Biden’s Successes in Israel
President Biden’s visit to Israel confirmed his commitment, and that of the United States, to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. Upon arriving for his 10th visit to Israel, President Biden declared “you need not be a Jew to be a Zionist.” In the visitor’s book at Yad Vashem he wrote, “It is a great honor to be back — back to my emotional home — we must never, ever, forget because hate is never defeated — it only hides. We must teach every succeeding generation that it can happen again unless we remember. That is what I teach my children and grandchildren. Never forget.”
Words are important, but President Biden’s trip to Israel included commitments backed by action. Yesterday, President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid met in Jerusalem and signed the Jerusalem Joint Declaration on the U.S. – Israel Strategic Partnership. This historic agreement reiterates America’s commitment to Israel’s security, includes a “commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” and rejects the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
President Biden also reiterated America’s support for Israel’s right to self-defense, announced the next steps toward enhancing Israel’s security through a new missile defense system, and stated his support for a follow-on agreement to the 2016 Obama-era Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). In addition, the President played a key role in Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow Israeli airlines to use its airspace, saying that this victory will “help build momentum toward Israel’s further integration into the region,” building on the Abraham Accords. Importantly, President Biden also underscored his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, announced humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, and new grants under the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) to advance progress for peace.
President Biden’s visit proved the hollowness of Republican claims that President Biden and the Democratic Party are anything but strong and trusted friends of Israel. Yesterday, President Biden was presented with Israel’s highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Honor, by Israeli President Herzog. President Biden became just the third U.S. president to receive the award, which recognizes the President’s decades of friendship and support for Israel.
This morning, we convened an expert panel to discuss the President’s trip. As we heard from Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz at our briefing, which was live-streamed on C-SPAN, “Republicans publicly prefer to make Israel a political football.” As Jewish Dems committed to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, we think that’s unacceptable. Click below to watch the full briefing with Rep. Wasserman Schultz and former U.S. Ambassadors to Israel Dan Shapiro and Martin Indyk.
Jewish Dems are committed to maintaining and strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship–including working toward a two-state solution–and to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. President Biden and the Democratic Party share these objectives and no Jewish voter has to choose in November between support of Israel and alignment on domestic policy issues of importance to Jewish Americans, including defense of our democracy, security and rights. With the Democratic Party, Jewish voters have both.
Hon. Ron Klein
Board Chair, Jewish Democratic Council of America
CEO, Jewish Democratic Council of America