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Biden Doubles Down on U.S. Support for Genocide

Despite recent rhetorical shifts, the Biden administration is ramping up its support for the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. He, and the entire U.S. regime, must be held accountable for these crimes.

James Dennis Hoff

December 13, 2023
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Photo: Evan Vucci

By now, almost everyone in Gaza has a friend or family member who has been killed or injured by the Israeli military. In just two short months, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have killed no fewer than 18,000 people and wounded close to 50,000 more. All in all this means one in 30 Gazans have either been killed or wounded by Israel. Meanwhile, according to Al Jazeera, more than 80 percent of Gazans have been rendered homeless because of the bombing, hundreds of thousands are without fresh water, and thousands more are literally facing starvation. Israel claims that such horrors are an unavoidable by-product of its war against what it calls Hamas terrorists. But what is unfolding in Gaza is not a war between Hamas and Israel, as the bourgeois press would like us to believe. It is a genocidal war of collective punishment upon the Palestinian people, the end goal of which is the total subjugation, forced removal, and destruction of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories. And it is happening with the full support of the U.S. regime.

Contrary to reports that President Biden is placing more conditions on support for Israel and some comments by high-ranking administration officials — including Vice President Kamala Harris — denouncing the civilian death count, the Biden regime has recently doubled down on its support for the Israeli genocide. This was made clear yet again on Sunday, when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed unequivocal approval for Israel’s open-ended war on Gaza, telling ABC News that “we want to make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against Hamas.” That same day, Blinken told CNN that Israel, not the U.S., will decide when to end its war against Hamas, contradicting earlier U.S. calls for Israel to finish the war by the end of the year, and effectively giving Israel a green light to continue the conflict for as long as it takes to accomplish its genocidal goals.

These statements came just one day after the Biden administration bypassed congressional approval for more military aid to Israel, ordering the Pentagon to sell more than 14,000 high explosive tank cartridges to the IDF. These are the same munitions that have been used throughout Israel’s assault on Gaza to terrorize civilian populations, cripple Palestinian infrastructure, and to destroy roads, homes, and apartment buildings. These weapons have also been used to kill several Palestinian journalists

This decision to directly bypass the current deadlock in Congress over funding for Israel and Ukraine, something Republicans have tried to tie to further militarization of the U.S. border, followed closely on the heels of a United Nations Security Council vote to call for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, which the U.S. promptly vetoed. The resolution, which was supported by almost all of the other members of the Security Council, with the exception of the United Kingdom (which abstained), was not even a permanent ceasefire, but merely an attempt to stop the bombing long enough to allow for the shipment of humanitarian aid to Gaza, including food, water, and much-needed medical supplies. This veto, which is in effect a contradiction of the Biden administration’s previous calls for a humanitarian ceasefire, is yet another example of the distance between the president’s rhetoric and the actions of the U.S. state. 

This shift toward even greater support for Israel comes amid increasing national and international calls for a permanent ceasefire. Since October, millions of people have taken to the streets in massive demonstrations across the world to show their solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people. Many of these protesters are rightly critical of the ongoing occupation, and of Israel’s decades-long genocidal campaign against the palestinian people. They correctly view the current assault on Gaza as part of Israel’s larger project of slowly undermining the Palestinians’ national ambitions. But a much larger group of people are increasingly outraged by the incredible civilian death toll of the war and have embraced the call for a permanent ceasefire as their primary demand. And they are not alone. Indeed, polls show that a near supermajority (61 percent) of people in the U.S. also support a permanent ceasefire. Meanwhile, some of the biggest labor unions in the United States, including the Postal Workers Union and the almost 400,000 strong United Auto Workers, have now signed onto a statement demanding an immediate ceasefire and other unions are adding their endorsements almost daily. Even long-time U.S allies, including Japan and France, have supported the UN’s call for a humanitarian ceasefire, leaving the United states and Israel increasingly isolated. 

In response to this growing movement — which is taking place just eleven months out from the U.S. presidential elections — one would think that Biden would try to appease these potential voters by taking a tougher stance toward Israel’s massacre of civilians, and yet he’s done the exact opposite. Even the President’s most recent criticisms of Netanyahu on Tuesday (which had more to do with competing visions for who should lead Gaza after Hamas), were wedged between forceful statements of total support for Israel. “We’re not going to do a damn thing other than protect Israel in the process. Not a single thing” said the President. Indeed, instead of using his influence to call attention to the unfolding genocide in Gaza and force a ceasefire, Biden is using all the methods at his disposal to silence calls to end the fighting and is sending more weapons to the people currently carrying out that genocide, a move that is sure to aliaenate even more voters. 

How do we explain this? The official State Department answer is that any cessation of Israel’s assault on Gaza would allow Hamas to regroup and rearm itself; but this is only a small part of the equation. While Hamas is currently a thorn in Israel’s side, both the U.S. and Israel cynically promoted and then used Hamas as a convenient excuse to apologize for Israel’s military objectives for decades. Like every other U.S. president before him, Biden’s unequivocal support for Israel is tied to the long term strategic interests of U.S. imperialism, and while it is true that Biden would prefer not to see a regional escalation of the conflict, his primary objective is ensuring the ongoing military dominance of the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East. And if this means crushing Gaza, then so be it.

Of course, Biden is nonetheless worried about his own future prospects and those of his party, and in that sense, he and his administration have sought to walk a fine line between full support for Israel and a semblance of concern for civilian casualties. But the Biden administration has also learned the lessons of the last truce, which only extended the length of the ongoing assault and which was a massive public relations victory for Hamas — who showed they were capable of coordinating honest negotiations even while under attack by one of the most powerful militaries in the world. As more and more voters threaten to stay home in November, the last thing Biden wants is to go into the general election with a conflict in Gaza still hanging over his party’s head. All of this suggests that the aim of both Biden’s rhetoric and actions is to provide Israel with the military means and political cover it needs to achieve its immediate military objectives in Gaza, including the total destruction of Hamas as a political organization, as quickly as possible. Concerns about the humiliation and murder of civilians, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis and genocide in Gaza are all, unsurprisingly, secondary to this goal. 

All of this goes to show that the ends of imperialism and true self-determination are diametrically opposed. A just solution to the occupation of Palestine is impossible without the involvement of the regional and international working class, independent of organizations like Hamas, which has hitched its wagon to the star of repressive, anti-worker, theocratic and bourgeois regimes like Iran, Turkey, and Qatar. Building a movement for real justice in Palestine means building the revolutionary organizational power of the working class across the Middle East and here at home in the citadel of imperialism. This can only be achieved through a revolutionary struggle that includes the formation of an independent working-class party for socialism that is a true political alternative to the Biden regime and the imperialist U.S. state. Everyone who is fed up with capitalism and has vowed to never vote for Genocide Joe has a role to play in making such a party a reality. 

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James Dennis Hoff

James Dennis Hoff is a writer, educator, labor activist, and member of the Left Voice editorial board. He teaches at The City University of New York.

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