Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s extremist national security minister who’s helped introduce far-right ideals into Israel’s government, told The Wall Street Journal that he believes Joe Biden has been too kind to Gazans and thinks Donald Trump would serve Israel better in its war on Hamas.
“Instead of giving us his full backing, Biden is busy with giving humanitarian aid and fuel (to Gaza), which goes to Hamas,” Ben-Gvir said. “If Trump was in power, the U.S. conduct would be completely different.”
Given that Biden’s administration has already been quite permissive of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in response to Hamas' attack on Oct. 7, I take that to mean Israel’s minister of national security believes a Trump administration would enable Israel to carry out even more destructive measures in the region. And with significantly less concern about Gazans' human rights.
Ben-Gvir's remark is an important reminder for American voters and officials who’ve previously suggested that there’s little or no difference between the way the Biden administration is managing the war and the way a Trump administration might. And I say this as someone who’s been critical of the United States for its involvement in the war and someone who’s criticized refusals to call for a cease-fire.
Some Americans may not be able to conceive a difference between the two candidates' approaches, but it's revealing that Ben-Gvir does. It’s really not hard to see why. As president, Trump empowered far-right forces in Israel in ways that did not seem designed to achieve lasting peace in the region — like acknowledging Israeli settlements in the West Bank. And when Trump was elected, he was seen as an ally of Israel’s far-right movement.
Even as I’ve criticized the Biden administration, the idea that one president or his Cabinet bears sole responsibility for the United States’ entrenchment in this quagmire — a conflict that’s spanned decades — has always seemed dubious to me. I'm not alone in that regard.
I’m suspicious of the idea that simply replacing Biden would bring about the swift resolution I and others want. But I also agree with Itamar Ben-Gvir on one thing: Trump would almost certainly permit much more carnage.
I just happen to think that’s something Americans should want to avoid at all costs.