The US will never be on the right side of history, so long as it supports Israeli apartheid
President Biden’s visit to Israel and Palestine has been predictably disappointing, offering unconditional support for the apartheid state of Israel and absolutely nothing for its victims, the Palestinian people, who have been languishing under brutal Israeli occupation for decades.
President Biden ran on the promise of restoring America’s moral authority in the world and has reiterated his deep commitment to human rights throughout his presidency. This visit is yet another confirmation of how hollow these words and promises are. This is also an exceptionally troubling visit because it comes on the heels of the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the second US citizen murdered by the Israeli military this year alone, which the Biden administration has chosen to whitewash.
Instead of holding Israel accountable for its crimes, President Biden has reiterated his support for the apartheid state, reaffirmed his commitment to Zionism (the political ideology animating Israel’s horrific crimes against the Palestinian people), and has even signed the Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration to promote even deeper cooperation with Israel. The framework commits the US to maintain Israel’s military advantage to ensure its continuous aggression cannot be challenged, and it focuses on preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon but says absolutely nothing about Israel’s own stash of undeclared nuclear weapons.
The Jerusalem Declaration also commits the U.S. to deepen ties between Israel and other oppressive governments in the region, and does so in the name of “peace,” even though Israel’s apartheid government and the repressive regimes it partners with continue to bring suffering and violence to the people of the region.
And perhaps what’s most deplorable about this declaration is that it describes its partnership with authoritarian regimes and with apartheid, as well as its promotion of hypocrisy, as a “moral commitment,” turning the concept of morality entirely on its head.
Beyond this visit, the Biden administration is also exploring having Israel join the US Visa Waiver Program, which grants Israelis special privileges to visit the US without a visa, even though Israel doesn’t qualify for the program due to what our own State Department acknowledges is rampant mistreatment of American citizens of Palestinian, Arab or Muslim origin.
President Biden must wake up to the reality that the status quo is untenable, that oppression and violence are fundamentally at odds with peace and stability, and that the US will never be on the right side of history, so long as it supports Israeli apartheid. Correcting the course requires this administration to:
- Conduct a serious, independent investigation into the Israeli military’s killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and impose meaningful accountability on the government of Israel;
- Immediately announce that Israel will not join the US Visa Waiver Program, so long as it continues to practice discrimination and harassment of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Americans;
- End the $3.8 billion the US gives to Israel in military funding each year, to ensure US taxpayer money does not fund war crimes against Palestinians.