Why ZOA opposed a major Israeli award to President Biden - opinion

The Biden administration is constantly pressuring Israel and undermining Israel’s rights, safety and sovereignty.

 US PRESIDENT Joe Biden speaks with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) at a Detroit airport, in May of last year. That same month, while Israel was being bombarded by Hamas rockets, Biden strongly praised Tlaib – who opposes Israel’s very existence, says the writer. (photo credit: Leah Mills/Reuters)
US PRESIDENT Joe Biden speaks with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) at a Detroit airport, in May of last year. That same month, while Israel was being bombarded by Hamas rockets, Biden strongly praised Tlaib – who opposes Israel’s very existence, says the writer.
(photo credit: Leah Mills/Reuters)

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) opposed giving President Joe Biden the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor “to thank [Biden] for being a true friend of Israel” and for “decades-long support for Israel’s security, deepening our alliance and fighting antisemitism.” This award makes no sense. A true friend of Israel and fighter against antisemitism would not pursue the numerous policies undermining Israel’s sovereignty and security that Biden and his administration are pursuing, including hundreds of millions of US tax dollars financially aiding and abetting Palestinian Arab terror against Jews.

Nor would a true friend of Israel take advantage of Israel’s caretaker government to make visits, as Biden is doing, to symbolic Palestinian Authority institutions in eastern Jerusalem. Former Israeli ambassador Danny Danon noted that these Biden visits are unprecedented and were “created to pave the way for the U.S. administration to challenge Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.”

President Joe Biden’s policies toward Israel include: bragging about giving $500 million (NIS 1.7 billion) of US taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Arabs – and is planning to announce an additional aid package for Palestinian Arab facilities during his trip to Israel. This funding for Palestinian Arab government functions aids and abets terror by freeing up the $400 million (NIS 1.3 billion) per year that the Palestinian Authority spends on substantial lifetime pensions to reward Arab terrorists for murdering Jews and Americans. (The more Jews murdered, the higher the PA reward.) Biden is blatantly violating and/or circumventing the Taylor Force Act. The Biden administration’s indirect funding of these heinous PA payments needs to end.

In addition, Biden restored funding to UNRWA – which hides Hamas rockets in its schools, employs Hamas terrorists, and teaches children to murder Jews. UNRWA textbooks currently used throughout both Gaza and the Palestinian Authority teach students to die as a martyr by killing Israelis.

Outrageously, Biden and his administration (including Secretary Blinken and Ambassador Nides) condemn Jews for building homes in the lawful Jewish homelands in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, while saying nothing about massive illegal Arab building. It’s time for the Biden administration to end these blatant antisemitic attacks on Jews’ rights to live in the Jewish homeland.

 PRESIDENT ISAAC Herzog presents US President Joe Biden with the medal of honor at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, last week. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) PRESIDENT ISAAC Herzog presents US President Joe Biden with the medal of honor at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, last week. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Biden has attacked Jews for living in the Jewish homeland throughout his political career. In 1982, then-senator Biden threatened then-prime minister Menachem Begin during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting to cut aid to Israel if Israel refused to agree to Biden’s demands to stop Jews from living in Judea/Samaria. Prime minister Begin famously responded: “Don’t threaten us with cutting off your aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history. Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.”

Notably, Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s father, former president Chaim Herzog (who was Israel’s UN ambassador and sixth president), passionately defended Israeli settlements (Jews living in Judea/Samaria) in the older Herzog’s 1978 book, Who Stands Accused? Israel Answers Its Critics.

Sanctions on Iran

Biden is Ignoring the sanctions on Iran and is reportedly resuming efforts to negotiate a disastrous Iran deal immediately after his upcoming Mideast trip. The deal is a mortal danger to Israel’s survival. The deal would give Iran the pathway to a nuclear bomb in a few short years, and give Iran $90 billion (NIS 309 billion) of immediate sanctions relief (which will enrich Hamas and Hezbollah).

Biden’s administration stated that it remains committed to reviving this terrible deal, even after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated last month that the deal was dead due to Iran’s removal of monitoring devices and cameras, and even after the IAEA Board of Governors censured Iran on June 8, 2022, for failing to provide credible information over manufactured nuclear material found at three undeclared sites.

Until last week’s interview on Channel 12, Biden did not condemn or take action against the Democratic congressional squad. The Squad’s vicious antisemitic and Israelophobic speeches, tweets and legislative proposals are helping foment antisemitism throughout the US.

Horrifyingly, instead of condemning The Squad’s antisemitism, on May 18, 2021, while Israel was being bombarded by over 4,300 Hamas rockets, Biden strongly praised Jew-hater Rep. Rashida Tlaib – who opposes Israel’s very existence. Shortly after Tlaib again promoted anti-Israel boycotts and falsely called Israel an apartheid state, Biden said to Tlaib, “I admire your intellect. I admire your passion. I admire your concern for so many other people. You’re a fighter and God thank you for being a fighter.”

Consulate complexity 

The Biden administration has continually pressured Israel to allow the opening of an illegal, divisive and wasteful US “Palestinian” consulate in Jerusalem, despite strong Israeli opposition to such a consulate. The consulate is designed to undermine Israel’s sovereignty in her eternal capital Jerusalem and divide it.

Opening the consulate would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs and the Oslo Accords. Yet, at a press briefing on May 31, 2022, Biden’s State Department again reasserted that the Biden administration is committed to opening this illegal consulate.

An admission by Israel’s foreign minister indicated that Biden strongly pressured Israel to agree to a premature ceasefire in May 2021, before Israel could demolish Hamas’ and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s terror infrastructure in Gaza. This left Hamas and PIJ able to again bombard Israeli civilians with thousands of deadly rockets. Biden’s pressure interfered with the internationally recognized “right of a state to take military action to protect its nationals in mortal danger.”

Shireen Abu Akleh

On July 4, in a statement that seemed to be designed to intimidate Israel’s new caretaker government, the Biden administration asserted – contrary to the evidence – that an Israeli bullet “likely” killed Al Jazeera journalist Abu Akleh. Biden is reportedly even planning to demand that Israel pay compensation to Abu Akleh’s family and Arab terrorists in Israeli jails – an utter outrage.

In sum, the Biden administration is constantly pressuring Israel and undermining Israel’s rights, safety and sovereignty. These are not the policies of a true friend of Israel and fighter against antisemitism. Giving Biden this major award only encourages the US president to continue his hostile policies toward Israel, for it will send the message that Israel is comfortable with Biden’s wrongheaded policies.

The writer is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.