The latest polls show Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump in battleground states, but Florida is a toss-up. And as the fight for its 29 electoral votes heats up, there’s a lot of emphasis on Jewish voters. Florida Jews are older and more conservative than the national average, and Republicans have said if they can get 30-35 percent of the Jewish vote they can win the state. Democrats seem to believe this too; so they are determined to show that they won’t be out-Israel’d by the Republicans.
Now Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Netanyahu cheerleader (literally), who represents Miami Dade, has stepped up for Biden by publishing an op-ed in The Miami Herald saying that Trump is endangering Israel by agreeing to give F-35 fighter jets to the UAE.
DWS’s op-ed piece– “Trump puts Israel’s security in danger with deal to sell fighter jets to United Arab Emirates” — shows that Biden will do his best to run on Trump’s right on Israel, just as Bill Clinton ran to George H.W. Bush’s right on settlements the last time a Dem challenger knocked off a Republican incumbent, 1992.
Wasserman Schultz praises Trump’s Israel-UAE deal as “an important breakthrough,” as others in the party are also doing.
Then in a twist typical of Israel lobbyists, Wasserman Schultz accuses Trump of pushing Israeli annexation of the West Bank: “President Trump foolishly put [annexation] on the table earlier this year.” She can’t say a word against the rightwing Israeli leaders who have pushed these plans for years.
Wasserman Schultz again sides with Netanyahu saying that Trump “blindsided” Israel with the idea of giving the UAE F-35s, which will threaten Israel’s “aerial dominance in this dangerous region.”
The F-35 is our most sophisticated fighter aircraft, with unique stealth capabilities. It has only been approved for sale to the United States’ closest allies. Thanks to agreements reached by the Obama-Biden administration, Israel is acquiring 50 F-35s. The first of these arrived in Israel in 2016. President Obama and Vice President Biden made sure that Israel is the only air force in the Middle East to fly it, which guarantees Israel can retain its aerial dominance in this dangerous region.
That commitment is consistent with longstanding U.S. policy, as well as a legal obligation, to ensure that Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) over any competing military in the Middle East is maintained. If the United States sells F-35 aircraft to the UAE, Trump is dangerously eroding that edge.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly opposed this sale… He has denied allegations that he privately consented to these sales. In fact, press reports later revealed that Israel’s defense establishment was blindsided by this decision.
The article goes on and on about how Trump has exposed Israel to risk from those fickle dangerous neighbors. “Thousands” of Iranians go to the UAE. And the UAE has shown “scant regard for preventing civilian casualties” in Yemen. As if Israel has a good record here, and has no responsibility for the fact that the neighborhood is dangerous.
Wasserman Schultz piles on pro-Israel scorn for Trump. Israeli security experts say Trump “plays too fast and loose with the security of our closest regional ally.” He “seems clueless regarding the potential threat.”
Israel’s qualitative military edge is a precious asset, but it is fragile. It requires constant vigilance to maintain.
While Biden and Harris’s “commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable.”
This is, as the saying goes, politics. If Biden had cut the deal with the UAE it would have been the same, for F-35s. That’s what countries want when they normalize relations with Israel, bribes from the United States.
And Biden is actually to Trump’s left on Israeli annexation — against it– and on the Iran deal — he would restore it.
But Florida is heating up, and the Biden campaign is going to do anything it can to win it, including pandering to Jewish voters who are Trump-curious because of everything that Donald Trump has done for Israel.
Thanks to Michael Arria. The Times of Israel got this story first.