March 2, 2024

The Biden administration has claimed repeatedly that it is working to reduce civilian casualties, increase humanitarian aid, and press the Israelis to conduct the war in a less indiscriminate way. That may be, but the numbers speak for themselves, and while the administration is sending one message from its podiums, it has repeatedly circumvented Congress to expedite weapons shipments to Israel. The real message has been: no red lines.

In addition, many people have noticed the sharp difference in tone and passion when Biden talks about Israelis versus Palestinians. Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland told The Washington Post in December: “The president, different from his graphic description of Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel and Israeli victims … has rarely talked about the Palestinian children torn to pieces, or the hundreds of thousands of people without water or food. He talks about [Palestinians] as if they’re victims of an earthquake or natural disaster, without tying them to the actions of the Israeli government with his support and backing.”

When I have made the point that Biden is likely the most anti-Palestinian person to occupy the Oval Office in recent history, many are quick to ask how different Trump’s handling of the current moment would be. Would he be any less supportive of Israel? Probably not, though that doesn’t exactly reflect well on Biden. Trump was callous toward all sorts of people, and Palestinians were not excluded from this. What sets Biden’s particular animus against Palestinians apart is that he was supposed to be different. The so-called “empath in chief” was supposed to be the polar opposite of Trump, yet he seems capable of showing empathy toward all people except Palestinians and precisely at a time of their greatest pain and suffering.