Since President Biden came into office, he’s made it a goal for the United States to restore relations for diplomatic purposes with a host of entities, from the United Nations to the Palestinian Authority to UNRWA to the Iranian regime. Sadly, these well-intended initiatives are all misguided. The UN will not be any better for the United States being involved, the PA will not suddenly have a desire to make peace with Israel, and Iran is most certainly not going to stop its hostile actions in five – yes five – different countries, nor will they halt their booming nuclear program.
In 2018, the US officially withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council, a body plagued with corruption and anti-Israel obsession, whose members today include Russia, Cuba and even China. Ironically, China is simultaneously committing genocide against Chinese Muslims and violating the human rights of countless other Chinese, Tibetan and Hong Kong residents in the area. It is precisely because of sickening hypocrisy like this that the US withdrew its participation under former president Trump, and why even president Bush was hesitant about joining the council when it was established in 2006. While the intent of the Biden administration may be noble – to “work from within” to change the corruption of the UNHRC – US participation prior to president Trump did nothing to stamp out the corruption, so it is naïve to think that would be different today.
Similarly, the US cut funding to the UNRWA, the UN body responsible for Palestinian refugees (exclusively), due to the fact the mere existence of UNRWA is an obstacle to resolving the Palestinian refugee issue. UNRWA has faced criticism for perpetuating refugee status for generations and preventing Palestinians from resettling. Incidentally, the agency also has had numerous scandals with UNRWA textbooks teaching violence and terrorism in Palestinian schools. The agency itself is also the single largest employer of Palestinians in the Palestinian territories, meaning if they solved the refugee issue, these Palestinians would be out of jobs.
The US was the world’s single largest funder of UNRWA, amounting to over $360 million annually, until president Trump cut funding in 2018, calling the agency “irredeemably flawed.” Since then, throughout the pandemic, UNRWA was found once again to have incitement to violence in their textbooks teaching children in Gaza blood libels and glorifying “martyrs.” These textbooks were condemned by the European Parliament, among others. In a report issued at the beginning of 2021, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE) found that UNRWA materials are even more extreme than some of the textbooks issued by the PA itself. Yet at the same time this report confirms the problem of UNRWA, the Biden administration is talking about restoring $360 million in funding to it.
UNDER PRESIDENT Trump’s direction, the US also left the Iran nuclear agreement and implemented further sanctions on Iran. Since then, Iran has upped its nuclear proliferation levels to far beyond the levels dictated by the agreement, and is making no apologies for its behavior in fighting multi-front proxy war in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.
While the Biden administration continues to express a desire to return to negotiations and the nuclear agreement, Iran is demanding concessions such as the lifting of all sanctions before they will even discuss the option – and after all, why should they? The agreement’s purpose was never really to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, but rather to push the production of a nuclear weapon down the road a few years until Obama was no longer president.
The Iranian regime doesn’t care about a functioning economy or a thriving society. Their priority is to expand a theocratic, genocidal regime that they’ve already exported throughout the Middle East, costing hundreds of thousands of lives. Iran’s increasingly belligerent actions even in the last few weeks – with attacks on US troops in Iraq, violence in Yemen, and attacking an Israeli ship – should give cause for concern to anyone claiming that diplomatic channels will be able to stop Iranian hostilities.
Iran is a bully to the US, to Israel, to Arab states and to its own people, and the United States shouldn’t negotiate with bullies. The result of compromising with a regime that executes its own dissidents, kidnaps its dissenters on foreign soil, funds global terrorism, arms five bloody conflicts around the world, and is hell-bent on building a nuclear weapon will only mean more bloodshed in the Middle East. Negotiating a new Iran deal might do wonders for the Biden administration in US headlines and public opinion, but it will come at the cost of human lives because Iran is an insincere negotiator.
President Biden needs to step up and show real leadership for the sake of all of us, Arabs and Jews alike, in the Middle East. For humanity’s sake, the Biden administration should abandon efforts to reestablish the Iran nuclear agreement, and implement sanctions to the fullest extent possible. The administration would also be wise to rethink their approach to corrupt bodies like the UN Human Rights Council and UNRWA.
The writer is the CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC and a research fellow at the Tel Aviv Institute.