On Israel, Biden Surrenders to the Left

(Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

All the chatter in Washington ahead of Israeli president Isaac Herzog's visit to the White House on Tuesday was about the dust-up in the Democratic caucus over Rep. Pramila Jayapal's (D., Wash.) remark that Israel is a "racist state."

Then came the walk-back in the face of criticism from the dwindling number of her Democratic colleagues who are not anti-Israel. It's Groundhog Day in America.

Don't let that sideshow distract from the Democrats in the White House, whose decision to intrude into a matter of Israeli domestic politics is doing more harm to the U.S.-Israel relationship than the casual bigotry that has become a permanent feature of the American Left.

President Joe Biden and his ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, don't approve of a series of judicial reforms that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports. That sounds to us like something for Israelis to debate among themselves, but Biden has decided to throw spitballs from the sidelines, advising Bibi that Israel "cannot continue down this road"—and then icing him out, announcing in March that he had no plans to invite the prime minister to the White House.

Until Monday, it had been months since they spoke. Biden, at last, has grudgingly extended Bibi an invitation to meet in the United States—but not necessarily at the White House. His invitation to Herzog, who is a critic of the judicial reforms and whose position is purely symbolic, adds insult to injury.

The U.S. president's petulance, meanwhile, has forestalled conversations on important issues. News reports indicate Hezbollah has been crossing into Israeli territory, illegal weapons are proliferating in the West Bank, and the White House is trying to engineer another ill-conceived deal with Iran.

Jayapal's racism is not news, and the decision of a group of Democrats to boycott Herzog's speech makes clear their objection is not to any set of Israeli policies but to the existence of the Jewish state. Biden, on the other hand, has described himself as a "lifelong friend and supporter of the State of Israel." As on so much else, he has surrendered whatever principles he once held to his party's ascendant progressive orthodoxy.