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Joe Biden’s Uncomfortable Blind Spot on Palestine Grows

WILL IRVINE (HE/HIM)


When Joseph R. Biden was first elected to the presidency, celebrations largely centred around the defeat of Trump and the vanquishing of the pseudo-mythical American alt-right. As the hype died down, Americans needed a more convincing promise than simply “not being the other guy”'. The line the Democratic establishment chose to run was simple: “Joe Biden is the most progressive president since FDR”. 


In many ways this is true—Biden has passed significant infrastructure legislation in his presidency and has appointed a wide range of slightly left-wing people to inconsequential public roles, a rarity in the tightly conservative world of American federal politics. However persuasive this proposal initially was, it has completely collapsed over the last year. While Joe Biden may be progressive on some economic issues, he has consistently been one of Congress’s biggest Israel hawks. In a widely-shared speech from 1986, the now-President declared that Israel is America’s “single best investment” and that “If there were not an Israel, we’d have to invent one”.


This line of thought, until recently commonplace in the Democratic voter base, perfectly illuminates the American ethos on Israel—it is the bastion of liberal values abroad, much in the same way that British colonies were bastions of the British Empire. However, as Israel reveals its illiberality in increasingly grotesque ways this facade becomes harder and harder to maintain and, as a result, Biden’s approval rate continues to plummet. 


Last month, following a three-week impromptu campaign by Arab and Muslim Americans, more than 100,000 Democratic voters cast their vote for “uncommitted” in the Michigan state primary, demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the President’s inaction. While these voters insist they will still vote against Trump in the November election, it seems increasingly apparent that Biden’s lack of action on Israel may be the final nail in the coffin of his presidency. 


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