Joe Biden, like his mentor Barack Obama, seems to get off on talking tough to Israeli leaders. In this guest post, Stephen Silbiger recalls an early instance of such behavior. He goes on to call out American Jewish leaders for their self-interested disregard of what a Biden administration would mean for Israel and its supporters.
Stephen Silbiger was the chief legislative aide to Congressman Stephen J. Solarz of Brooklyn. He also was the lobbyist for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and was the Washington Representative for the American Jewish Congress. He currently is practicing law in Washington, D.C.
Before the Democratic Party’s lurch to the Left and his elevation by Barack Obama, Joe Biden saw himself as a quasi-Dixiecrat. In his first try for the Democratic Presidential he bragged that he had received an award from George Wallace and boasted that “Delawareans were on the side of the South in the Civil War.”
In 1982, as he was probably beginning to plan that campaign, Biden thought he could appeal to the perceived nativism of the Dixiecrats by publicly threatening to cut off aid to the Jewish state. In July of that year, he used an appearance of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin before the Senate Finance Committee to threaten to cut off aid to Israel.
After enduring Biden’s fist-pounding tirade, Begin responded with the eloquence that was his trademark. Looking directly at Biden, he said:
Don’t threaten us with cutting off aid to Israel. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history.
Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.
The always proper and dignified Begin then lectured Biden on his manners. Looking directly at him he said, “This desk is designed for writing, not for fists.” Biden’s behavior was so out of line that immediately afterwards, Senator Moynihan approached the Israeli Prime Minister and praised him for his cutting reply.
Unfortunately, much of the American Jewish Community is composed of Jews with trembling knees. Although Donald Trump has been the most pro-Israel president in history and will receive a record Jewish vote, he may receive fewer votes than Joe Biden, despite the latter’s checkered record on Israel and his support for reinstating Obama’s deal with Iran.
It has now been established beyond any reasonable doubt that the Ayatollah’s nuclear program has no peaceful purpose and is designed to fulfill his stated goal of destroying the Jewish state. And there is no doubt that a Democratic victory will encourage the most belligerent elements in the Arab world to step up their terrorism and viciously target Jews for murder. Yet Democratic operatives who are afraid of their political futures and Jewish Wall Street financers afraid of missing out on deals are working overtime to defame Trump.
It was not surprising that Begin invoked the Holocaust in responding to Biden. Begin’s parents, his older brother, and numerous relatives and friends were killed by the Nazis. Begin’s speeches were full of references to the Holocaust, and like many European Jews he was critical of American Jewry’s failure to push Roosevelt to do more to save European Jewry.
However, even Begin would have to admit that Roosevelt was better than the current crop of Democrats. After all, Roosevelt fought Hitler and did not fund him.
The Obama-Biden administration gave the Ayatollahs of Iran, who call for the annihilation of the State of Israel and the more than six million Jews who live there, one hundred and fifty billion dollars. Following the receipt of the money, Iran stepped up its activities in Syria, Yemen and Iraq which have resulted in the displacement of millions of people and the death of hundreds of thousands civilian Muslims. Iran also funded Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, which sent, and continue to send, rockets into Israel. Is there any doubt that American money sent to Iran, paid for the murder and maiming of Jews hit by Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets?
Even though the current Democrat Party includes many office holders who want to boycott Israel and eliminate American support for the Jewish state, Jewish Democratic operatives and Wall Street traders are hoping that if they support Biden and go along with some criticism of Israel they can still flourish in Democrat political and financial circles. But they may soon realize that this is not assured in today’s woke Democrat party.
If they want to see their future, they should look at what happened to Elliot Engel, the about-to-be former member of Congress from New York. Engel was a loyal Democrat Congressman from the Bronx and parts of Westchester County. Although he fundraised aggressively among pro-Israel Jews, he trimmed his sails when he was being challenged in the primary by a Bernie Sanders “Socialist.”
Although he was Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he did not go to the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem. He used his Chairmanship to actively and vociferously support the impeachment of Donald Trump. He even spoke at a rally protesting police “brutality.”
Despite all his kowtowing to the extreme Left, he was challenged and defeated by a Bernie Sanders Democrat in the primary.
Bernie Sanders Leftists will not be appeased. Sanders may claim he is a democratic socialist, but he was an admirer of the Soviet Union and still supports communist countries such as Cuba. He was so blinded by his hatred of the United States that he honeymooned in the Soviet Union in 1988. He came back singing the praises of that totalitarian country with a dysfunctional economy the year before it collapsed.
If you research Sanders’ organization, the Democratic Socialists of America, you will find vicious, hate-filled, attacks on the United States and you will see individuals proclaiming themselves to be Communists. That organization includes many totalitarians who seek total power the way Lenin did. They see Biden as a vehicle to gaining that power, as Hitler saw being part of Hindenburg’s government as a way to total power.
In the totalitarian world that Sanders and his followers are determined to impose on the United States, there is no room for Israel or for Jews and non-Jews who see Israel as a democratic ally and strategic asset.