The Biden administration should probably be busy planning how to run the country with both houses of Congress going red, but it still found time to fret over the election results in Israel, which also didn’t go the way it had hoped. But its window of opportunity to do something about it is very narrow: they have until January 2023, when a new, Republican House and Senate take over, painting political Washington two-thirds red.
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday about the annals of Israel’s democracy: “It is far too early to speculate on the exact content or composition of the next governing coalition. This is something that will play out in Israel and Israel’s own political system over the coming days. What I would say is that what makes this relationship so strong and what has made it so strong since Israel’s independence to the present day is that this is a relationship that has always been based on our shared interest, but importantly, our shared values. We hope that all Israeli government officials will continue to share the values of an open, democratic society, including tolerance and respect for all in civil society, particularly for minority groups.”
Price didn’t say the name Itamar Ben Gvir, but it popped out of every line in his carefully constructed announcement. If I didn’t know differently, I would have suspected that the Biden administration is worried that the winner of Tuesday’s election did not share its democratic values. It’s touching how a country where hundreds of civilians armed with pitchforks and whatnot attacked both houses of parliament looking to hang the Vice President should be so concerned about a country where the democratic exchange of power is carried out civilly and respectfully, year in and year out since 1948.
MK Ben Gvir has let it be known he intends to demand the post of Internal Security Minister, and he is eager to bring about a massive increase of Israel Police prestige through bigger budgets, expanded hiring, and his unabashed support for cops who shoot terrorists.
Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy Director Natan Sachs told Haaretz on Wednesday: “Ben-Gvir is toxic in the US. He confirms the worst of what detractors claim about Israel. The US will obviously engage with the Israeli government, but it has engaged before with other governments while shunning their components — from Austria to Lebanon.”
And Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Senior Fellow Aaron David Miller added: “We have never seen a situation between an American administration and an Israeli government in which the third-largest party in the Knesset––likely to have at least two ministers in the government––has a platform that is supremacist, racist, homophobic and anti-democratic. It just never existed.”
The ease with which the left throws these accusations at its opponents like sequence at a gay pride parade, without the merest attempt to anchor them in reality, such as a political platform, statements made by the accused during the campaign, something substantial––is impressive. When in doubt, lie, when out-argued, curse, has been the left’s modus vivendi for centuries.
For the record, we should note that Benjamin Netanyahu’s new partners, should he agree to do business with them, are presenting plans that have been suggested at one time or another by Netanyahu himself, as well as former Likud members Avigdor Liberman and Gideon Sa’ar, and some of the practices they suggest to restore law and order in Israel have been carried out by Labor governments all the way back to Yitzhak Rabin and before him David Ben Gurion.
On Wednesday, The Hill featured an op-ed titled, “Coming: Totally predictable, utterly normal Republican midterm sweep,” which followed a Monday op-ed titled “How the impending red wave could become a tsunami.” Both articles agreed the Republicans will gain control of both houses of Congress come November 8, they only disagreed on how big would the Democratic defeat be.
Judging by the latest trends, the Republicans will gain between 30 and 35 House seats and win a one to two-seat majority in the Senate. That’s the “totally predictable” Republican mid-term victory. A tsunami would be a 1994 or 2010 level outcome, when the Democrats lost 53 and 63 House seats, respectively.
But the new GOP lawmakers are not expected to be anything like their predecessors. At least 200 of them are pro-Trump election deniers, convinced that President Joe Biden stole the election. They are Biden’s sworn enemies who have already promised to impeach him the first chance they get. It means Joe Biden will be very busy in the next two years, and it also means that Congress will trump (pun intended) any anti-Israel move on the part of the White House. You can be certain of that. Heck, they’d impeach him for spitting on the sidewalk.
And so, the Biden gang will have until January to inflict damage on Israel, the way former President Barack Obama threw the Jewish state under the bus on his last days in office, when his UN envoy refused to veto an anti-Israel Security Council resolution. To remind you, he Obama administration refused to grant an entry visa to former MK Michael Ben Ari saying he belonged to a terrorist organization, Kahane Chai.
But they probably won’t pull these schticks on Minister Ben Gvir. As US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides put it, “I was pleased to see such strong voter turnout for the Knesset election. It is too early to speculate on the exact composition of the next governing coalition until all the votes are counted. I look forward to continuing to work with the Israeli government on our shared interests and values.”