Biden’s Weakness on Israel: Obama 2.0?
Analysis. America’s current administration is on shaky ground in the Middle East, according to journalist Bill Koenig, publisher of Koenig – World Watch Daily. Koenig was interviewed by IFA President and CEO Dave Kubal at IFA’s Policy & Prayer Summit, in late October.
Said Koenig at the summit:
Unfortunately, after the Afghan debacle, no one really took [Joe Biden] seriously. This is Obama 2.0. And what happened when Obama was in office — the enemies didn’t fear him, and our allies didn’t trust him; and that’s exactly what’s happening right now. Our allies in the Middle East are totally confused.
Within days of Joe Biden’s first trip to the region, in July 2022, various moves in the Middle East demonstrated America’s weak position, according to Koenig:
You know, [Biden] went … to Israel, the Palestinians, and ended [meeting with] the Saudis and oil-producing members in the Middle East to convince them to provide more oil, just like he had done with Russia and Saudi Arabia before the Ukraine invasion. And his plan is a debacle. His trip to Israel was not well received. He told the Israeli press they couldn’t join him going to see the Palestinians.
The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, also publicly turned from the current U.S. administration. Koenig said Abbas met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, telling him they were deemphasizing the U.S. and elevating Russia in negotiations with Israel:
That says a lot. Literally within 48 hours [of Biden’s trip] … Egypt and the Emirates reopened their embassies in Tehran, and then the next day, to have Putin and [Turkish President] Erdogan there meeting with [Iranian Supreme Leader] Khamenei, and also the president of Iran [Ebrahim Raisi], speaks volumes. … No, this was meant to send a message. And did we get less oil, or do we get more oil? No, we’ve got less oil.
Iran is moving to become an even bigger player in the region. Koenig had something to say about Iran and militant group Hezbollah:
Iran is the funder of Hezbollah. And they have had a significant role in Syria and Lebanon, and with Hezbollah. And Hezbollah is really the political power within Lebanon.
Various peace deals intended to disarm Hezbollah have backfired. Said Koenig:
There’s now 150,000 rockets, in southern Lebanon, in southern Syria, just off the Israeli border. The concern now is there’s 15,000 missiles from Iran.
According to Koenig, Iran has improved its weapons-guidance system and is also deploying weapons from Yemen. Iran’s regional aggressiveness makes reopening the Iran treaty, as the Biden administration wants to do, problematic. Said Koenig:
We’re talking about another farce of the reestablishment of the nuclear deal. Iran would receive $250 billion worth of money that’s been sanctioned. … Trump would have never allowed them to continue missile rocket manufacturing. He would have stopped that as part of the deal. But [the Biden administration] have allowed that and even created a situation where [Iran] can become fully nuclear by 2027.
A nuclear Iran and an unreliable U.S. put Israel on the spot. Said Koenig:
Israel’s got a red line. We don’t know where it is yet. But a friend of mine … a commander, [who] goes in and takes the terrorists out of neighborhoods after they kill Israelis, told me he was in a briefing recently with an Israeli general, and one of the questions was, “What are we going to do with Iran?” … But they’re ready; they’ve got God on their side. No doubt. They’ve got weapons that no one even knows. They’re prepared. They were prepared … in 2008; Obama caught wind of it. He called Netanyahu and promised him he would go into harsh negotiations with Iran. So … [Israel] backed off, and we’re in a much more dangerous neighborhood today.
President Trump, on the other hand, was one of Israel’s strongest allies, according to Koenig:
And you know, I say this anytime I speak in front of an audience: Trump did more for Israel than all [other] presidents combined. I mean, not even close. … We heard all our presidents promise to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump did it, despite everybody in his administration saying, “Don’t do it, it’s going to be a huge mistake.” It wasn’t. And Israel’s … sovereign right over the Golan Heights, which is key to their defense … getting out of the Iran nuclear deal … Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo saying the settlement communities in Judea and Samaria are not illegal, according to San Remo agreement of 1920. And then, standing up for Israel; the International Criminal Courts; stopping the funding of money that was going to the Palestinians to pay terrorists and their families when the suicide bombing happened; closing the Palestinian embassy here in D.C.; and on and on, backing off the funding to … an educational incitement system the UN funds that the Palestinians used to incite hate against Israel.
As Koenig noted, however, many of Trump’s actions have been undone by the Biden administration: This administration is continuing the failed policies of Obama.
The spiritual implications for American policy toward Israel are significant. Said Koenig:
There’s blessing and curse: Those that bless Israel will be blessed, those [who] will not [will] be cursed. You want to know what’s going to happen in America? Watch what’s going on in our relationship with Israel. You want to worry about weather coming to our country — hurricanes and whatever. Worry about what our relationship is doing. Our country’s relationship with Israel.
One worry, according to Koenig, was the Biden administration’s pressure on Israel’s interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid, leading the Israeli to indicate in September at the U.N. a willingness to consider the two-state solution.
Said Koenig: But the good news is … it’s bringing the land back as the central point.
Netanyahu won the recent election when his party gained a majority of seats in the Knesset, perhaps because he stated he didn’t want the U.S. government dictating who would be in his government’s coalition.
Kubal and Koenig ran through a list of recent headlines: “Iran inks deal to supply Russia with ballistic missiles, more drones”; “Ukraine to formally ask Israel for air defense assistance”; “Iran drone assault”; “Former Russian President warns Israel against arm deliveries to Ukraine”; “Ukraine officially asks Israel for Iron Dome and other defense technologies.”
Of this, Koenig said:
It’s like an alternative universe. … Is this really happening? This is … what we watch as a watchman … for the State of Israel. This is what’s happening. … It’s accelerating. And as watchmen, we do everything we can to bring these things up. And when you talk about Iran and Turkey and Russia aligning like this, it gives you an idea of how serious this is. I’ve been at this a long time — almost 26 years. I’ve never seen so much happening so quick that’s biblically and prophetically relevant. But we can continue to pray — continue to pray for wisdom in our leadership — that they will listen.
As a watchman, Koenig has been involved with Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast meetings since 2017. These events were co-founded by organizational consultant Albert Veksler, now director of the organization. On the day Koenig addressed the summit, he was scheduled to fly to Brazil to participate in a prayer breakfast.
Koenig closed the session with this prayer:
We are so blessed, Lord, to fully understand the biblical significance of the State of Israel, the city of Jerusalem, where our King Jesus will come back and reign for a thousand years.
Lord, so few people understand this. But we are so blessed. … We just pray there’ll be new opportunities to speak to leaders … because You have shown that those [who] stand with Israel — [who] bless Israel — You will bless them. … And You’ve taken down governments, You’ve taken down leaders [who] have attempted to divide Your covenant land. So, Lord, the Scriptures speak of the Abrahamic covenant being an everlasting covenant. It’s still in place; nothing’s changed. You speak in Joel 3:2 that You will judge those who part Your land. …
Zechariah 12:3 speaks of Jerusalem becoming a burdensome stone, and anybody that attempts to move it will be injured. So Lord, with all You have shown us in the Scriptures, we continue to pray for the U.S. administration. … We pray this government will fully understand the biblical significance of the land of Israel, and not pressure them. Lord, we also pray for the new leader of Israel. … May he have a power — an anointed power — we have never seen before in the Israeli prime minister. … We continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and we long for the return of our Messiah Yeshua — Jesus Christ. … In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
How are you praying for Israel? Share your prayers below.
New York City–based Joyce Swingle is an intercessor and a contributing writer for IFA. With her husband, Rich, also a contributing writer for IFA, Joyce shares the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world through theater, speaking, writing, and film. Prior to going into full-time ministry, Joyce worked for about 20 major magazines and now works in pastoral ministry and Christian counseling. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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