A blinking red light for Israel in American politics

A blinking red light for Israel in American politics

Politico reports:

In notably blunt terms Thursday, top U.S. officials made a series of warnings to the Israeli government that they were nearly out of patience with its conduct of the war in Gaza.

President Joe Biden and his top deputies said they would consider changing their policy towards Israel unless more consideration was given towards the humanitarian crisis its military was producing. A top Biden ally in the Senate argued that aid could be conditioned should Israel follow through on its threat to invade Rafah. Even former President Donald Trump went public with his belief that Israel was losing the PR battle and needed to end the conflict soon.

It was a screaming neon sign for Israel with respect to American politics — one that made clear just how unnerved policymakers in the U.S. have been by an Israeli strike that killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers, including an American. And it marked a major shift in approach towards an ally with whom U.S. officials have customarily tried to be in lockstep.

That shift has come amid rising internal frustrations among White House officials over the conduct of the war and continued debate among the president’s inner circle over the best way to handle the deteriorating relations with the Israeli government, especially since Monday’s attack.

A Democratic official who has been in touch with White House aides since the strike said there has been increased, private discussions among mid-level and lower-level staff about how the U.S. needs to express its — and Biden’s — anger with the targeting of humanitarian aid workers.

A House Democrat who didn’t want to run afoul of the White House added that Biden is “feeling a ton of pressure from outside of his inner circle. Most of us are fed up, and I think the bottom is going to fall out on support for additional Israel security funding, at least in the Democratic caucus.”

The change in posture has been swift inside the White House. Just 24 hours ago, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby had told reporters that the U.S. government wanted to wait to see the outcome of Israel’s review of the deadly strike. By Thursday, Kirby said the U.S. would only give Israel “hours and days” to outline policy shifts and that, absent real changes, “there’ll have to be changes from our side.”

Hours later, Israel opened the Erez crossing for the first time since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which will allow more humanitarian assistance to enter Gaza. [Continue reading…]

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