Eliot Cohen (l), Eric Edelman and Ann Lewis on Jewish Americans for Biden call Oct. 28, 2020.
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Eliot Cohen (l), Eric Edelman and Ann Lewis on Jewish Americans for Biden call Oct. 28, 2020.
Neoconservatives are flocking to the Biden campaign. The DC braintrust that believes in using US military power to aid Israel in the Middle East has jumped parties before- to Clinton in '92, and back to Bush in 2000- and now they're hopping aisles to support Biden, with Bill Kristol leading the way.

Last night on an official Biden campaign webinar led by "Jewish Americans for Biden", and moderated by Ann Lewis of Democratic Majority for Israel, two prominent neocon Republicans endorsed Biden, primarily because of Trump's character posing a danger to democracy. But both neocons emphasized that Biden would be more willing to use force in the Middle East and reassured Jewish viewers that Biden will seek to depoliticize Israel support, won't necessarily return to the Iran deal and will surround himself with advisers who support Israel and believe in American military intervention.

Eric Edelman, a former diplomat and adviser to Dick Cheney, said Trump's peace plan has fostered an open political divide in the U.S. over Israel, because the plan endangers "the demographic future of Israel and its ability to continue to be both a Jewish and a democratic state." (Demographic future means that Israel might have a majority of Palestinians, an argument we associate in the U.S. with segregationists.)

Eliot Cohen, a Bush aide and academic, echoed the fear that Israel is being politicized. "A lot of Jews made a big mistake by taking something I was in favor of, moving the embassy to Jerusalem and obsessing about that," he said. But there was huge political risk in that: if the United States is internally divided, at war with itself, and "Israel has become a partisan issue, which it should never ever be.... That's not in Israel's longterm security interest."

Biden will reverse that trend by appointing strong supporters of Israel, Cohen said.
"Joe Biden has a long record as a friend of Israel. I think we're both quite familiar with the kinds of people who will go into a Biden administration and I think we feel very comfortable that they will have a deep and abiding concern for Israel which is not going to go away."
Edelman also said that Trump has created many "dangers" in the region by not being aggressive:
"By withdrawing or threatening to withdraw US forces, by repeatedly not replying or dealing with Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf or against Saudi oil infrastructure, he's created a sort of vacuum that is being filled in Libya by Russia and by Turkey..."
Biden will work with allies and be ready to use U.S. military in the region - or as Edelman said, "to play."

"The region is a mess," Edelman said. "And yet the president continually says he wants the U.S. to withdraw from the region. The reality is that the withdrawal of US power form the region has helped create this morass of threats."


Comment: What Edelman doesn't say is which country or countries are largely responsible for making the Middle East region the mess that it is!


He cited three war zones in which the U.S. or proxies' bombing is essential to U.S. security, Libya, Yemen and Syria.


Comment: Not essential to US security - but helpful towards Israeli hegemony, at least in Syria.


In Syria, "The Trump administration pulled out and said, we don't want to play here," Edelman said.

"Other forces are going to fill the vacuum created by the absence of US leadership and they won't be benign forces," Edelman said. Iran, Russia, or Turkey will come in and create a "vortex of instability that can potentially come back to haunt us" — with terrorist attacks or the disruption of energy markets.

Cohen and Edelman opposed Obama's Iran deal, and both predicted that Biden will be hawkish on Iran.

Edelman said that the Trump administration "deserves some credit" for upping the pressure on Iran, but that some of the measures have isolated the U.S. from allies and thereby helped Iran. "Sanctions are not a strategy."


Comment: But "playing", and presumably bombing is?!


Edelman assured viewers that Trump has set the terms for the ongoing relationship with Iran- Obama's Iran deal does not set the terms.

"There will be voices" in the Biden administration that seek a return to the Iran deal, but the clock has been running for four years, and we're in a different place, he said. And "it will be hard [for Biden] not to use the leverage that the sanctions provide in part because Iran is not abiding by a lot of the limits of the nuclear agreement... They're about three, maybe four months away from having enough fissile material to actually develop a nuclear weapon."


Comment: When have we heard that before?!?


Edelman went on to say that if the Democrats take the Senate, Chuck Schumer will be Senate Majority leader and he was against the deal. So was the likely Democratic chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez. And most Democratic leaders were very lukewarm on the deal, even as they endorsed it in name.

Cohen said that the deal Trump brags he will get with Iran will hurt Israel.

"He's a terrrible dealmaker," Cohen said. "Because he has no grounding in any values other than self-promotion he will be willing to cut all kinds of deals. His oppositon to Iran is no way principled. It's in no way based on his assessment of Middle East politics... One thing I guarantee is if there's a Trumpian Iran deal it's going to be a terrible deal for the united States and an even worse deal for Israel."


Comment: Because nothing less than the total and complete subjugation of Iran will do for Israel.


Edelman praised the long experience of Biden as former chair of Senate Foreign Relations, and praised "the type of people likely to populate a Biden administration."

Both men said that Biden will continue to advance the normalization process with Israel's Arab neighbors. "There's going to be some big challenges managing the relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," Edelman said. "I am very confident that the Biden administration will tackle this very seriously, because it cares about alliances, and will do a good job in managing the next steps in this process."

Eliot Cohen said the U.S. works by projecting strength and concern for human rights, in some countries anyway- Turkey, Russia, China and Saudi Arabia. Trump doesn't care about human rights, just cozying up to dictators. "The Trump team views the world simply as a jungle full stop and that is not a way that Americans have traditionally viewed it and the source of our strength in some ways is that we don't simply view it that way."

(Reminder, these are the great thinkers who got us into the Iraq war, killing hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians, and helped destroy several Arab capitals...)

The two thinkers were move persuasive when it came to U.S. politics. Edelman said that Trump's complaint that his own Attorney General has not indicted his opponents is a sign of the authoritarian threat to American democracy. "I've seen how this movie comes out and it's not pretty, and it's inimical to the United States continuing to be a democratic republic... [as] I don't see how that continues if there's a second Trump term and I frankly fear for the republic."

Cohen echoed him and spoke about Jewish values. He and his family belong to an orthodox synagogue and have raised four children with a religious education. "I've tried to live my life by Jewish values. One thing that's very important for Jewish Republicans. Obviously the issue of Israel is important, it's the only Jewish state, it's important to look after it and for it to thrive, but what is our approach to politics?" Jews don't believe that you Render unto God the things that are God and render unto Caesar the thing that are Caesar's and therefore not take issue with a politician's character "so long as they do what we want them to do." He said, "That's not the Jewish way." In the Book of Samuel, the king engages "in despicable behavior," and the prophet storms into his bedroom. "We believe that character matters." And this election is about character.

Btw, Aaron David Miller seems to share the neocons' assessment of Biden. He'll be much friendlier to Israel than Obama was.
Anyone believing Biden- Bibi will be a honeymoon should lay down wait quietly until feeling passes. But neither shoud anyone believe Trump propaganda that Biden is an enemy of Israel. Israel is in Biden's DNA. He's a Clinton not an Obama.