Biden Flip-Flops on Israel... Again

The Biden administration is clearly caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to foreign aid for Israel and is currently flip-flopping around like a fish that’s been dragged up onto the beach. After quietly attempting to halt military aid to our ally and drawing withering criticism for it, the White House told members of Congress last night that a new, $1 billion package of military aid is on its way to Israel. The package includes tank ammunition, tactical vehicles, and mortar rounds. The fact that this weaponry will no doubt be used in Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Rafah, which Biden previously said he opposed, was not mentioned. This is good news for Israel but it creates even more of a political headache for the President, who is currently floundering in the polls. (Associated Press)

The Biden administration has told key lawmakers it is sending a new package of more than $1 billion in arms and ammunition to Israel, two congressional aides said Tuesday.

It’s the first arms shipment to Israel to be announced by the administration since it put another arms transfer — consisting of 3,500 bombs — on hold earlier in the month. The administration has said it paused that earlier transfer to keep Israel from using the bombs in its growing offensive in the crowded southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The congressional aides spoke of condition of anonymity to discuss an arms transfer that has not yet been made public.

The reported contents of this shipment represent something of a mixed bag in terms of Israel’s needs. They will no doubt take whatever they are allowed to purchase because they are burning through a lot of munitions in the efforts to eliminate Hamas. The tank ammunition and mortar rounds will be particularly welcome. But there was no mention of the precision, long-range missiles that were part of the previously delayed aid shipment. 

This is somewhat ironic because the top supposed complaint Biden has with Israel is the number of civilian casualties that allegedly take place in Gaza. (A complaint that has now been largely debunked.) Precision weaponry allows the IDF to eliminate Hamas fighters and leaders with minimal collateral damage, so one might assume that such weapons would be at the top of the priority list, but this is the Biden administration we’re talking about, so all bets are off.

This entire situation is a political nightmare for Joe Biden and if he were any less of a massively incompetent bad actor, I would probably almost feel sorry for him. Aid for our Israeli allies draws massive support among most of the public and denying that aid while they fight a bloody battle against terrorists only further undermines his already historically low approval ratings. But at the same time, sending more weapons to the supposed “occupiers” of Gazan land will just further inflame Michigan’s Arab and Muslim voters along with the army of young protesters who chant “Genocide Joe” whenever Biden shows up in public. His handlers are clearly panicking at this point, seeing Biden trailing in the polls in virtually every swing state while Donald Trump is attracting massive crowds even in blue states like New Jersey.

Of course, there could be more to this announcement than basic political optics. Biden could be looking to undercut House Republicans who are currently pushing a bill that would mandate regular military aid shipments to Israel. Biden was already in defiance of the will of Congress when he delayed the previous aid package. He probably doesn’t want to give them yet another excuse to try impeaching him this close to the next election. Biden’s handlers are probably weighing that against just how badly they need another ten or twenty thousand votes in Michigan. I still maintain that the “Genocide Joe” crowd is highly unlikely to vote for Donald Trump in November because he is an even more earnest supporter of Israel. But if they wind up staying home or tossing their support to RFK, it works out to the same effect for the most part.

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