Biden’s Israel policy could cost him the White House – Scott RItter
US President Joe Biden is alienating voters with his insistence on backing Israel’s campaign of “genocide” in Gaza, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter has told RT. Supporting the destruction of Gaza is “a bridge too far for the American public,” Ritter said.
Pro-Palestinian protesters heckled Biden during a key campaign speech on Monday, demanding that he pressure the Israeli government to declare an immediate ceasefire. With protests still drawing large crowds in New York and Los Angeles, and with some of Biden’s own officials resigning over the president’s “blind support” for Israel, a recent New York Times poll found broad disapproval, particularly among young voters, for Biden’s handling of relations with West Jerusalem.
“It’s very rarely foreign policy issues that decide elections,” Ritter told RT on Monday, explaining that the focus on Biden’s management of the Israel-Hamas war suggests “that something else is at stake here.”
“What’s at stake here is how we define ourselves as American people,” he said. “It’s one thing to say we’re ‘for Ukraine’ or ‘against Russia’, but with Israel and Gaza we’re talking about genocide. Real genocide.”
Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people. Israeli forces responded by launching airstrikes on Gaza, followed by a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave a month later. The operation is ongoing, and has claimed the lives of more than 23,000 Palestinians, more than two thirds of whom have been women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. With Gaza still under a near-total siege, 40% of the enclave’s population are at risk of famine and disease is rampant, the UN warned late last month.
“This is a bridge too far for the American public,” Ritter said. “We cannot support this wanton slaughter of innocent civilians. It’s not a foreign policy failure, it’s a failure of the American identity.”
This “total lack of moral character” is what is going to hurt Biden at the polls, Ritter claimed, adding that “Americans look in the mirror and don’t like what they’re seeing.”
During his first trip to Israel after Hamas’ attack, Biden pledged that “as long as the United States stands,” Israel would be given the weapons it needs “to protect its people.” Washington has since rushed arms and ammunition to West Jerusalem, while dismissing allegations that Israel is using them to commit genocide.
However, Biden is apparently aware that a sizable contingent of his voters don’t share his enthusiasm for Israel. The US president has publicly rebuked Israel for its “indiscriminate bombing” campaign, and after his rally was interrupted on Monday, the president announced that he was “quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza.”
While a majority of young voters want the president to back a ceasefire, a majority of those aged 45 and over want Biden to commit more support to Israel’s military operation, the New York Times poll found. Among all voters, 47% told the newspaper that they sympathize more strongly with Israel, while 33% said they sympathize with the Palestinians or both sides equally.