Nearly three quarters of Jewish Americans voted for Democratic Joe Biden, disappointing and angering Israel’s hardline Benjamin Netanyahu government.
US President Donald Trump has done his best to support Israel whether it was moving Washington’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or persuading Gulf countries like the UAE and Bahrain to recognise Israel.
But it seems that the pro-Israeli policies have not convinced Jewish Americans, most of whom traditionally vote democrat.
The majority of Jewish Americans are pro-Israel, but most of them also feel “less connected” to Israel in an increasing trend, recent polls have found.
At least 70 percent of Jewish Americans backed Democratic candidate Joe Biden over Trump, infuriating Israel’s hardline Benjamin Netanyahu government.
“Feels a big disappointment that 72% of the American Jews do not have gratitude and chose Joe Biden,” wrote Ayoob Kara, Israel’s minister of communications, on Twitter.
“I was expecting they will support President Trump who is the best American president the State of Israel has had,” continued Kara, a Druze-origin politician.
He even described the vote for Biden as a “betrayal”.
In practice, a Biden presidency could raise several problems for Israel.
When vice president to Barack Obama, Biden was a primary force in engineering the Iran nuclear deal, a landmark international achievement. This was back in 2016. Biden has opposed the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which resulted in escalated tensions between Israel and Iran, and across the Middle East.
Israel has already threatened both Biden and Iran in the event of any return to the deal.
“If Biden stays with that policy, there will, in the end, be a violent confrontation between Israel and Iran,” said Tzachi Hanegbi, the settlements minister, on Wednesday night, when the vote count was increasingly moving in favour of the Democrat.
In one sense, a Biden presidency might be more problematic for Netanyahu, who has been facing increasing opposition across the country due to hardline policies and corruption scandals, than Israel itself.
Biden does not support Trump’s Deal of the Century, which belittles the existence of the Palestinians, justifying Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
Jewish Democrats vs. Trump
Despite Republican Trump’s strong support for hardline Zionist policies, American Jews have seen no need to change their traditionally Democratic stances.
In terms of political representation, the number of Jewish Democrats are more than Republican Jews by far, as 32 of 34 Jewish members of Congress are Democrats.
The Senate’s Democratic minority leader, Chuck Schumer, who warned Israel not to annex the last remaining Palestinian lands, is himself Jewish.
One of the longest-serving liberal senators, Bernie Sanders, who is proud of his Jewish origins, also came close to being nominated as Democratic presidential candidate against Trump in both 2016 and 2020.
Another interesting fact concerning Jewish Democrats is that they have appeared to support a Catholic, Biden, over Trump, whose son-in-law Jared Kushner is Jewish and is a vocal supporter of Israel. Trump’s daughter, Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, also converted to Judaism from Christianity.
If Biden is elected, he would only be the second Catholic president in US history after John F. Kennedy.