Blinken’s trip to Israel: Nine bad moments
On Monday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel for a three-day visit, becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit Israel since Benjamin Netanyahu was reelected as prime minister. Netanyahu welcomed Blinken warmly and described US President Joe Biden as “a true friend of Israel” and “a true champion of this alliance.” However, in spite of the rhetoric, during those three days Blinken made several remarks showing the Biden administration’s duplicitous policies concerning Israel.
MONDAY: SPEECH WITH NETANYAHU IN JERUSALEM
On Monday, Blinken gave a joint speech with Netanyahu, beginning by stating that in light of the horrific terrorist attacks just a few days earlier, the US was strong in its commitment to Israel’s security.
#1: Criticizing Netahyahu’s judicial reforms
“That includes our support for core democratic principles and institutions, including respect for human rights, the equal administration of justice for all, the equal rights of minority groups, the rule of law, free press, a robust civil society,” Blinken said, adding. “and the vibrancy of Israel’s civil society has been on full display of late.”
This was a veiled reference to recent mass protests against judicial reforms being advocated by Netanyahu’s coalition government.
#2 Meddling in Israel’s internal affairs
“The commitment of people in both our countries to make their voices heard, to defend their rights, is one of the unique strengths of our democracies,” Blinken said. “Another is a recognition that building consensus for new proposals is the most effective way to ensure they’re embraced, and that they endure.”
This was an attempt to meddle in Israel’s internal affairs, a point that was emphasized by National Missions Minister Orit Strook (Religious Zionist Party) who accused Blinken of lecturing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on democracy.
“Dear Mr. Blinken,” Strook tweeted. “I understand that you decided to give to our Prime Minister a lesson in democracy. Well, democracy is first of all the duty of a country to determine its course according to the vote of its citizens, each of which is given equal weight, and without foreign involvement. And demonstrations, however legitimate they may be, are not equivalent to a ballot.”
#3 Temple Mount
In the same speech, Blinken stated the importance of maintaining the “historic status quo at Jerusalem’s holy places, including the Temple Mount Haram al-Sharif,” choosing to refer to Judaism’s holiest site also by an Arabic term.
#4 Anti-Jewish status quo
In addition to Blinken’s stated dedication to the status quo, his State Department was critical of a visit to the site last month by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, saying it had “the potential to exacerbate tensions and to provoke violence.” The White House claimed the visit “jeopardized the status quo” though it was unclear in what way it did so.
The status quo violates Israeli law by discriminating against Jews and Christians, maintaining a Muslim exclusivity on religious freedom.
#5 Inappropriate prayer
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Blinken invoked a prayer while mourning the Jews murdered by a Palestinian terrorist on Friday.
“On Shabbat, Jews around the world recite the Ma Tovu. Part of that prayer reads, ‘Your great love inspires me to enter Your house, to worship in Your holy sanctuary, filled with awe for You. I love Your house.’ Seven people were killed in Friday’s terrorist attack in Neve Yaakov; many more were wounded,” Blinken said. “Most were leaving a synagogue after prayer. To the families of the victims, we express our most heartfelt condolences knowing that we can never know the depth of your loss. May the memory of your loved ones be a blessing.”
Ma Tovu is only recited in the morning upon entering the synagogue and the attack took place at night as the Jews were leaving the synagogue. The prayer begins with Numbers 24:5, describing how Balaam, a non-Jewish sorcerer, was sent to curse the Israelites. He is instead overcome with awe at the splendor of the Jewish camp centered around the Tabernacle.
The verse is often cited as an example of how the Jews can serve as a “light unto the nations”, turning hatred of the Jews and Torah into love. The terrorist attack was the antithesis of this prayer.
TUESDAY: SPEECH WITH ABBAS IN RAMALLAH
Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday.
#6 Equating Palestinian casualties to Israeli
In an address to the media after the meeting, Blinken expressed “condolences and sorrow for the innocent Palestinian civilians who’ve lost their lives in escalating violence over the last year.”
After a series of deadly terrorist attacks carried out by Palestinains last spring, the IDF initiated Operation Break the Wave focused on eliminating the growing threat posed by an established terrorist infrastructure in Jenin and Shechem. The military encountered massive amounts of weapons and there have been heavy casualties on the Palestinian side but the overwhelming majority have been young men identified by the terrorist organizations as members.
His remarks came just four days after a Palestinian terrorist murdered seven Israelis in front of a synagogue in Jerusalem. The next morning, a 13-year-old Palestinian armed with a handgun wounded two Israelis in the same area.
#7 Writing a billion dollar check for terrorism
At the meeting, Blinken pledged an additional billion dollars in aid to the PA. Former President Trump had cut off much of the US aid to the Palestinians due to the Taylor Force Act which makes it illegal to give economic aid to the PA until they cease paying stipends through the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists.
#8 Two-State solution; Blaming Israel
He also cited the US commitment to the “two-state solution” which would create a Palestinian state inside Israel with its capital in Jerusalem. He cited as the greatest obstacles to this vision were things like “settlement expansion, the legalization of outposts, demolitions and evictions, disruptions to the historic status quo of the holy sites, and of course incitement and acquiescence to violence.”
#9 Praising Abbas for countering terrorism
Blinken praised Abbas for his “consistent and resolute stance against terrorism.”
Abbas refused to condemn the recent Jerusalem attacks. He has consistently over the years expressed his commitment to pay-for-slay payments to terrorists and their families based on carrying out terrorist attacks against Jews.
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