Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz
President Joe Biden greets staff following his State of the Union address.

In his first lengthy post-State of the Union interview with Jonathan Capehart on the liberal echo chamber channel MSNBC, President Joe Biden was visibly struggling to forge a coherent response to the war in Gaza and its impact on his reelection prospects. I recommend that you watch the entire 9-minute segment to decide whether or not the president is on top of this very complex situation.



Capehart, a former Washington Post journalist and member of its editorial board, opened with a more sensationalist point about Biden’s relationship with the Israeli prime minister.

“You were caught on a hot microphone after your State of the Union address talking to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) saying, ‘I told him, and don’t repeat this, you and I are going to have a come to Jesus meeting.’ What did you mean by that?”

The original term is “come to Jesus moment” and according to Webster it suggests “a moment of sudden realization, comprehension, or recognition that often precipitates a major change.” My personal understanding was that Biden told the two dignitaries it was high time for Netanyahu to bow down and kiss the ring.

“It is an expression used in the southern part of my state, meaning a serious meeting,” Biden explained, adding, “I’ve known Netanyahu for 50 years. He knew what I meant by it.”

Biden hasn’t known Netanyahu for 50 years. Netanyahu graduated high school in 1967, that was 57 years ago. He served in the IDF until 1981, that was 43 years ago. In 1984, 40 years ago, Netanyahu was appointed as Israel’s UN envoy. He entered politics as a junior Likud MK in 1988. In 1991, he was part of the Israeli delegation to the Madrid peace conference. But the conference was arranged by the Bush administration, and Biden became the ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee only in 1997. Netanyahu was a fierce critic of the Oslo Accords, which Biden supported, but the chances of the two of them meeting then were not great. Netanyahu was elected prime minister in 1996, 28 years ago. It’s a long time, but it ain’t 50 years.

Capehart wanted to know what Biden meant with his come-to-Jesus comment.

The president elaborated: “What is happening is he has a right to defend Israel, a right to continue to pursue Hamas, but he must, he must, he must pay more attention to the innocent lives lost as a consequence of the actions taken.”

In his speech on Thursday, Biden used the figures provided by Hamas’s health ministry to conclude that “This war has taken a greater toll on innocent civilians than all previous wars in Gaza combined. More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed. Most of whom are not Hamas.” (In State of the Union, Biden Pushes PA State, Ceasefire and Gaza Port, Parrots Hamas Stats)

There is absolutely no reliable support for this statement, not regarding the actual numbers and certainly not the innocents vs. guilty among the casualties. The estimates on the Israeli side go as high as 20,000 with the majority being terrorists. Biden chose to ignore the discrepancies. This led him to pontificate about Netanyahu, “He’s hurting, in my view, he’s hurting Israel more than helping Israel by making the rest of the world… It is contrary to what Israel stands for and I think it is a big mistake.”

Important distinction: Israel is being hurt by Netanyahu’s efforts to destroy Hamas, because this damages Israel’s standing in the world’s public opinion. It’s not about eliminating Hamas, it’s about looking good in the media.

God help us, Biden really thinks this way.


President Biden continued: “I want to see a ceasefire. I’m starting with a major, major exchange of prisoners for a six-week time. Going into Ramadan. There should be nothing happening. And we should build off of that ceasefire.”

What major prisoner exchange is he talking about? The one that didn’t happen in the Paris negotiations or the one Hamas walked out on in Cairo? The reality of what he is saying is that the IDF should initiate a six-week lull in its attacks on Hamas with nothing in return. Have a safe Ramadan, Yahya Simwar, see you after the holidays.

At which point Biden is offering Israel a gift that’s not his to give, in exchange for abandoning its determination to defend itself against a Nazi regime:

“I have spoken with the majority of the Arab leaders, from Saudi Arabia to Egypt and Jordan, and they are all prepared to fully recognize Israel and begin to rebuild the region. And, that is the focus. What comes after Gaza? What is next? It is a tough decision but there’s a lot that can be done.”

Well, for one thing, Egypt and Jordan have already fully recognized Israel. As to Saudi Arabia, it’s never going to recognize Israel unless Israel recognizes a Palestinian State, including in Gaza. What’s in it for Israel, other than shorter El Al flights between Tel Aviv and New Delhi?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv, October 18, 2023. / Miriam Alster/Flash90


Capehart asked, “What is your redline with Prime Minister Netanyahu, do you have a redline? For instance, with the invasion of Rafah, which you’ve urged him not to do.

“That would be a redline question,” Biden said, quickly adding, “I’m never going to leave Israel. The defense of Israel is still critical.”

One line later, he retracts the redline comment: “There’s no redline where I will cut off all weapons so they don’t have the Iron Dome to protect them. But there’s a redline that if he crosses… You cannot have 30,000 more Palestinians dead as a consequence of going after Hamas.”

And here the president reached a flight of fancy suggesting it might be his bedtime: “There’s another way to deal, to get to, to deal with, with the trauma caused by Hamas.”

The worldview that is reflected in this sentence suggests Biden believes Israel’s problem is the trauma that was caused by the atrocities of October 7, 2023. Not concrete, realistic facts about Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s and Iran’s determination to annihilate the Jewish State and all the Jews in it – it’s all about relieving Israel’s PTSD.

But, you know, it’s his own PTSD that guides President Biden’s judgment. In October 2002, Biden was one of 77 senators who authorized President George W. Bush to go to war against Iraq, based on misleading information from the Pentagon about Iraq’s hidden “weapons of mass destruction.” Biden was personally responsible for the carnage that followed, just as he was responsible for the carnage inflicted by his decision to pull out of Afghanistan. Tortured by his personal PTSD, he is pushing it on Netanyahu:

“The first time I went over, I sat with him and I sat with the war cabinet and I said, don’t make the mistake America made. America made a mistake. We went after Osama bin Laden until he got in, but we shouldn’t have gone into Ukraine… I mean we shouldn’t have gotten into the whole thing in Iraq and Afghanistan. It wasn’t necessary. It wasn’t necessary. It has cost more problems than it erased.”

Do you see how Biden is unloading on Netanyahu his personal demons, borne by a stupid invasion of Iraq that unfurled the stability of the Middle East and invited Iran to become a major player from India to Egypt, financed by the American taxpayer? Netanyahu is not inventing enemies as the father and son Bush did – but Biden is lecturing to him based on America’s catastrophic failures on his watch.


Capehart’s next question may have been planted, in any event, it didn’t yield any serious information, although it will surely fuel a few excitable columns:

“Some have suggested you should go back to Israel and address the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Is that something you would do?”

Biden responded: “Yes.”

“Would that have to be at the invitation of the prime minister, or could that be at the invitation of the President?”

“I’d rather not discuss it more.”

“Does that mean that it has been discussed, the possibility of going back to Israel?”

“It doesn’t mean anything.”

I concur.


The final meaningful element in this segment had to do with Biden’s alienating Democratic voters in the swing states, especially in Michigan.

“You are heading to Michigan on the campaign trail, probably in the next few days, where more than 100,000 people voted ‘Uncommitted’ in the primary to protest your handling of the situation in Gaza. Some have said they will never vote for you. One told Charles Blow of the New York Times, ‘As bad as Mr. Trump’s rhetoric was, and imposing a travel ban on Muslim countries, he wasn’t overseeing and actively arming a genocide. Those are tough words. What is your response to that widely shared sentiment?”

Biden woke up, insisting, “It is not widely shared. You make judgments you are not capable of making. That is not what all those people said. What they said was they are very upset, and I don’t blame them for being upset. There are families there, there are people who are dying, they want something done with it and they are saying, Joe, do something. The idea that they all think it is genocide – that is a different situation.”

He may be right, but seeing as Biden continues to trail former President Trump in all the Midwestern swing states, 100,000 Democrats staying home on November 5 could mean the game.

It is commonly believed that Americans vote their wallets in presidential elections, and the last thing on their minds is foreign policy. But 2024 could be the year that changed this common belief.

Biden is fighting for his political future in Gaza, and Netanyahu better brace for impact.


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