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EDITORIAL: Biden undercuts Israel on arms shipments

President Joe Biden’s craven effort to appease radical progressives on Israel will fail — yet it will potentially damage American foreign policy interests for years to come. It’s also a deep stain on this administration.

Seven months after Mr. Biden proclaimed that the United States “stands with Israel” in its actions following the brutal Oct. 7 terror attack by Hamas, the White House completed its U-turn. On Wednesday, the president said he would stop shipments of some weapons to Israel in order to discourage the country from invading the Hamas stronghold of Rafah.

No doubt the mullahs in Iran cheered the news. The announcement certainly delighted Hamas officials and other extremists who have explicitly stated their goal of eliminating the Jewish state. And you can be sure that Mr. Biden’s very public about-face raised eyebrows among our NATO allies as they deal with Russia’s expansionist aggression in their own backyard.

Make no mistake, Mr. Biden has elevated his re-election effort over this country’s long-standing interests in the Middle East. The president and his handlers are keenly aware of pro-Hamas protest movements in swing states — particularly Michigan, with its large Muslim population — and the political ramifications if the demonstrators stay home in November. But the White House efforts to placate the hard left are futile, short of completely abandoning Israel. The embargo is “horribly insufficient,” one of the leaders of a protest-vote movement against Mr. Biden told The New York Times.

Nor is the pressure from this administration likely to deter Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has understandably been unwilling to let the White House foreign policy team micromanage his nation’s efforts to combat terror and to protect itself. “If we need to stand alone, we will stand alone,” he said last week. “As I’ve already said, we will fight with our fingernails.”

Senate Republicans have put forth a resolution condemning the administration’s decision to “halt the shipment of United States made ammunition and weapons to the State of Israel.” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should allow a vote this week. Americans deserve to know where their representatives stand on the issue. In fact, Congress has already approved the arms shipments.

Analysts told The Wall Street Journal that the White House move will have little effect on Israel’s war effort in the “short term” but could constrain the nation’s long-term ability “to fight on multiple fronts.” But it also sends a loud message of weakness and equivocation to our allies — can they count on the United States? — while emboldening those who condone the senseless slaughter of innocent civilians for political ends and bolstering the forces of authoritarianism across the globe.

A decade ago, Robert Gates, who served as secretary of state under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, wrote that Mr. Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Apparently, the president is eager to keep his record of futility alive through decades five and six.

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