Biden isn’t going to Israel to oppose authoritarianism. He’s going to showcase America’s support for it, not only in Israel but across the region.

By Peter Beinart, The Beinart Notebook

We’ve learned some hard truths recently. One of them is about Joe Biden: He’s not up to this moment. It’s now painfully clear that defending voting rights, women’s freedom, and the species itself requires abolishing the filibuster and reforming the Supreme Court. Biden needs to rally Americans to the cause of saving our democracy by democratizing our government. He’s not doing that. He’s too wedded to old assumptions about how American politics should work. These assumptions enable the very authoritarianism he claims to oppose.

sign that reads end the apartheid free Palestine

It’s similar in foreign policy. Biden talks a good game about democracy and human rights. He’s pledged to “push back on authoritarianism” around the world. And when the authoritarians are America’s great power foes, Russia and China, he does just that. But in the Middle East, Biden isn’t pushing back against authoritarianism; he’s funding, arming and emboldening it. The trip he’s taking this week to Israel and Saudi Arabia would make Donald Trump proud.

But first, a world about this Friday’s Zoom call. Our guest will be New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie, who has been doing a remarkable job of using American history to explain why American democracy is in danger, and how Americans should respond. As usual, subscribers will get the Zoom link on Wednesday and the video the following week. Join us.

Back to Biden’s trip to the Middle East. It will start in Israel, which is a liberal democracy for Jews and something closer to a tyranny for most Palestinians. Roughly seven million Palestinians live under Israeli control. (Several million more live as refugees in neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria because Israel expelled them or their descendants and won’t let them return.) Of the seven million Palestinians under Israeli control, three million live in the West Bank, where they are permanently barred from citizenship and the right to vote in Israeli elections, even though those elections produce governments that arrest them, confiscate their land, demolish their homes, and impede their travel.

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