Biden endorses Israel’s assault on Rafah

On Monday, Israel launched its long-planned assault on Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, issuing orders for the population to evacuate and initiating an intense bombardment of the city.

More than 1.2 million refugees, over 600,000 of whom are children, are currently sheltering in Rafah, under squalid conditions, without adequate food, water, hygiene or medicine. The vast majority of these refugees have been displaced multiple times.

Israel bombed residential homes throughout Gaza Monday, leaving dozens dead—mostly women and children—and dozens more wounded and buried under the rubble. On Tuesday, Israel seized, and blocked, the Rafah border crossing, shutting a vital lifeline of food for the starving population of Gaza.

President Joe Biden speaks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, May 7, 2024 in Washington. Statue of Freedom stands behind. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

In a speech on Tuesday, President Joe Biden effectively endorsed Israel’s onslaught on the city, cynically seeking to exploit the Holocaust to justify US support for the Israeli state’s genocide of the Palestinians.

In his remarks, Biden declared:

This ancient hatred of Jews didn’t begin with the Holocaust... This hatred continues to lie deep in the hearts of too many people… That hatred was brought to life on October 7, 2023.

Biden’s attempt to equate the Holocaust, the industrial extermination of over six million Jews by Nazi Germany, the most powerful capitalist state in Europe, with the events of October 7 is a complete falsification of history.

The only parallel between the Holocaust and the past six months is the way in which the far-right Zionist regime is echoing the crimes perpetrated by German fascism against the Jewish people—this time against the Palestinians of Gaza.

The Palestinians had no responsibility for the Holocaust whatsoever. And the events of October 7, an uprising by a captive, imprisoned and dispossessed people, have far more in common with the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazi occupation.

In his remarks, Biden did not make a single reference to the suffering and death inflicted upon the people of Gaza, or to the 75 years of dispossession and Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, which have included numerous acts of mass murder from 1948 on by the Israeli state.

Biden’s speech mirrored, in all essentials, remarks given on Friday by Benjamin Netanyahu at a Holocaust commemoration ceremony, in which the far-right Israeli prime minister pledged to assault Rafah and subjugate all of Gaza as the only means to “guarantee our existence and our future.”

In his remarks Tuesday, Biden reaffirmed his administration’s total support for the Israeli genocide in Gaza, declaring, “My commitment to... the security of Israel, and its right to exist as an independent Jewish state is ironclad, even when we disagree.”

In fact, Biden’s claim to “disagree” with the invasion of Rafah is a lie. By publicly declaring that there will be no consequences for whatever the Israeli regime does, the White House is effectively giving a blank check to massacre the population of Gaza.

Biden’s invocation of the Holocaust was likewise aimed at legitimizing his administration’s crackdown on anti-genocide protests, which has seen the arrest of hundreds of Jewish people protesting the Gaza genocide. Biden declared:

We’ve seen a ferocious surge of antisemitism in America and around the world. Vicious propaganda on social media. Jews are forced to hide their kippahs under baseball hats, to tuck their Jewish stars into their shirts. On college campuses, Jewish students are blocked, harassed, and attacked while walking into class. Antisemitic posters and slogans calling for the annihilation of Israel, the world’s only Jewish state. Too many people denying, downplaying, rationalizing, and ignoring the horrors of the Holocaust and October 7.

All of this, again, is a complete absurdity. The mass demonstrations throughout the United States have featured widespread participation by Jewish people. Many have included prominent displays of Jewish religious worship with the fraternal participation of Muslims, Christians and atheists.

The claim that Biden’s defense of the Gaza genocide and his crackdown on anti-war protests are motivated by opposition to antisemitism is a lie. In the US, Biden is openly allied with notorious antisemites such as Majorie Taylor Greene and the leaders of the January 6 insurrection in backing police attacks on anti-war protesters. In Ukraine, Biden is funding and arming the fascistic Zelensky regime, whose national hero is the Holocaust collaborator Stepan Bandera.

Those really threatened by violence are the protesters, hundreds of whom have been arrested, beaten, tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets in the course of Biden’s police crackdown. Over the weekend, New York City Mayor Eric Adams threatened to “terminate” protests against the Gaza genocide, while Senator Tom Cotton referred to protests as “little Gazas,” implying that the police should treat protesters like Gazans are treated by Israel.

In slandering opposition to genocide as antisemitism, Biden is repeating the Zionist lie that equates Jewish identity with support for Israel. According to this right-wing narrative, American Jews are defined by their religion, which in turn is conflated with the Israeli state.

The Zionist state is, and always has been, an instrument of imperialism. Historically, Zionism emerged as a reactionary ideology based on the false claim that antisemitism was an inevitable and permanent feature of society that could be combated only through the creation of a Jewish ethno-nationalist state.

It was and remains an ideology based on bitter hostility toward the socialist movement and its anti-capitalist and internationalist program, which historically enjoyed powerful support among the Jewish masses. In its ideological and historical origins, Zionism mirrors key features of fascism and antisemitism itself, which, in the modern period, arose above all as a reaction against the socialist working class movement.

Biden’s efforts to justify the predatory interests of US imperialism by invoking the Holocaust are rightly seen by millions of people around the world as a transparent fraud. The real content of Biden speech is an open endorsement, by the world’s leading imperialist power, of genocide as an instrument of state policy, exposing the intention of imperialism to repeat the greatest crimes of the 20th century.