Biden links Israel and Ukraine in speech, calls for more military aid – Mondoweiss


Biden speech

Last night, President Joe Biden addressed the nation from the Oval Office and attempted to link Ukraine’s fight with Israel’s despite the fact that Ukraine is being occupied and Israel is an occupier.

“Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy — completely annihilate it,” he told viewers.

In a nod to Ronald Reagan, Biden claimed that “America is a beacon to the world still.”

“American leadership is what holds the world together,” said Biden. “American alliances are what keep us, America, safe. American values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with. To put all that at risk if we walk away from Ukraine, if we turn our backs on Israel, it’s just not worth it.”

Biden said he would send an urgent budget request to Congress in order to fund “America’s national security needs.” He is expected to request another $14 billion for Israeli military aid, on top of the nearly $4 billion that the United States already sends to the country.

“The echoes of George W. Bush’s infamous ‘axis of evil’ were clear to anyone who listened to both,” wrote Mitchell Plitnick at our site. “Equating two entities as different as Vladimir Putin and Hamas requires a great deal of spin, but it’s crucial to create the jingoism needed for a new march into long-term war.”

“In this case, Biden is leading the U.S. into a very different kind of warfare than George W. Bush did,” he continued. “In this version, U.S. boots don’t touch the ground. We are trying to relegate our involvement to aircraft carriers, missile launchers, and some planes. Will it work? It seems as flawed a strategy as Biden’s whole approach to the Middle East. It invites the sort of attacks on ourselves that we find so appalling.”

Israel-related resignations

In yesterday’s blog, we mentioned Josh Paul, a State Department who left his position over the Biden administration’s Gaza policy.

“I cannot work in support of a set of major policy decisions, including rushing more arms to one side of the conflict, that I believe to be shortsighted, destructive, unjust, and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse,” he said in a statement.

There’s been a number of other notable resignations this week. SEIU Connecticut State Council executive Kooper Caraway stepped down from his position after comments he made at an October 9 rally in New Haven.

“Our enemies are not in Gaza,” Caraway told the crowd. “Our enemies are the CEOs who are cutting our pay and benefits. Our enemies are the politicians who lock our people up and leave them to sleep on the streets.”

Local GOP lawmakers had called for Caraway to resign over the comments.

Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-CA) political director, Adam Ramer, resigned after just two weeks on the job over the congressman’s refusal to back the House ceasefire resolution pushed by progressive lawmakers.

“I will be doing everything in my power to stand against war and for Palestinian justice,” tweeted Ramer.

“I have great respect for Adam’s conviction and he is a passionate voice for human rights for Palestinians,” Khanna told Ryan Grim at The Intercept. “I will continue to call for protecting civilian life, humanitarian aid, and living up to the standards of the Geneva convention.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) researcher Stephen C. Rea publicly quit his job, saying that he couldn’t square his “morals and politics” with the direction of the organization. In recent days, the ADL has smeared Palestine solidarity activists and anti-semites, and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has compared progressive, Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace to white supremacists.

“I think the ADL does a lot of great work, and trust me, there are some AMAZING people there (many of whom agree with me …),” wrote Rea on social media. “But there are times when you have to stand up and say ‘enough.’”

Meanwhile, HuffPost reports that there is a “mutiny brewing” within the State Department over Biden’s Gaza policy. Two administration officials told the website that diplomats are preparing a dissent cable, criticizing his actions.

“Such cables are seen within the State Department as consequential statements of serious disagreement at key historical moments,” writes HuffPost’s Akbar Shahid Ahmed “The dissent channel was established amid deep internal conflict during the Vietnam War, and diplomats have since then used it to warn that the U.S. is making dangerous and self-defeating choices abroad.”

House members face increased death threats over Palestine

NBC News reports that Capitol Police and the House Sergeant at Arms briefed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and other progressive House members over potential threats last week.

“I’m from a militant group,” a male caller says in one voicemail left at Omar’s office. “I can’t wait ‘till our group sees you one day and I can rip your f—— rag off your head… I hope the Israelis kill every f—— one of you.”

“It directly endangered my life and that of my family, as well as subjected my staff to traumatic verbal abuse simply for doing their jobs,” said Omar in a statement. “More importantly, it threatens the millions of American Muslims.”

“This toxic language and imagery has real-world consequences,” she continued. “House Republican leaders stay silent as their party unleashes these toxic attacks and refuse to hold extremists in their ranks accountable. Since assuming office, two men have pleaded guilty to threatening to kill me. This is very real. I fear for my children and have to speak to them about remaining vigilant because you just never know.”

Former Warren staffers sign open letter calling for ceasefire

Over 200 former staffers from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) 2020 presidential campaign signed a letter urging her to call for a ceasefire.

“The United States cannot continue to give a blank check to the increasingly fascist Israeli government to commit war crimes and to continue to enforce the brutal apartheid, settler-colonial regime that has led to the devastating violence we are witnessing now,” it reads. “We are not alone in this point of view — across the country, tens of thousands of protestors, including your own constituents and supporters, are mourning, marching, and coming together to demand an end to Israeli oppression and violence.”

“We spent months, some of us years, fighting for you because we believed you shared our dream for the world to be a place in which every human being can live in dignity. Your lack of moral clarity in the face of the genocide of Palestinians is a direct contradiction of the values your campaign stood for,” the letter continues. “One of your last calls to action for us at the end of your presidential campaign was to “always choose to fight righteous fights.” We call on you to live up to your own words by demanding an immediate ceasefire, advocating for de-escalation, and addressing the root causes of the violence of the past 13 days — 75 years of brutal apartheid and occupation.”

Polling on Gaza attack

Some new polling was released on U.S. attitudes toward Biden’s Gaza policy.

First, a YouGov survey from CBS:

76% of Americans say Biden should send humanitarian aid to Israel, 72% say Biden should pursue diplomacy with other countries in the region, 57% say we should send humanitarian aid to Gaza, and 48% think we should send weapons and supplies to Israel.

The numbers on that final question were also broken down by party. 47% of Democrats, 45% of Independents, and 57% of Republicans say we should send weapons and supplies to Israel. 53% of Democrats, 55% of Independents, and 43% of Republicans say we should not.

“Americans strongly agree on the U.S. engaging in diplomacy with countries in the region and sending humanitarian aid to Israel; many would also send it to Palestinians,” concludes CBS on Twitter, “Dems are divided on whether the U.S. ought to send weapons and supplies to Israel. Republicans show a slight majority in favor. The Dems who don’t think the U.S. ought to are relatively less approving of Biden’s handling of the conflict than Dems who do.”

Another one from Data for Progress. The organization asked voters if they agreed with the statement, “The U.S. should call for a ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence in Gaza. The U.S. should leverage its close diplomatic relationship with Israel to prevent further violence and civilian deaths.”

66% said they strongly agree or somewhat agree. That includes 80% of Democrats, 57% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans.

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