Israeli Security and the Search for Peace: Why Biden is better for Israel’s security.

by Martin J. Raffel

I believe Trump is bad for Israeli Security. Here is why:

U.S.-Israel Relationship

Martin J. Raffel, author of Israeli Security and the Search for Peace
  • The United States has been Israel’s reliable friend in the world’s most dangerous and volatile region. It is important always to remember that control of the White House and Congress swings back and forth between the two parties. Therefore, it is vital for American support for Israel to remain bipartisan. Trump has engaged in persistent efforts to make Israel a wedge partisan issue, at times calling the Democratic Party anti-Israel and even antisemitic because of honest differences of opinion about tactics and policy that are routinely debated even by Israelis. This behavior profoundly undermines the resilience of this pillar of American support and hampers the work of AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups.

Iran

  • There were credible arguments both for and against the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) negotiated during the Obama administration. While Israeli political leaders generally opposed the deal, there were many Israeli military and security experts who favored it. No matter where you stood, there was broad agreement that the deal removed the threat of a nuclear armed Iran for the foreseeable future.

Peace with the Palestinians and Israel’s Other Arab Neighbors

  • Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan are great achievements. But its long-term security depends on the ability to expand the circle of peace to include the Palestinians and Israel’s other Arab neighbors. Regarding the Palestinians, there is an international consensus that the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza that would live peacefully alongside Israel is the best and perhaps only practical formula for maintaining Israel’s dual identity as a Jewish and democratic state. That is why negotiations toward that end have been conducted multiple times during the last two decades. The Trump administration not only has failed to move the parties toward this objective. It has caused serious damage to it.

I believe Biden is good for Israeli Security. Here is why:

U.S.-Israel Relationship

  • Biden is deeply committed to bipartisan American support for Israel and rejects all attempts to turn Israel into a political football. Described even by his political adversaries as a “mensch,” Biden has a proven decades long track record of bringing Democrats and Republicans together.

bolstered U.S. credibility as a mediator to both Israelis and Palestinians. The abstention on 2334 did not change the administration’s fundamental policy that permanent borders and the status of settlements need to be resolved through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

  • The strong negative reaction to the resolution is surprising given that many similar resolutions condemning Israeli settlement activity were adopted by the Security Council. After 2334’s adoption, the respected Jewish journalist J.J. Goldberg wrote that since 1981 there had been 29 “blatantly one-sided [Security Council resolutions] criticizing, deploring or condemning Israel and its actions.” Some of those resolutions also characterized Israeli settlements as illegal. In terms of one-sided resolutions critical of Israel endorsed by the U.S. or allowed to pass without veto, 16 took place during Reagan’s administration, seven during Bush the father’s administration, three during Bush the son’s administration, two during Clinton’s administration, and only one during Obama’s administration.

Iran

  • Biden has made it clear that Iran will not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon on his watch. He is committed to working with our allies to strengthen the JCPOA and mitigate Iran’s other malign activities in the Middle East, including its support for terrorism.

Peace with Palestinians and Israel’s Other Arab Neighbors

  • A Biden administration will approach Israel and the Palestinians not as a zero-sum proposition, as Trump has done during his time in office, but rather as win-win. The parties have demonstrated the benefit of a win-win approach through their security cooperation in the West Bank.

Kamala Harris is a great choice for VP

  • Like Biden, Harris is a centrist on Israel-related matters. She has made several trips to Israel, the first in 2004 under the auspices of the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council. Harris has consistently expressed support for the U.S.-Israel alliance and for Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge.

***

Martin J. Raffel grew up in Harrisburg, PA, and earned a BA at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. He received his law degree from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and became a member of the Israel Bar Association. Following his return to the U.S. in 1978, he joined the Pennsylvania Bar Association before beginning a career in Jewish public affairs in 1979 at the American Jewish Committee in Philadelphia serving as assistant director to Dr. Murray Friedman. Martin later served as director of the American Jewish Congress in Philadelphia and vice president at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. From 1987–2014, he was senior vice president at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and principal professional on Israel, world Jewry and international human rights. He was instrumental in creating the Israel Action Network, a joint strategic initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America and the JCPA to combat the assault on Israel’s legitimacy.

This is the third part of a four-part series comparing Trump’s presidency to the Biden/Harris candidacy prepared by Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania (DJOP) board member Martin J. Raffel. Part I dealt with ‘Who is “good” to the United States.’ Part II addressed Jewish Security and Antisemitism. We encourage you to read this material as you contemplate the most crucial election in the history of American democracy. But, please, do not just read it. We need to you to actively use this material in your advocacy efforts with colleagues, friends, and relatives. We encourage and value any feedback you care to share. Thank you.

Stay tuned for…

Part IV — U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and other Shiny Objects

For a comprehensive Trump Versus Biden primer for the Jewish community go to: https://djop.org/2020/08/13/trump-vs-biden-a-jewish-primer/

For detailed information about how Vice President Biden plans to address our country’s challenges, go to: https://joebiden.com/joes-vision/

[My relationship with Israel was first forged in 1967–73 when the Jewish state’s existential vulnerability was evident — first in the Six Day War and subsequently in the Yom Kippur War. Israel was the classic scrappy little David to the Arab world’s Goliath. Over the years, with the growth of Israel’s prodigious military might, the Palestinians became widely viewed as the region’s David and Israel the Goliath. Yet, perhaps because of my earlier experiences, I continue to assess the Middle East through the lens of how American policy will contribute to or detract from a secure Israel, the democratic nation state of the Jewish people, free from the threat of a nuclear armed Iran and at peace with its neighbors. I take this sensibility with me into each election. MR]

United4Joe is part of the Biden Digital Coalition, a grassroots group amplifying Biden’s message on social media. Malarkey Free Zone. Not affiliated w/campaign.