Ralph Reed’s red flag: Is Biden’s reelection driving US Mideast policy?

US President Joe Biden’s reelection worries are influencing his Middle East policies, potentially posing risks to Israel, according to American political consultant and lobbyist Ralph Reed.

“There’s an appearance that US foreign policy, and US policy toward Israel and the Middle East, is being influenced by domestic political consideration,” Reed said this week during an interview at the King David Hotel. He said this is both in the rhetoric that the Biden administration is using, such as calling Israel’s actions in Gaza “over the top,” or in its pressuring Israel to try to bring about a ceasefire for a hostage deal the country cannot accept. 

“It’s amazing how much of [Secretary of State Antony] Blinken’s time and energy is being devoted to this when it ought to be devoted to calling on other Arab states to tell Hamas to surrender and stop fighting,” Reed continued. “I think that even the appearance that political considerations with regard to [Biden’s] reelection are driving some of this is very concerning.”

Reed, the first executive director of the Christian Coalition and the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, was in Israel this week on a solidarity mission organized by the Israel Heritage Foundation. He toured the wreckage of southern Israel and met with top political officials.

Ralph Reed in Israel on Monday, February 12, 2024. (credit: MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN)

Who is Reed backing in the next election?

Trump has said that the Israel-Hamas conflict would have been prevented under his presidency. While Reed didn’t explicitly agree, he did suggest that Hamas exploited Biden’s support of Iran and his perceived weak foreign policies.

“I think it is difficult to disconnect a projection of strategic weakness on the part of the United States from bad actions being taken by bad actors, and that would be the case with [Russian President Vladmir] Putin going into Ukraine, Iranian-funded militias attacking US forces 160 times and firing missiles with impunity at US naval vessels,” and when it comes to Hamas’s murderous actions on October 7, Reed said.

“If every other sentence out of your mouth is, ‘We don’t want war with Iran,’ then don’t be surprised if they do whatever they want to do,” he continued. “Regardless of where you stand on Israel’s prosecution of the war in Gaza with Hamas, it is enormously destabilizing to the region – and not just to the region but to the entire world.”

Reed emphasized to the Post that Israel deserves unequivocal support in concluding its conflict with Hamas and addressing potential threats from Hezbollah in the North and unrest in the West Bank.

He said he was in the country representing the 2.7 million members of his Faith and Freedom Coalition and, more broadly, the 70 million to 80 million Evangelicals in the United States who support Israel.

“We want the government of Israel, and the people of Israel, to have the support they need to win this war,” Reed said, defining victory as defeating Hamas and destroying its infrastructure, demilitarizing Gaza and deradicalizing the local population.

Reed spoke to the Post a week after new data was published by Prof. Motti Inbari of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Dr. Kirill Bumin of Boston University showed that support for Israel among young Evangelicals under the age of 30 has plummeted by over 50% in just three years, posing a potential threat to American backing for the Jewish State.

Reed said he was not “overly concerned” about the data.

“If you go out and survey the American people today, by a fairly healthy majority, they’re supportive of Israel. It is not what it used to be, but they’re supportive.” However, he admitted if the survey were only of Americans ages 18 to 30, the results would skew much less pro-Israel.

“But for the younger Evangelicals, this is not a function of their Evangelicalism or their faith. It is a function of their youth,” Reed explained. “As they move through the course of their lives, graduate college, get married, and have children, they start to come our way.”

He said this is true not only when it comes to Israel but also on conservative issues, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, gender, etc.

“I don’t want to be overly optimistic, but I am as optimistic as I can be that as long as there is a large and vibrant Evangelical community in the United States, the United States is going to be pro-Israel,” Reed stressed. “I can tell you that the community I represent stands 100% behind Israel.”

Reed said, “Israel’s struggle is our struggle, and Israel’s enemies are America’s enemies.”

The war in Gaza is not a battle between Israel and Hamas, he added.

“This is a civilizational struggle between democracy and human rights on one side and barbarism and terrorism on the other. We have to prevail.” 

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