By Paul Blythe
Another excellent speech by President Joe Biden on Tuesday. Another speech worth sharing. Backed by Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, he rightly calls the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians "atrocities." But he doesn't bluster, metaphorically beat his chest or make threats. Instead, speaking with a mixture of sadness and quiet anger, he presents a stern, presidential resolve to help Israel defend itself by retaliating against Hamas.
We like that Biden keeps his focus on Hamas, not on the Palestinian people. As he points out:
"Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination. Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people.
"They use Palestinian civilians as human shields."
We like that he reminds us and Israel that, even in retaliation for atrocities such as these, we must act differently from Hamas. We must punish Hamas but without inflicting atrocities on innocent Palestinian civilians:
"I just got off the phone with — the third call with Prime Minister Netanyahu. And I told him if the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive, and overwhelming. "We also discussed how democracies like Israel and the United States are stronger and more secure when we act according to the rule of law. "Terrorists ... purposefully target civilians, kill them. We uphold the laws of war — the law of war. It matters. There’s a difference."
We like that he itemizes for Americans what actions he has directed the United States to take in assisting Israel, and that it appears he has hit all the bases that are discernable for now --
In the Mideast:
"We’re surging additional military assistance, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish Iron Dome. "We’re going to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens.... "I’ve directed my team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise the Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts, because as president I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world....
"The United States has also enhanced our military force posture in the region to strengthen our deterrence. "The Department of Defense has moved the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean and bolstered our fighter aircraft presence. And we stand ready to move in additional assets as needed.
With our allies:
"Yesterday, I also spoke with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and the UK to discuss the latest developments with our European allies and coordinate our united response."
And at home:
"My administration has consulted closely with Congress throughout this crisis. And when Congress returns, we’re going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners.... "... In cities across the United States of America, police departments have stepped up security around centers for — of Jewish life. "And the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are working closely with state and local law enforcement and Jewish community partners to identify and disrupt any domestic threat that could emerge in connection with these horrific attacks. "This is a moment for the United States to come together, to grieve with those who are mourning. "Let’s be real clear: There is no place for hate in America — not against Jews, not against Muslims, not against anybody. We reject — we reject — what we reject is terrorism. We condemn the indiscriminate evil, just as we’ve always done."
We like that he warns Iran, Hezbollah (and even Russia and China) without having to name them:
"Let me say again — to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t."
Finally, we like that he addresses this issue with a clear understanding of the history involved. Not only the kind of history that every American should know from textbooks:
"This is terrorism. "But sadly, for the Jewish people, it’s not new. "This attack has brought to the surface painful memories and the scars left by a millennia of antisemitism and genocide of the Jewish people."
But also personal history that he has learned during his many years of government and international experience: "You know, just over 50 years ago ... as a young senator, I visited Israel for the first time, as a newly elected senator.
"And I had a long, long trip — before meeting with Golda Meir in her office just before the Yom Kippur War. And I guess she could see the consternation on my face as she described what was being faced — they were facing. "We walked outside in that — that sort of hallway outside her office to have some photos. She looked at me and w- — all of a sudden and said, “Would you like to have a photograph?” And so, I got up and followed her out. "We were standing there silent, looking at the press. She could tell, I guess, I was concerned. She leaned over and whispered to me. She said, 'Don’t worry, Senator Biden. We have a secret weapon here in Israel' — my word, this is what she said — 'We have no place else to go.' We have no place else to go.” "For 75 years, Israel has stood as the ultimate guarantor of security of Jewish people around the world so that the atrocities of the past could never happen again. "And let there be no doubt: The United States has Israel’s back."
These excerpts were taken from "Remarks from President Biden on the Terrorist Attacks in Israel," Oct. 10, 2023, whitehouse.gov. Click here to read the entire speech.
To read Biden's Sept. 29 farewell tribute to Gen. Mark Milley as chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, see "How a real president behaves: Biden’s other excellent speech as Trump, Republicans unravel."
To read Biden’s Sept. 28 speech announcing the building of a library in Sen. John McCain’s name at Arizona State University and warning about the danger of the MAGA movement., see “President Biden speaks on the danger of MAGA extremism.”
For more on the dangers of right-wing extremism, see "McCarthy ouster, candidates' debate expose 1 truth: GOP incapable of governing"