Against this backdrop, President Biden said he is not going to invite Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to the White House “in the near term”, and media reports indicate that there are tense relations between the Biden administration and the Israeli government at the moment due to judicial reform. While many Israelis – and even friends of Israel – have concerns over judicial reform, for the American President to refuse to meet the democratically elected Prime Minister of Israel – and to scold him in public – is wholly inappropriate.
In a world where Iran continues to make good on its desire to build a nuclear bomb, with the Russia-Ukraine situation, with Saudi issues, for the Biden administration to decide to play hardball with Israel is out of place..
But - History often repeats itself.
On June 22 1982, Joe Biden was a Senator from Delaware and confronted then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin during his Senate Foreign Relations committee testimony, threatening to cut off aid to Israel. Begin forcefully responded,
“Don’t threaten us with cutting off your aid. 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.”
Senator Biden reportedly banged on the table with his fist, and Begin retorted,
“This desk is designed for writing, not for fists. Don’t threaten us with slashing aid. Do you think that because the US lends us money it is entitled to impose on us what we must do? We are grateful for the assistance we have received, but we are not to be threatened. I am a proud Jew. Three thousand years of culture are behind me, and you will not frighten me with threats. Take note: we do not want a single soldier of yours to die for us.”
Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the leader of the Revisionist movement, which both Begin and Netanyahu emanate from noted in 1940 that,
“We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmed agree with it or not.”
There have been very scary scenes coming from Israel this week, yet, no matter what, the State of Israel is more important than solely the (very important) issue of judicial reform. For me, no matter what, I stand with Israel. That's how it should be for you, too.
Ronn Torossianis an entrepreneur writing from Tel Aviv.