When the White House finally changes hands next January, whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican at the desk in the Oval Office, the one person I’m likely to miss more than anyone else is Joe Biden. The guy is an endless fount of blog-worthy material and headlines sure to make people cringe around the world. This week was no exception, as the Veep took to the stage before a packed J Street audience to opine on the state of affairs in the Middle East. And when it came time to hopefully repair the rather tattered relationship between the United States and our staunch ally Israel, Joe was in rare form, informing everyone that Israel was leading the region on the wrong path and making peace impossible. (Yahoo News)
Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged “overwhelming frustration” with Israel’s government on Monday and said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration has led Israel in the wrong direction, in an unusually sharp rebuke of America’s closest ally in the Middle East.
Biden, in a speech to the advocacy group J Street, offered a grim outlook for peace efforts, reflecting dim hopes for progress during the remainder of the Obama administration. Although he said Israelis and Palestinians shared blame for undermining trust and shirking responsibility, he was emphatic in his critique of Netanyahu’s government, suggesting his approach raised “profound questions” about how Israel could remain both Jewish and democratic.
“I firmly believe that the actions that Israel’s government has taken over the past several years — the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures — they’re moving us and more importantly they’re moving Israel in the wrong direction,” Biden said.
To be fair, Biden has expressed criticism of the Palestinians as well, apparently seeking some sort of middle ground to make it seem as if America is an impartial umpire in the ongoing struggles. But the Palestinians are still under the spell of a terrorist organization and Israel is the sole outpost of democracy in the region. This isn’t really a situation which demands rationalizing some sort of equivalency at every turn. While I still feel that the Palestinians are in a terrible situation and deserve much better (if they could shake off Hamas) it’s equally true that there are some good guys and some bad guys in this fight. Israel remains the Good Guys and I doubt they appreciate this sort of lecture. While Israel’s “expansion” in territory (if you want to call it that) is clearly provocative to pro-Palestinian activists, it’s difficult to argue that they need to shore up their borders when their enemies continue to try to undermine them. And I mean literally “undermine” them in the form of building tunnels which are still being dug today.
Biden is also warning Israel against moving toward a “one state solution.”
He said those policies were moving Israel toward a “one-state reality” — meaning a single state for Palestinians and Israelis in which, eventually, Israeli Jews will no longer be the majority.
“That reality is dangerous,” Biden added.
Let’s be honest here. There’s nobody who wants a one state solution except for Hamas and it would come in the form of every Jew in the region being either dead or evacuated to another continent. Traditionally, polling of rank and file citizens on both sides has supported the idea of two states finding some way to live in peace, though that’s been declining in recent years. Rather than an appetite for war, those attitudes seem to reflect a sense of grim reality because prospects for peace remain dim overall.
But no matter how bad it gets, having one of America’s top diplomats laying the blame at the feet of Israel isn’t helping matters. Uncle Joe is off the leash and this morning you can bet that somebody is on the phone with Netanyahu’s people trying to clarify what was going on. Way to keep things spicy Mr. Vice President.