There has been a lot of recent confusion on the left about President Biden’s support of Israel in its recent conflict with Hamas. This stems from a misunderstanding of the conflict. The conflict is not a “both sides” situation.
Hamas is a terrorist organisation, and as such it attacked the sovereign state of Israel, an official American ally since 1949. Biden condemns that action as he should. It’s properly the job of the President of the United States to protect America’s allies when they are attacked without provocation.
Moreover, President Biden is correctly suspicious of claims Hamas has published about their casualties during the conflict, and with good reason. Those claims have often been found to be lies, as was the claim that Israel blew up a Gaza hospital.
Now, I hasten to add, I have never been a fan of the extremist and racist elements of Zionism. Israelis, and the Israeli government, have on occasion committed atrocities against the Palestinians. I have also often pointed out that not all Jews are Zionists, a thing that Donald Trump, in his characteristic antisemitic arrogance, has claimed to the contrary. But not all Palestinians are Hamas, either. We all need to calm down and understand the difference here.
Many on the left are saying that Biden has lost their vote because of his support of Israel. To that I ask them if they have lost their effing minds. This is no time to destroy the world by handing it over to fascists just because Biden is doing the same job that every president since Harry Truman has done, namely, support the state of Israel when it’s under attack.
It’s time for some of our brothers and sisters on the left to recognise the political reality here. These are grownups doing grownup things. Nobody thinks that innocent Palestinians deserve to die. No sane persons, anyway. But no terrorist organisation has the right to attack and murder innocent people, either. And if you can’t understand the difference maybe it’s time for you to clear the room and let the grownups do the thinking.
Biden’s quarrel is with Hamas, not the innocent Palestinians who were living peacefully in Gaza. America has a long-standing policy of never negotiating with terrorists. That is a policy every American ought to support.
The situation in Gaza (and on the West Bank) has long been deplorable. Palestinians have long been the target of execrable racist abuse and discrimination. That doesn’t mean that any subset of them have the right to murder innocent Israelis. The subject here is innocent people dying. That is a tragedy, and the tragedy is equal whether the innocent people in question are Israelis or Palestinians.
This is absolutely no time to throw away your vote. There are huge issues at stake here, and the world depends on America staying out of the hands of fascists. So think long and hard if you think your “protest vote” is worth a damn. Throwing America to the wolves of fascism, global warming denialism and theocracy isn’t the answer every time your precious feelings get hurt. It’s time for you to grow up. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.