Biden, Schumer, Borrel, And Mainstream Media: A Building Block Of Inaccuracies – OpEd


In a surprising speech, Senate Majority Leader Charles (“Chuck”) Schumer urged new elections in Israel, suggesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not up to the task of leading his country. President Biden embraced  Senator Schumer’s speech. 

 There are enough reasons why Netanyahu deserves to be removed by his people, particularly the failure of his government to protect Israel’s southern border on October 7. 

However, there is something much more severe in Schumer’s speech. 

President Biden has come under fierce attack from the left-wing sector of the Democratic party in a presidential election year. The President fears the vote of the still undecided even though President Biden won a solid victory in the Democratic primaries. It is far from clear how threatening this year’s undecided vote is for President Biden, according to top data experts like Nate Silver and others.  Furthermore, Democratic voters challenge President Biden for various reasons—Gaza being only one of them. Yet, the Biden campaign is scared as current polls give his Republican opponent, Donald Trump, a slight advantage. 

But what exactly has President Biden done wrong in the eyes of the progressive wing of the Democratic party?

The President has made serious efforts to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas, which includes a temporary cease-fire and the release of the hostages and Hamas prisoners. Likewise, he has tried to avoid Palestinian casualties from the outset by sending military men and diplomats to Israel. President Biden has also invested significant efforts in trying to prevent an Israeli ground operation. Currently he continues trying to block an operation in Rafah, the last bastion of Hamas terrorist threat, and whose eradication is crucial to Israel’s security.  In addition, him and his staff have pressured Israel to increase and expand access to humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Part of the undecided and Progressive sector of the Democratic party wishes not only to secure a permanent and unconditional cease-fire, which would keep Hamas in charge of Gaza, but also to stop military aid to Israel. 

The question is – what exactly has Israel done that is so atypical for a country to do after it suffers a deadly attack like that occurred on October 7?

Indeed, Israel deployed its military to destroy an evil enemy. However, as the war unfolded, it agreed to negotiate with Hamas through mediators which was temporarily successful in late November of 2023. Now, a militarily weakened Hamas wants Israel to release hundreds of Hamas terrorists and force it to an immediate and complete withdrawal from Gaza. 

It is worth remembering that Israel agreed to ceasefires in with Hamas from 2009 and 2021, only for Hamas to repeatedly breach them and start again another round of war. 

Progressives refuse to understand that Hamas’ survival could encourage terrorist groups of global reach to attack the West, like the 9/11 terrorists in the United States,  the coordinated bombings on commuter trains in Spain on March 11, 2004  and in England on July 7, 2007? 

It is undeniable that a significant portion of the Gazan population have become displaced from Northern, Central, and Southern Gaza.  They are suffering in a difficult situation. However, the displacement was a result of Israel’s efforts to provide sufficient warning to Gazans to leave a potential danger zone and ultimately save their lives.   Likewise, Israel has consistently provided humanitarian aid but Hamas has stolen much of those supplies, often  reselling them to the Gazan people and making a profit for themselves. Israel also proposed the creation of an artificial port to increase the humanitarian assistance to Gaza which the United States built. 

Israel does inspect any trucks before they enter Gaza to prevent the smuggling of weapons, which, indeed, slows down the aid’s arrival. However, to accuse Israel of intentionally starving Gazans, as European Union Foreign Minister Joseph Borrel has done, is blood libel.  

Such remarks constitute the peak of unfair bias against Israel and its integrity, mostly coming from mainstream outlets such as the New York Times, the BBC and others. The media tends to accept and spread information distributed by Hamas institutions, such as the Ministry of Health. Likewise, these media outlets often hire local journalists working on behalf of Hamas. One of the facts that has been accepted as uncontroverted truth is the number of Palestinian casualties Hamas reports. However, reports on the number of Palestinian casualties are questionable. As Wharton School professor of Statistics Abraham Wyner points out after meticulous analysis, the total civilian casualty count is likely to be overstated. Wyner observed that the Gaza Ministry of Health reported total Palestinian deaths as dramatically increasing each week consistently with no variations whatsoever. Likewise, the number of women and children casualties reported are disproportionately higher in relation to the number of men.  

No U.S agency has bothered to challenge or investigate Hamas’ reports. 

  Furthermore, even assuming the number of casualties (30,000 ) provided by Hamas is correct, Israel estimates that more than 12,000 Hamas terrorists have been killed,  meaning that the ratio of civilian casualties per combatant is at most 1 combatant per 2.5 civilians. According to the Center for Civilians in Conflict, usually in urban wars “civilians account for 90 percent of the casualties,” which is a ratio of 1 to 9

Thus, Borrel is irresponsibly spreading misinformation which incites more hate and resentment against Israel and, subsequently, against the Jewish people at a time of rampant global antisemitism. 

The spread of misinformation triggering hatred towards Israel and Jewish people involves some mainstream American politicians. About a year before the war started, the chair of the Congressional Democratic Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, referred to Israel as a “racist state.” Later, she offered a disingenuous apology. Suggesting that Israel is racist mirrors the most nefarious lies about the state of Israel spread by the 1968 Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) charter, its Soviet and Arab mentors as well as Hamas itself.  

Fast-forward to today in the United States, Senator Chris Van Holen of Maryland has led a group of Senators urging President Biden to suspend arms supply to Israel unless Israel stops restricting the delivery of food and medicine into Gaza. As noted, these allegations contribute to the dogmatic belief surrounding Israel’s role in the war. 

 There is a building block of inaccuracies that have reached the White House itself and key supporters of Israel such as Senators Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez.  

Their efforts are not helpful but rather, provide a misleading impression that Israel is solely responsible for the current crisis in Gaza. Such an approach is unsuitable for America, as the United States is being perceived as throwing an ally under the bus. China and Russia rejoice now since  none of these world powers would have ever handed over allies such as Iran, Belarus, or North Korea. 

Finally, the Administration’s clumsy attitude will doubtfully benefit Biden’s reelection bid. The President, Schumer and the Progressives are arming Donald Trump with powerful talking points. 

Luis Fleischman

Luis Fleischman, Ph.D., is a professor of Sociology at Palm Beach State College, co-presdient of the Palm Beach Center for Democracy and Policy Research and the author of the book "The Middle East Riddle: The Peace Process and Israeli-Arab Relations in a Changing Times."

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