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This week moderate House Democrats caved to the progressive wing of their congressional caucus by agreeing to cut a billion dollars for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system from the proposed federal budget bill.
It is a symbolic and messaging victory for members of “the Squad,” like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar, who would like to change our nation’s historic relationship with the world’s only Jewish state and the only democracy in the Middle East.
Democrat leaders in the House were quick to point out that they would restore funding to the defense system that protects Israel from foreign rockets in upcoming legislation. Some even rebuked the snub from progressives. But that didn’t stop an Amendment to restore the funding from failing along purely partisan lines on Tuesday night. And this is not an isolated incident.
Since President Joe Biden took office, his administration has sought to reestablish a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem. It is also seeking to revive the Iran Nuclear Deal. Both of these positions face heavy opposition in Israel. Now Congressional Democrats are temporarily halting key military aid.
I asked former Jerusalem mayor and current Knesset member Nir Barkat, about the situation and he expressed both concern and hopeful optimism. “The same small but vocal group of members of Congress who are trying to prevent the United States from re-supplying Israel with Iron Dome interceptors is trying to push the US administration to open a consulate in Jerusalem that serves the Palestinians. These members oppose the existence of the State of Israel and are anti-peace,” he said, referring to the House progressives.
But, he added, “Fortunately, this group does not reflect the mainstream elements of either Party and we are working closely with our Republican and Democratic friends to uphold Israel’s safety, security, and legitimacy.” One hopes that he is right about that. But on the other hand, if this small group of leftist Democrats can hold major legislation hostage, then, to borrow a phrase, what difference does it make?
Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who serves on the foreign affairs committee, recently told me, “Whether it’s reconciliation or something like this, moderates talk a big game and then cave to Pelosi and ‘the Squad.’” She added, “We need these democrats to have backbones—not fold like cheap suits.” So, who is really running the show in the Democrat Caucus?
The current fracas regarding Israel is just a drop in the bucket of blunders Democrats have filled up since President Biden took over the White House. France temporarily withdrew its ambassadors from the United States for the first time ever—and that’s going back to the days of tri cornered hats. We are relying on the Taliban for the safety of Americans in Afghanistan, and all this from the president who promised, “diplomacy is back.”
Democrats have created all of this anxiety for our allies and opportunity for our enemies. To put it mildly, Biden’s diplomatic efforts under Secretary of State Antony Blinken have been a series of disasters. Even among those who opposed Biden’s run for the White House, few could have imagined this parade of horribles playing out in less than one year.
At some point, and that point has long since come and gone, it is no longer enough for the president to essentially say “just trust me because I’m not Donald Trump.” Biden’s foreign policy is utterly unraveling and he appears to have absolutely no control over his party in Congress. Israelis have good reason to worry, Americans have good reason to worry. In fact, the entire world has good reason to worry. Every day that passes, many events seem too big for Biden. And for our country, that situation is simply not sustainable.