The creation and development of the modern State of Israel is the single greatest achievement of the Jewish people in 2000 years. While Israel is the Jewish people’s national home and a refuge from antisemitism, it is also an historic opportunity for the people of Israel to live according to Judaism’s highest ethical and moral values while holding sovereignty and power.
A secure democratic State of Israel at peace with its neighbors alongside an independent, peaceful, and secure Palestinian State is essential not only to Israel’s long-term security and development, but to American Jewish identity and the future of the Jewish people around the world. The Biden-Harris campaign’s values and policies comports with Jewish, progressive Zionist, and Israel’s foundational values.
In a J Street Leadership conference call with Vice President Joe Biden on September 10, 2020, Biden expressed his long-standing support for the State of Israel, his beliefs about what will bring Israel lasting security and peace, and what he will do as President. He noted in our conference call the following:
- Two-States for Two Peoples: Biden supports a negotiated diplomatic process resulting in two states for two peoples as the only way to insure Israel’s long-term security and democracy and Palestinian national rights;
- Middle East Leadership: Biden has known personally every Israeli Prime Minister since Golda Meir and earned their trust by virtue of his support for the Jewish state and ongoing candor;
- Anti-Annexation: Biden called upon Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government to stop immediately all talk of Israeli annexation of any part of the West Bank because he regards such a disastrous policy as being against Israel’s and the Palestinian’s fundamental interests;
- The Palestinians: Biden promised to reengage the Palestinian Authority in talks and diplomacy leading to a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to reopen a US consulate in East Jerusalem, and to reinstate civilian funding to the Palestinian people that President Trump discontinued. He noted that the Palestinian leadership “hasn’t stepped up when given opportunities [to achieve peace].” As part of a process leading to a two-state solution, Biden said that the Palestinian Authority must change its educational system, stop inciting violence against Israelis, and focus on the economic needs of Palestinians. He said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to show stronger commitment to peace negotiations, and he blamed President Trump for his one-sided and therefore destructive approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
- The Iran Agreement: Biden believes that the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement was an historic mistake and that the United States must reengage with it. As President he will seek to do so and “if Iran returns to compliance” Biden will work with America’s allies to make the deal “longer and stronger.” He noted that the original agreement assured a most intrusive inspection regime of all Iran’s nuclear facilities, that many in the Israeli military and intelligence establishment supported the agreement, and that since Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement and replaced it with nothing. Iran has attained ten times the amount of enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon than it did in 2017. “Instead of Iran being isolated,” as Trump claimed he would do, “we [i.e. the US] are the ones being isolated.” The old agreement, he noted, said that the United States could at any time take action against Iran if it violated the agreement which it did not do in all the time the US was part of the deal. Biden believes that a new agreement ought to include condemnation of Iran’s destabilizing actions all over the Middle East. He added that he believes that Trump has put Israel and the United States “in danger” by withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal and endangered American Jews “by embracing far-right conspiracy theories”;
- Israel and the UAE: Biden acknowledged that the Trump administration’s brokering of a normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates was a positive development. He said, “I think Trump is going to accidentally do something positive here,” though it needs to be said that the relationship between the Gulf’s Sunni Arab governments and Israel had been warming for years driven by a common animus toward Shiite Iran (Note: News of the rapprochement between Israel and Bahrain came after this call with J Street leadership. Neither deal (i.e. Israel with the UAE and Bahrain) addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a continuing threat to the security and democratic character of the State of Israel and to the national rights of the Palestinian people).
The following are the values and policies vis a vis Israel as stated by the Biden-Harris Campaign:
“Joe Biden’s record of unstinting support for Israel
- Joe Biden’s stalwart support for Israel and his commitment to protect Israel’s security and strengthen our two nations’ partnership is deeply personal and spans his entire career.
- Since his first trip to Israel in 1973 shortly before the Yom Kippur War, Biden’s commitment to Israel’s security has been unshakeable, fighting in the Senate for critical aid to Israel, calling it “the best $3 billion investment we make,” and opposing dangerous arms sales to its enemies.
- As Vice President, Biden helped ensure unwavering support for Israel’s security. During the Obama-Biden Administration, he was a key advocate in securing support for lifesaving technologies like the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow 3 anti-rocket and missile defense systems.
- Biden helped shape the unprecedented $38 billion, ten-year memorandum of understanding for defense assistance to Israel signed in 2016, the largest such military aid package in U.S. history.
- Biden has led efforts to oppose the delegitimization of Israel, whether in international organizations or by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement here at home.
- Biden took historic steps to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The Obama-Biden Administration imposed crippling multilateral sanctions, which brought Iran to negotiations, paving the way for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that prevented a nuclear-armed Iran.
A Biden Administration Will:
- Sustain our unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security – including the unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation pioneered during the Obama-Biden administration, and the guarantee that Israel will always maintain its qualitative military edge.
- Work with the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to support peace building efforts in the region. Biden will urge Israel’s government and the Palestinian Authority to take steps to keep the prospect of a negotiated two-state outcome alive and avoid actions, such as unilateral annexation of territory and settlement activity, or support for incitement and violence that undercut prospects for peace between the parties.
- Reverse the Trump Administration’s destructive cutoff of diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority and cancellation of assistance programs that support Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, economic development, and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza, consistent with the requirements of the Taylor Force Act, including that the Palestinian Authority end its system of compensation for individuals imprisoned for acts of terrorism.
- Urge Arab states to move beyond quiet talks and take bolder steps toward normalization with Israel.
- Firmly reject the BDS movement — which singles out Israel and too often veers into antisemitism — and fight other efforts to delegitimize Israel on the global stage.
- Hold Iran’s government accountable and rejoin a diplomatic agreement to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, if Iran returns to compliance with the JCPOA, using renewed commitment to diplomacy to work with our allies to strengthen and extend the Iran deal, and push back against Iran’s other destabilizing actions.
- Ensure that support for the U.S.-Israel alliance remains bipartisan, reversing Trump’s exploitation of U.S. support for Israel as a political football, which harms both countries’ interests.
- Support the critical economic and technological partnership between the United States and Israel, further expand scientific collaborations and increase commercial opportunities, and support cooperation on innovation throughout the region.”
- See “Joe Biden and the Jewish Community: A Record and a Plan of Friendship, Support and Action” – https://joebiden.com/joe-biden-and-the-jewish-community-a-record-and-a-plan-of-friendship-support-and-action/
I ask that you distribute these blogs to anyone interested in what the vast majority of liberal American Jews believe (according to all polls) especially those living in the states identified by the Democratic presidential campaign where the closest results will likely occur: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Especially distribute these blogs to young potential voters who historically turn out in smaller numbers relative to their percentage of the population and encourage everyone to vote early unless they are willing to stand in line at polling places despite the health risks.
Past Jewish Values and the Biden-Harris Ticket Blogs include the following: