden smiled to our faces, then insulted us behind our backs. His limousine sported Israeli and American flags during visits to Yad Vashem and the Maccabiah games, but the Israeli banner vanished when he headed east Jerusalem to visit the Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives.
The Palestinian flag waved from the hood of the presidential limousine when Biden went on to Bethlehem to meet with the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. Biden stood mute while Abbas accused Israel of “apartheid” and demanded an end to 74 years of “occupation,” an unmistakable call for the end of Israel.
Biden reiterated his support for a two-state solution, calling it “the best way to achieve an equal measure of security, prosperity, freedom, and democracy for the Palestinians as well as the Israelis.”
“The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own,” Biden said before calling for a divided Jerusalem to be the capital of that state, breaking from the Trump administration’s recognition that Jerusalem is the undivided eternal capital of the Jewish people.
“Jerusalem must be a city for all its people, its holy sites preserving the status quo … We must all be free to practice our faiths in peace, in safety, and in dignity,” said Biden.
Of course, Biden’s real mission on the Middle East trip was to beg the Saudis for more oil production. With the Kingdom interested in better relations with the Jewish State, Biden sought to position the U.S. as a facilitator – in effect using Israel to leverage oil from the Saudis.
“Biden didn’t come to Israel as a giver, rather as a beggar,” said former Likud Member of Knesset and Zehut founder Moshe Feiglin. “He came to the Middle East because of the oil prices in the United States. He needs Saudi Arabia to produce more oil, and don’t forget that it was Biden who left the Saudis alone to deal with Iranian attacks, so the Saudis are not exactly lining up to do him favors. The Saudis, due to U.S. foreign policy of abandoning them, have grown closer to Israel.”
Biden’s infamous fist bump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman angered the left, which was hoping he would take a break from begging long enough to deliver a rebuke for the grisly murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Of course, the same left sought no such rebuke for Abbas, who praises terrorists who kill innocent Jews and pays their families if they are killed or imprisoned, noted Israeli journalist Amit Segal during a recent question and answer session with Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro in Tel Aviv.
“Biden’s Middle East trip was despicable, disastrous, and dangerous to the future of the Jewish state in the Middle East,” said Melissa Jane Kronfeld, a former Rutgers University lecturer and national security expert who now lives in Tel Aviv. “From the removal of the Israeli flag during his visit to Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods and his homage paid to the “honor of the Holocaust”; to his callous commitment to the long defunct two-state solution and feigned intent to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — whose sole purpose is the destruction of the State of Israel — and even his bestie fist bump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman; Biden proved that his foreign policy is careless, cowardly, and always conciliatory to those state actors who seek to undermine the stability of the region.”
Gaffes, snubs, and cynical photo ops aside, the real damage done by Biden’s visit was caused by the leftist government of Lapid. As preconditions for the visit, Israel agreed to a host of “good-will” concessions, including the approval of hundreds of existing illegal structures and the territorial expansion of Arab settlements, consisting of thousands of dunams in Area C of Judea and Samaria. Those will effectively lead to the isolation of Gush Etzion, a major Jewish area, from Jerusalem. In addition, Lapid promised Biden that his coalition will not “surprise” the White House with any more Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria.
Meir Deutsch, director general of Regavim, an NGO that monitors and pursues legal action against illegal Palestinian construction in Judea and Samaria, called on the right-wing members of the coalition to reverse this “catastrophe.”
“Saar, Shaked, Kahana, Elkin, Hendel, Orbach – you were elected on right-wing votes because you promised to protect the Jewish settlement enterprise,” Deutsch said. “It is your responsibility to block this insane plan to whitewash thousands of illegal structures that will cut off Jewish settlement blocs from Jerusalem and give permanence to the criminal Palestinian takeover of Area C.”
Israeli diplomats with decades of experience engaging U.S. presidents struggled to put the bungled trip into perspective.
“It starts with the visit of a U.S. President to a Palestinian institution in east Jerusalem; it continues with the inability of Lapid to set a red line and prevent this dangerous precedent; and it ends with the removal of the Israeli flag from Biden’s entourage in the capital of the State of Israel,” said Danny Danon, head of World Likud and a former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman called the trip offensive to the people of Israel.
“President Biden wouldn’t go to the Western Wall which is the iconic symbol of the Jewish people in the land of Israel,” Friedman told Fox News. “Instead, he goes to a hospital in Jerusalem, takes down the Israeli flag, and refuses to acknowledge that Jerusalem is fully the capital of Israel, even though the State of Israel has asserted its sovereignty over all of Jerusalem for more than 50 years. His actions were very clear. He denied Israeli sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem. Every Israeli prime minister, right, left, or center, would find that offensive.”
In an odd post script that would seem to indicate the White House was as confused about the purpose of the trip as Israelis, a video summarizing it in glowing terms was uploaded to the President’s Twitter account, where Biden wrote, “May Israel and the U.S. continue to prosper together for the benefit of the world.”
However, just a few hours later, without any explanation, the video was deleted.