Shopping list

Biden’s visit to the Middle East and Israel’s new shopping list

US President Joe Biden (left) with Israeli acting Prime Minister Yair Lapid. (Photo: via Biden’s Twitter page)

By Jamal Kanj

President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle culminates months of diplomatic and military meetings between US and Israeli officials preparing Israel’s “shopping list” for Biden’s trip.

At the same time, the administration has sent several emissaries to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to quietly negotiate the political price Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MbS) is willing to pay to exonerate him from Biden’s list of “outcasts”.

After insisting he would not meet with MbS, Biden relented once he secured a gathering of local leaders to sign an Israeli custom design plan, “Regional Defense System, RDS.” Besides the irony of including Israel, the country that brought the sin of nuclear power to the region, to oppose nuclear expansion in the Middle East, the misnomer RDS is just one subtle catalyst for integrating Israel into the region under the guise of a hyperbolic strategy Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Biden’s security adviser, Jake Sullivan, reiterated this on July 12 when he explained that one of the main purposes of the president’s visit was “to deepen Israel’s integration in the region.” . In fact, Biden indicated earlier that the Israeli factor was one of the reasons he would meet MbS.

It was not the American economy, nor the 80-year strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia, nor mutual interest that brought President Biden to Saudi Arabia. But this is how Biden can overcome Trump’s servitude to the Israel lobby. A foreign lobby with an irrational hold on American politicians, and thus the obsession of American political leaders, especially presidential candidates, with appeasing Israelis first and delivering Israel before the country.

Then President Donald Trump and the highest-level Israeli insider in the White House, Jared Kushner, deliberately abandoned key pillars of the US Constitution such as democratic values, human rights and self-determination for deliver them to Israel. The United States agreed to bail out a military dictatorship, denied the people of Western Sahara the right to determine their future, agreed to sell the most sophisticated fighters to an authoritarian Arab dictator, and covered up the murder of a journalist and of a US resident, all as a reward for establishing a relationship with Israel.

Israel thrives on conflict; this is how he builds the alliance; that’s how he gets acceptance. This explains why Israel opposes all peaceful efforts to check Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

When in 2015 President Barack Obama secured an agreement to prevent Iran from developing nuclear energy, the Israeli Prime Minister, and for the first time in American history, a foreign leader was offered a national platform to challenge the leadership of the president.

Israel’s Amen Corner in Congress has called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the US Congress directly to ask US lawmakers to reject a deal brokered by their own president. In a rare event in Washington, even the presidential party’s longest-serving senator, Charles Schumer, backed a call by a foreign country leader to defeat his party leader and president.

Schumer, boasts, albeit wrongly, that his name is derived from a Hebrew word, shomer meaning “guard”. He believes God gave him the role of protecting Israel’s interests in the US Senate. When in fact his name comes from a North German word meaning good for nothing, wanderer. But for the true meaning of his name, Schumer nearly helped a foreign leader defeat an American president, of his own party, in the US Congress.

One has to ask, what do obsequious politicians get in exchange for unprecedented American political servitude to a foreign entity?

At the start of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian officials expressed interest in acquiring the Israeli-American Iron Dome missile defense system, Israel blocked the request so as not to anger Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In February 2022, the United States asked non-voting allies, such as Israel, to approve a Security Council (SC) resolution condemning Russia. While more than 50 countries signed on, Israel refused to co-sponsor the US-backed resolution. Then Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid explained Israel’s refusal not to undermine “our mechanism of cooperation with them (the Russians). . .” in Syria.

In May 2022, Israel rejected a US request to allow Germany to supply Ukraine with German-made anti-tank missiles under Israeli license. Israel’s excuse, Spike anti-tank missiles – technology most likely funded by US taxpayers – could harm Russian soldiers and damage regional security with Russia.

“Only permanent interest”, Israel perfected the rule of Nicolas Machiavelli. In addition to signing Israel’s largest package of financial aid – more than $4 billion ahead of its trip, Israel’s shopping list includes handing over Saudi Arabia, at least in small steps, like RDS, towards a possible normalization.

This week, Israel’s prime minister called for open relations with Saudi Arabia to change “our children’s history”. It was at the same time that the Israeli government approved to move, changing history, for one of the oldest Palestinian children from their homes in Masafer Yatta and to make room for another Jewish-only settlement.

Israel is not even willing to give Biden a simple fig leave before he meets the Arab royal family. He continues to block Biden’s efforts to open the US consulate in occupied East Jerusalem. This time, using the same tired trick, asking the United States to wait until after the election. It should be noted that after the last elections, Israel rejected the same request, saying it could bring down the elected government.

Israel seeks what it can get for itself, even if that means creating perpetual conflict. History has shown that Israel has nothing to offer the United States, a shomer, a wanderer, a bum milking its American welfare cow.

– Jamal Kanj ( is the author of “Children of Catastrophe”, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America, and other books. He writes frequently on Arab world issues for various national and international commentaries. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle