Pro-Israel Democrats breathed a sigh of relief when it became clear Joe Biden would win the nomination. After all, conventional wisdom held that Bernie Sanders posed a unique threat to the Jewish State.
Not so fast. Rather than dodging a bullet with Biden as the presumptive nominee, Democrats may have opened the gates of Troy to someone even more damaging to Israel than Bernie could ever have been.
Whereas Bernie was substantially more antagonistic than Biden toward Israel, foreign policy was a distant priority to his domestic agenda of transforming the United States into a socialist utopia. Every radical alteration Bernie desired for this country would have required compromising on other issues.
Foreign policy was a distant priority behind Bernie's domestic socialist agenda.
For example, in the event that Bernie attempted to institute unprecedented taxes on Wall Street while canceling student debt, legislators lukewarm to that idea, but reasonably pro-Israel, could have conditioned their support on continued U.S. aid to the Jewish State.
Biden, on the other hand, will not be in a position where such compromises are required. Most Democrats will support his domestic agenda, such that his insidious policies toward Israel will receive little internal pushback. While not as radical as Bernie's positions, Biden's flawed approach to Israel will have a much greater likelihood of being implemented.
During his eight years as second-in-command in the Obama administration, deemed by Israelis to be the most hostile to their interests in recent history, Biden routinely attacked the underpinnings of Jewish self-determination and pushed for failed policies that have proven to exacerbate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Biden is convinced that the Jewish people must be guided by enlightened Westerners.
While Zionism was founded on the idea that the Jewish people should collectively determine their fate as they saw fit, Biden is convinced that enlightened Westerners lacking their lived experiences must guide their hand.
His marked paternalism towards the Jewish state was crystallized in his 2010 speech at Tel Aviv University, in which he said, "Sometimes only a friend can deliver the hardest truth" in lecturing Israelis about the settlements. A year prior, Israeli voters had brought to power a pro-settlement government. Wise Uncle Joe could see what common Israelis couldn't, and if he had to arm-twist their democratically elected leadership to see the light and break their campaign promises, so be it.
When it ultimately appeared that Israelis wanted to decide for themselves how to deal with the Palestinians, the Obama-Biden administration attempted to tip the scales by funding political opposition, which used U.S. tax dollars and derivative work-product in attempting to unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu.
The Obama-Biden administration attempted a soft coup against Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Even if friends sometimes need to deliver the hardest truth, they don't attempt soft coups against one another.
Aside from undermining Jewish self-determination, which should be seen as disqualifying to anyone who considers themselves pro-Israel, Biden remains a fervent adherent to the failed, groupthink-driven international consensus on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which erroneously places the burden on Israel to make concessions.
In the mid-'90s, Biden saw firsthand what happened when Israel agreed to allow Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Liberation Organization to relocate from Tunisia to the disputed territories. Israel gave the Palestinians self-government, and they, in turn, gave Israel suicide bombings and overall carnage.
Despite this, and with heavy encouragement from the U.S., Israel then unilaterally withdrew from the entire Gaza Strip in 2005, uprooting thousands of Jewish settlers in the process. The Palestinian response? Hamas, an organization even worse than the PLO, took over the territory and proceeded to launch thousands of rockets at Israel.
Biden victim-blamed Israel until his last days in office.
Rather than learning from the repeated mistakes of the past, in which each Israeli concession only served to embolden Palestinian militancy in its quest to erase the Jewish State, Biden doubled down on this formula as vice president and victim-blamed Israel until his last days in office.
Biden recently embraced an endorsement from J-Street, a far-left organization that seeks to impose upon Israel policies thoroughly rejected by the Israeli electorate. This, combined with his increasingly hostile rhetoric against Israel's democratically elected government, we can expect him to embrace and even amplify the Obama administration's posture toward the Jewish state if he becomes president.
American supporters of Israel should think carefully about whether that's a risk worth taking.
Matthew Mainen is a Washington-resident fellow at the Middle East Forum and graduate of Stanford Law School. Follow him on Twitter.