Probably the least surprising news you will hear in this election season, from Philip Weiss, “Neoconservatives are flocking to Biden (and let’s forget about the Iran deal.”
Neoconservatives are flocking to the Biden campaign. The DC braintrust that believes in using US military power to aid Israel in the Middle East has jumped parties before– to Clinton in ’92, and back to Bush in 2000– and now they’re hopping aisles to support Biden, with Bill Kristol leading the way.
Last night on an official Biden campaign webinar led by “Jewish Americans for Biden”, and moderated by Ann Lewis of Democratic Majority for Israel, two prominent neocon Republicans endorsed Biden, primarily because of Trump’s character posing a danger to democracy. But both neocons emphasized that Biden would be more willing to use force in the Middle East and reassured Jewish viewers that Biden will seek to depoliticize Israel support, won’t necessarily return to the Iran deal and will surround himself with advisers who support Israel and believe in American military intervention. …
Eliot Cohen, a Bush aide and academic, echoed the fear that Israel is being politicized. “A lot of Jews made a big mistake by taking something I was in favor of, moving the embassy to Jerusalem and obsessing about that,” he said. But there was huge political risk in that: if the United States is internally divided, at war with itself, and “Israel has become a partisan issue, which it should never ever be…. That’s not in Israel’s longterm security interest.”
Biden will reverse that trend by appointing strong supporters of Israel, Cohen said.
“Joe Biden has a long record as a friend of Israel. I think we’re both quite familiar with the kinds of people who will go into a Biden administration and I think we feel very comfortable that they will have a deep and abiding concern for Israel which is not going to go away.”
Edelman also said that Trump has created many “dangers” in the region by not being aggressive:
“By withdrawing or threatening to withdraw US forces, by repeatedly not replying or dealing with Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf or against Saudi oil infrastructure, he’s created a sort of vacuum that is being filled in Libya by Russia and by Turkey…”
Biden will work with allies and be ready to use U.S. military in the region– or as Edelman said, “to play.”
“The region is a mess,” Edelman said. “And yet the president continually says he wants the U.S. to withdraw from the region. The reality is that the withdrawal of US power form the region has helped create this morass of threats.”
He cited three war zones in which the U.S. or proxies’ bombing is essential to U.S. security, Libya, Yemen and Syria.
In Syria, “The Trump administration pulled out and said, we don’t want to play here,” Edelman said.
“Other forces are going to fill the vacuum created by the absence of US leadership and they won’t be benign forces,” Edelman said. Iran, Russia, or Turkey will come in and create a “vortex of instability that can potentially come back to haunt us” — with terrorist attacks or the disruption of energy markets.
Cohen and Edelman opposed Obama’s Iran deal, and both predicted that Biden will be hawkish on Iran.
In other words, Trump has failed the Israel Lobby because he has tried to pull our US forces from the Middle East and, although he has laid down sanctions against Iran, he has not gone to war. Of course, these are the people who promoted the ongoing disaster of the Iraq war. They are probably right that Russia and Turkey would benefit from US pulling out completely (Libya??), but where are legitimate US interests in all this? Trump ran on ending Middle East wars and getting out of the region–the original reason the neocons jumped ship (in addition to fears of a nascent Orange Hitler). Despite being president he has been unable to do so. He has been strongly opposed by the foreign policy establishment and the Pentagon — a testament to the extent to which the US security establishment is Israel-occupied territory.
Lurking in the background of the attitudes of Cohen and Edelman is the idea that Biden would tame the forces on the left that have been so critical of Israel in recent years. With Biden they get it all: Strongly pro-Israel even to the point of initiating a war with Iran, taming the anti-Israel voices on the left (Kamala Harris with her Jewish husband s not among them), and perhaps a Senate led by Israel operative Chuck Schumer. Meanwhile the Republican Party would default to the Chamber of Commerce and the remaining neocons, and the hope of a nationally competitive GOP, much less a truly populist GOP, would die. Bill Kristol loves the prospect of a long-term Democrat domination.
There’ve been 3 failed re-election bids in the last century. But only once since 1896 has a party failed to hold the White House for at least an 8 year stretch (Carter, 1980). 2020 seems to be looking increasingly like 1980–perhaps with a touch of 1932?https://t.co/bD9BxyAHgx
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 30, 2020
And of course, all of these bellicose proposals are cloaked in a veneer of “Jewish values” — not so ironic if one assumes, as is certainly the case, that promoting war for specifically Jewish interests is indeed a Jewish value.
Cohen … spoke about Jewish values. He and his family belong to an orthodox synagogue and have raised four children with a religious education. “I’ve tried to live my life by Jewish values. One thing that’s very important for Jewish Republicans. Obviously the issue of Israel is important, it’s the only Jewish state, it’s important to look after it and for it to thrive, but what is our approach to politics?” Jews don’t believe that you Render unto God the things that are God and render unto Caesar the thing that are Caesar’s and therefore not take issue with a politician’s character “so long as they do what we want them to do.” He said, “That’s not the Jewish way.” In the Book of Samuel, the king engages “in despicable behavior,” and the prophet storms into his bedroom. “We believe that character matters.” And this election is about character.
Okay, Trump is not a saint. But given that Biden is up to his eyeballs in scandal doesn’t bother Cohen at all — despite overwhelming documentation. So we are not supposed to care that the Biden family raked in millions by using Biden’s influence to alter US foreign policy or that China could easily blackmail him into doing their bidding on trade and military issues. So in the end, it’s really about what Cohen, Edelman, Kristol, et al. think is good for Israel (Jennifer Rubin and Max Boot jumped the GOP ship even before Trump was elected). Again, count me unsurprised.
And of course, the other thing is that neocons have always been on the left within the Republican Party. One might say they have attempted to not only make Israel a bi-partisan issue (their first priority) but also promoting the liberal/left social agenda, such as replacement-level non-White immigration, as a bipartisan issue — both values strongly promoted by the mainstream Jewish community. They jumped ship mainly because Trump was promising to undo the liberal/left social agenda as well as disengage from foreign wars and US occupation of the Middle East. During the 2016 campaign, some of the strongest denunciations of Trump came from neocons (“Jewish Fear and Loathing of Donald Trump: Neocon Angst about a Fascist America”).
If you haven’t seen it, Carlson’s interview with Bobulinski is damning, and the documents he refers to have been thoroughly authenticated.