Who saw this coming?
President Joe Biden’s response to the Israel-Palestine conflict has garnered more support from Republicans, in contrast to the criticism former President Donald Trump received from top GOP lawmakers and Israeli officials for his initial reaction.
According to Newsweek, in early October, violent fighters led the deadliest Palestinian militant attack on Israel in history. In response, Israel launched its most extensive airstrikes on Gaza, resulting in over 1,300 casualties in Israel and over 2,300 in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country was “at war” and imposed severe restrictions on supplies to Gaza. Israel also called up 360,000 army reservists, preparing for a possible ground offensive, although its launch was delayed.
Israel’s situation has increasingly divided Republicans and Democrats in recent years, with progressive Democrats voicing concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Biden himself had disagreements with Netanyahu’s government.
As the conflict unfolded, all eyes were on President Biden to see how he would respond to this critical crisis facing a key U.S. ally. He firmly expressed unconditional support for Israel despite some progressive Democrats’ concerns about Palestinian treatment. This stance earned him praise from both Republicans and Democrats, along with gratitude from Israeli officials.
In contrast, Trump’s initial response faced substantial backlash. He engaged in old disputes with Netanyahu, referred to Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, as a “jerk,” and made questionable remarks about Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant group. Senator Lindsey Graham commended Biden’s response to the conflict, though he acknowledged some positive aspects of Trump’s administration policies.
Trump’s former United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, who is vying for the GOP’s 2024 nomination, strongly criticized his remarks, emphasizing the need to support a leader in times of crisis. Several other Republicans voiced their concerns about Trump’s statements.
Polling data released by ABC News and Ipsos showed a small but noteworthy positive response to Biden’s handling of the Israel-Palestine conflict among Republican voters, in contrast to his generally low approval ratings on other issues. This support appears to align with a shift in Biden’s stance to distance himself from the far Left within his party on the Israel issue.
While it remains to be seen whether Biden’s support for Israel can bridge the political divide in the U.S., his unwavering backing for Israel during this critical time has garnered support from various quarters, including some Republicans who had been critical of his foreign policy efforts with Iran and the Afghanistan withdrawal.