Joe Biden Just Threw Israel under the Bus at the African Union: In the last weeks of the Obama administration, the White House altered long-standing American policy to throw Israel under the bus in a one-sided resolution targeting the Jewish state and changing a long-standing and more nuanced U.S. position on Israeli building in Jerusalem and disputed parts of the West Bank.
President Biden’s top national security staff—Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his deputy Wendy Sherman and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his deputy Jon Finer—are all veterans of the Obama-era State Department. During Biden’s election campaign, the U.S. president said that he considered Israel to be a key ally and would stand by it should the country be targeted militarily or diplomatically.
Alas, it appears Biden lied.
Earlier today, security guards at the African Union expelled the Israeli delegation as the African Union summit opened, apparently at the behest of South Africa and Algeria, two of Africa’s most anti-Semitic countries. Israel had gained observer status at the body in 2021 alongside the State of Palestine; Israel previously had been an observer nation in the Organisation of African Unity that the African Union succeeded. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are also observer states.
Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had sent a U.S. team to the summit. Led by Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee, the American delegation also includes Johnnie Carson, a former assistant secretary who now travels as Biden’s special presidential representative. USAID Administrator Samantha Power also attached a number of senior aides to the delegation.
As security guards accosted Sharon Bar-Li, the Israeli foreign ministry’s deputy director general for Africa, Blinken’s team appears to have remained silent. If Biden and Blinken truly stood by their allies, they might have instead walked out alongside Israel’s extra-legal expulsion.
Biden, Blinken, and Sullivan all stated upon his election win and their eventual nominations that “diplomacy was back.” The international community takes them at their word. Accordingly, they note not only what Biden’s team says and does but also note their silence and refusal to act. What happens at the African Union does not stay in the African Union. Biden’s inaction against the backdrop of the African Union expulsion of Israeli observers suggests Biden, Blinken, and Sullivan give a green light to rejectionism.
That will not help peace; it will only push Biden to be a more antagonistic president to Israel than Obama, Jimmy Carter, or Dwight Eisenhower.
Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, Dr. Michael Rubin is a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Dr. Rubin is the author, coauthor, and coeditor of several books exploring diplomacy, Iranian history, Arab culture, Kurdish studies, and Shi’ite politics, including “Seven Pillars: What Really Causes Instability in the Middle East?” (AEI Press, 2019); “Kurdistan Rising” (AEI Press, 2016); “Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes” (Encounter Books, 2014); and “Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos” (Palgrave, 2005).