Democrats sit much more comfortably in opposition, where they can complain about Republicans and where no one expects them to actually accomplish anything

Imperialism

Israel

Lebanon


Fig. 1. “Sabra & Shatila Massacre 1982 Memorial in Sabra, South Beirut,” photograph by Bertramz, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0.

There’s just never enough war, is there?

Peter Beaumont, “Hezbollah vows to retaliate for civilian deaths in Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon,” Guardian, February 15, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/15/hezbollah-vows-to-retaliate-for-civilian-deaths-in-israeli-airstrikes-on-lebanon

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 2. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

The president has dismissed any talk of slowing arms sales to Israel, U.S. officials said, and instead has largely relied on the bully pulpit to try to express discontent.[2]

It’s not enough for Joe Biden to get mad.[3] He needs to actually do something about Binyamin Netanyahu who just wants ever more war:

On Wednesday, [Binyamin] Netanyahu’s office said the government wouldn’t send a delegation back to Cairo to continue negotiations.[4]

The pressure on Israel to avoid a ground offensive [in Rafah] is coming from almost all quarters, including allies such as the US, UK, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The shadow of a return to the international court of justice and a further Algerian-sponsored UN security council resolution is looming over Israel.[5]

It remains to be seen what leverage the [Joe] Biden administration might be willing to use to address this gap between Israel and the United States on the Gaza endgame and the revived two-state solution concept. It’s one thing to leak messages of discontent and disapproval—it’s another thing to make a policy shift that might matter and lead to a different debate or decision calculus inside of Israel.[6]

America’s pressure on Israel must go beyond stern words and leaked angry conversations. The U.S. today is complicit in the destruction of Gazan society, the immiseration of much of the strip. But even at this late stage there are choices to be made and further catastrophe to be avoided.[7]

The U.S. State Department makes its excuses:

I think that sometimes people pretend that the United States of America has a magic wand that it can wave to make any situation in the world roll out in exactly the way that we would want it to,” he said, “and that is never the case.[8]

But the simple fact is that Biden is not doing everything he can to rein in Netanyahu.[9]

Yasmeen Abutaleb, John Hudson, and Tyler Pager, “Biden moving closer than ever to a breach with Netanyahu over war in Gaza,” Washington Post, February 11, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/11/biden-netanyahu-closer-to-a-breach/

Liz Goodwin and Mariana Alfaro, “Aid bill for Ukraine, Israel on track to pass Senate early this week,” Washington Post, February 11, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/11/senate-aid-ukraine-israel-taiwan-aid/

James Politi and Neri Zilber, “Biden says Israel must have plan to avoid civilian casualties in Rafah,” Financial Times, February 11, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/b00a8dcc-f8e3-4da6-a65b-280bb2289f5f

Andy Bounds, James Shotter, and Jonathan Wheatley, “Dutch court bans export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel,” Financial Times, February 12, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/502ebca5-5f2c-497c-968f-e710e617f268

Susie Coen, “Joe Biden considers going public with frustration over ‘a–hole’ Benjamin Netanyahu,” Telegraph, February 12, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/news/2024/02/12/joe-biden-going-public-frustration-benjamin-netanyahu/

Chao Deng, Carrie Keller-Lynn, and Daniel Michaels, “Defying Biden, Netanyahu Doubles Down on Plans to Fight in Rafah,” Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/defying-biden-israels-netanyahu-doubles-down-on-plans-to-fight-in-rafah-7b66d1dd

Emine Sinmaz, “Israel says two hostages freed in raid Gaza officials say killed 67 Palestinians,” Guardian, February 12, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/12/israeli-hostages-freed-rafah-idf-gaza-report-dozens-palestinians-killed-strikes

Matthew Rosenberg et al., “A Tunnel Offers Clues to How Hamas Uses Gaza’s Hospitals,” New York Times, February 13, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2024/02/12/world/middleeast/gaza-tunnel-israel-hamas.html

Dion Nissenbaum and Jared Malsin, “U.S. Probes Israeli Strikes That Killed Civilians in Gaza, Possible Use of White Phosphorus in Lebanon,” Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/u-s-probes-israeli-strikes-that-killed-civilians-in-gaza-possible-use-of-white-phosphorus-in-lebanon-b8fb043b

Dion Nissenbaum and Vivian Salama, “Biden-Netanyahu Relationship at Boiling Point as Rafah Invasion Looms,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-relationship-at-boiling-point-as-rafah-invasion-looms-b893bec5

Ishaan Tharoor, “As Israel corners Rafah, Netanyahu defies the world,” Washington Post, February 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/16/israel-rafah-pressure-global-displaced-assault/

Patrick Wintour, “Pressure builds on Israel to ditch Rafah offensive as ministers gather in Munich,” Guardian, February 16, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/16/pressure-builds-on-israel-to-ditch-rafah-offensive-as-ministers-gather-in-munich


Neoliberalism

Democratic (neoliberal) Party

Joe Biden


Fig. 3. Joe Biden and Pope Francis, unknown photographer, April 29, 2016, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

I have said it before and it is particularly relevant now: The Democratic (neoliberal) Party strongly prefers sitting in opposition, where they can complain about the Republicans and where no one expects them to actually accomplish anything.

Donald Trump retains the undying support of his base. His base is not a plurality. He should be eminently defeatable.

So what do the Democrats do? Insist on nominating Joe Biden, whose excuses for his memory lapses under questioning by Robert Hur[10] fall flat even if the consensus is that Hur’s report was a political hit job,[11] and whose love for Israel, but not for anyone else who lives in the region, costs him votes[12] among everyone who recognizes genocide when it walks up and introduces itself. Now, those Democrats who missed the memo—we want to lose, remember?—are freaking out.[13]

Y’all should have gotten yourselves a party that actually wants to win. Me? I’d settle for one that cares about somebody besides the “donor class.”

Tara Palmeri, “The Old Man & The Scene,” Puck, February 15, 2024, https://puck.news/the-old-man-the-scene/

  1. [1]Agence France-Presse and Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Dion Nissenbaum and Vivian Salama, “Biden-Netanyahu Relationship at Boiling Point as Rafah Invasion Looms,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-relationship-at-boiling-point-as-rafah-invasion-looms-b893bec5
  3. [3]Dion Nissenbaum and Vivian Salama, “Biden-Netanyahu Relationship at Boiling Point as Rafah Invasion Looms,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-relationship-at-boiling-point-as-rafah-invasion-looms-b893bec5
  4. [4]Dion Nissenbaum and Vivian Salama, “Biden-Netanyahu Relationship at Boiling Point as Rafah Invasion Looms,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-relationship-at-boiling-point-as-rafah-invasion-looms-b893bec5
  5. [5]Patrick Wintour, “Pressure builds on Israel to ditch Rafah offensive as ministers gather in Munich,” Guardian, February 16, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/16/pressure-builds-on-israel-to-ditch-rafah-offensive-as-ministers-gather-in-munich
  6. [6]Brian Katulis, quoted in Dion Nissenbaum and Vivian Salama, “Biden-Netanyahu Relationship at Boiling Point as Rafah Invasion Looms,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-relationship-at-boiling-point-as-rafah-invasion-looms-b893bec5
  7. [7]Michael Hanna, quoted in Ishaan Tharoor, “As Israel corners Rafah, Netanyahu defies the world,” Washington Post, February 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/16/israel-rafah-pressure-global-displaced-assault/
  8. [8]Matthew Miller, quoted in Dion Nissenbaum and Vivian Salama, “Biden-Netanyahu Relationship at Boiling Point as Rafah Invasion Looms,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-relationship-at-boiling-point-as-rafah-invasion-looms-b893bec5
  9. [9]Dion Nissenbaum and Vivian Salama, “Biden-Netanyahu Relationship at Boiling Point as Rafah Invasion Looms,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-relationship-at-boiling-point-as-rafah-invasion-looms-b893bec5; Ishaan Tharoor, “As Israel corners Rafah, Netanyahu defies the world,” Washington Post, February 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/16/israel-rafah-pressure-global-displaced-assault/
  10. [10]Matt Viser and Tyler Pager, “Biden responds angrily to special counsel report questioning his memory,” Washington Post, February 8, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/08/biden-hur-response/
  11. [11]Robert Kuttner, “A Partisan Hit Job on President Biden,” American Prospect, February 9, 2024, https://prospect.org/blogs-and-newsletters/tap/2024-02-09-partisan-hit-job-president-biden/
  12. [12]Dion Nissenbaum and Vivian Salama, “Biden-Netanyahu Relationship at Boiling Point as Rafah Invasion Looms,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-relationship-at-boiling-point-as-rafah-invasion-looms-b893bec5
  13. [13]Tara Palmeri, “The Old Man & The Scene,” Puck, February 15, 2024, https://puck.news/the-old-man-the-scene/

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