Photo Credit: Maryland GovPics
President Biden in Baltimore, MD, January 30, 2023.

“Say it ain’t so, Joe” was the immortal and likely made-up phrase that was attributed to a young fan speaking to Chicago White Sox outfielder Joseph Jefferson Jackson, a.k.a. Shoeless Joe Jackson, after his indictment for throwing the 1919 World Series.

“Say it ain’t so, Joe” was also my outburst this morning when I saw Axios’ Barak Ravid’s article titled, “Exclusive: Biden says Bibi shouldn’t rush ‘divisive’ judicial overhaul bill amid threats.”


My next response was to make sure I took down the garbage last night, because, you know, Joe Biden might say something nasty about that one, too. “Exclusive: Biden says David Israel is slacking on his chores.”

I mean, can you believe it? President Joe Biden is intruding on a friendly country’s totally internal affairs, and doing it publicly, through an Israeli reporter for a major online newspaper? What’s wrong with this man? Is the loss of boundaries yet another symptom of his dementia?

Don’t get me wrong, I trust Ravid’s report, I believe him when he says Biden sent a statement to Axios that “called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to move forward with the planned Israeli Knesset vote on a bill that is part of the government’s judicial overhaul, saying he is highly concerned about the legislation and its potential implications.”

Is this normal? Never mind the persistent humiliation of PM Netanyahu with repeated announcements that he, President Joe Biden, would not meet with him, and then inviting President Itzhak Herzog to the White House to dip Bibi’s nose in it. And never mind that finally, as Labor MK Gilad Kariv put it cleverly (don’t you hate it when the left serves acerbic digs at our side): Biden agreed to meet Bibi in the UN garage in September. Ouch. But now the President of the United States delivers his authoritative messages through the media, ordering an elected prime minister to halt legislation because Joe Biden don’t like it?

Holy mackerel on a stick in the July sun!

Ravid unpacks it for us, the natives in faraway Palestine: “From the perspective of Israel’s friends in the United States, ‘it looks like the current judicial reform proposal is becoming more divisive, not less,’ Biden said in the statement.”

“‘Given the range of threats and challenges confronting Israel right now, it doesn’t make sense for Israeli leaders to rush this — the focus should be on pulling people together and finding consensus,’ he added.”

Oh, and there was this: Ravid noted that, according to a US official, “the Pentagon is concerned that the crisis facing the Israeli military could have negative implications for Israel’s deterrence strategy and encourage Iran or Hezbollah to conduct military provocations that could escalate the situation in the region.”

See? Iran and Hezbollah will attack not because they can see how the US President is distancing himself from the prime minister of their archenemy, but because the IDF is in the midst of a dispute with a few hundred reservists.

Oh, and there’s this, too, according to Ravid: “The crisis, especially within the Israeli air force, could also have negative operational implications for US forces that closely cooperate with Israel in the region.”

I’m not a huge fan of conspiracy theories, mostly because they involve human beings, and human beings are incapable of acting in concert with strict discipline to take down the trash, never mind topple a democratically elected government. But it’s so difficult to avoid thinking that Joe Biden is putting his thumb on the scale just so to make life harder for Netanyahu and his right-wing ministers.

I have no idea whether Netanyahu will go ahead with Monday’s vote as promised. I know there were last-minute, hectic talks with opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz and Lapid finally broke away, leaving his old partner to fend for himself, and so Gantz, too, cried uncle and ran off. But, going back to Baseball metaphors, the fat lady is scheduled to sing sometime tonight, and until she does there’s no telling if we won or lost.

Here’s a rendition for your listening pleasure of Murray Head singing “Say It Ain’t So Joe.”


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