In a move that was meant to be as quiet as possible, Joe Biden has reinstated an Obama-era rule that cut scientific and technological funding in any area past the 1949 armistice line, a.k.a. the Green Line. Yes, the same government that has defended funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Virology Laboratory under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party has drawn the line at Jews who live in their ancestral homeland.
This is more than Judea and Samaria, however. This includes East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. An official from the State Department told Kan News, who broke the story, “This directive simply reflects the position of the United States over the years, which has been reaffirmed by this administration, according to which the status of the geographical areas that were under the Israeli administration after June 5, 1967, is a matter that requires a determination of final status.”
The language of the directive is the most concerning. Israel, knowing how the European Union acts, routinely avoids including Judea and Samaria when signing contracts with foreign nations. That said, there is every indication that this will not be devastating to the Israeli economy or research sector. The issue is not the directive itself, but the reversal of historical headway made by former President Trump in recognizing universal truths regarding the status of Israel.
As former Ambassador David Friedman said when Trump reversed the Obama directives, “We are righting an old wrong. And strengthening yet again the unbreakable bond between our two countries,” and “We are depoliticizing a process that should never have been political in the first place.” Friedman was exactly right. Given the history of the failures of the “land for peace” strategy that was used by Israel and the United States for years regarding the Palestinian Authority, there is no chance that Israel will dismantle the homes of nearly a quarter million Israelis and expel them from Judea and Samaria.
Yet, look at the language given by the Biden administration. They do not discuss merely the settlements that are the object of endless rebuke, but of all territory captured during the Six-Day War. This includes the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, both of which were annexed by Israel over 40 years ago. Trump himself officially recognized the legality of Israel annexing the Golan Heights. Until now, there was no indication that Biden was set to reverse that recognition, but that is no longer true.
J Street, the foremost anti-Israel group in American politics, applauded the decision. “J Street strongly welcomes the Biden administration’s decision to restore a longstanding bipartisan geographic restriction on American funding for US-Israel scientific cooperation projects, preventing US taxpayer dollars from supporting research conducted in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. All those who support a two-state solution to secure Israel’s democratic future must do everything possible to uphold the distinction between the State of Israel, and settlements in occupied territory beyond the Green Line,” they said in a statement. General rule of thumb regarding Israel: If it makes J Street happy, it’s probably bad for Israeli security and prosperity.
Pro-Israel Members of Congress, however, are outraged at this decision. Senator Ted Cruz, arguably the staunchest ally to Israel in the US Senate, issued a statement, as well. “Joe Biden and Biden administration officials are pathologically obsessed with undermining Israel,” he wrote. “Since day one of their administration, they have launched campaigns against our Israeli allies that are granular, whole of government, and done in secret.
Cruz continues, “This new boycott of Israeli Jews is yet another example. The State Department is telling the entire US government not to cooperate with Jews in Judea and Samaria. And of course, it was sent to Congress in secret, and only revealed because reporters found out.” The Biden administration defends funding scientific research in Wuhan with the Chinese Communist Party, but they’re discriminating against and banning cooperation with Jews based on where they live. I will do everything possible to reverse this decision and prohibit such anti-Semitic discrimination by the US government in the future.”
Considering the Executive Branch has enormous power regarding foreign policy, it is unclear what Cruz can do from the Senate. So, it is more likely that this will be another in a long list of items that will ping-pong back and forth depending on which political party controls the Presidency. However, it is an act of moral cowardice on Biden’s part to go along with the lie that Israel is somehow “occupying” this land and must therefore be punished. It is caving to BDS talking points, not an actual step towards peace in the region. Chalk this up to another of Biden’s many foreign policy blunders.
Moshe Hill is a political columnist and Senior Fellow at Amariah, an America First Zionist organization. Moshe has a weekly column in the Queens Jewish Link, and has been published in Daily Wire, CNS News, and other outlets. You can follow Moshe on his blog www.aHillwithaView.com, facebook.com/aHillwithaView, and twitter.com/HillWithView. A Hill With a View is now on YouTube! Subscribe today to get the latest content. Just search “A Hill with a View” to get started. Get A Hill with a View directly to your inbox! Text HILLVIEW to 22828 to sign up to the newsletter.