“I don’t believe you have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, and I am a Zionist.”
U.S. president Joe Biden spoke these words during his recent trip to Israel. As swarms of pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas rallies across the world have called for an end to Zionism — and an end to the world’s sole Jewish state — Biden’s words have never been more significant.
In the weeks since Hamas launched its barbaric surprise attack on Oct. 7, the Biden administration has never wavered in its support for Israel in public remarks. Biden’s visit to wartime Israel was hugely symbolic in itself, indicating to the Jewish state’s regional adversaries that the U.S. will step in if necessary and requested. While the Biden administration has been surprisingly firm in its pledged support for Israel, how future democratic leaders would respond to a similar crisis is an open question.
The White House has been vocal in its support for Israel
When Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on Oct. 7, killing at least 1,400 and kidnapping hundreds more, the White House immediately announced its unwavering support for the Jewish state. Key administration figures including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby have also consistently and publicly condemned Hamas and its atrocities.
Just two days after the attack, Kirby got choked up while discussing the heinous images beginning to surface on a CNN interview with Jake Tapper. Blinken has expressed similar sentiments and has mirrored Biden’s phrasing that Hamas’ actions were “sheer evil.”
In remarks made during his Israel visit, Blinken elaborated that “Hamas is ISIS, and just as ISIS was crushed, so too will Hamas be crushed. And Hamas should be treated exactly the way ISIS was treated. They should be spit out from the community of nations. No leader should meet them. No country should harbor them. And those that do should be sanctioned.”
Biden Rejects Hamas’ Casualty Figures
The White House’s actions have lined up with their words. Over the last three weeks, the U.S. has deployed two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Eastern Mediterranean in order to deter Hezbollah from exploiting the ongoing crisis and attacking Israel from the north.
Last week, the USS Carney intercepted a barrage of missiles fired by Iran-linked militants in Yemen toward Israel. The U.S. president has even dismissed calls for a cease-fire from within his own party. More recently, Biden said he rejects Hamas’s reports that more than 6,000 civilians have died in Gaza due to Israel’s airstrikes: “”What they say to me is I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war,” Biden said.
Last week, Hamas claimed Israel was responsible for a rocket barrage that struck a Gaza City hospital. According to the terror group, the targeted strike killed thousands of innocent civilians. However, audio and visual evidence has now surfaced showing the incident was caused by a misfired rocket launched by a Hamas-aligned group. Additionally, aerial imagery indicates the hospital was not struck directly, casting doubt on the claim that thousands were killed.
While Biden’s response to the unfolding crisis may be flawed, the president’s unwavering support for the Jewish state should not go unnoticed. Israeli officials are also considering the White House’s remarks and actions very seriously. Israel Defense Forces leaders plan to carry out a full-scale incursion into Gaza but are abiding by the White House’s requests to hold off for now. More than 200 hostages remain in captivity in the Gaza Strip, including American nationals.
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.
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