Even though there was virtually no debate on foreign policy during the recent presidential campaign, there has been considerable discussion of what President Joe Bidenâs national security team might look like. The general consensus is that the top levels of the government will be largely drawn from officials who previously served in the Obama administration and who are likely to be hawkish. There has also been, inevitably, some discussion of how the new administration, if it is confirmed, will deal with Israel and the Middle East in general.
Israelis would have preferred a victory by Donald Trump as they clearly understand that he was and still is willing to defer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on nearly all issues. Indeed, that process is ongoing even though Trump might only have about nine more weeks remaining in office. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly preparing to sanction several international human rights organizations as anti-Semitic due to the fact that they criticize Israelâs brutality on the West Bank and its illegal settlement policies. The White House is also prepared to free convicted but paroled Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from travel restrictions so he can move to Israel, where he is regarded as a hero. Pollard was the most damaging spy in U.S. history and any mitigation of his sentence has been opposed by both the Pentagon, where he worked, and also by the intelligence community.
Finally, it is widely believed that before the end of the year Trump will declare that the United States accepts the legitimacy of Israeli intentions to declare annexation of nearly all the Palestinian West Bank. The White House will actually encourage such an initiative reportedly âto sow hostility between Israel and the Biden administration.â One should note that none of the pro-Israeli measures that are likely to come out of the White House enhance U.S. security in any way and they also do nothing particularly to benefit Trumpâs campaign to be re-elected through legal challenges.
If Biden does succeed in becoming president, the special place that Israel occupies in the centers of American power are unlikely to be disturbed, which is why Netanyahu was quick off the mark in congratulating the possible new chief executive. Biden has proudly declared himself to be a “Zionist” and his running mate Kamala Harris has been a featured speaker at the annual gatherings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington.