Biden’s Israel arms embargo will go down as one of the worst American betrayals

After Hamas’ savage attack on Israel on Oct. 7, Biden declared, “The United States stands with Israel. We will not ever fail to have their back.”

He immediately supplied Israel with weapons and visited the Jewish state.

But the White House determined that to win reelection the president needed to cater to pro-Hamas, anti-Israel, anti-American Arab-Americans in Michigan and to young Americans with similar views.

The Biden administration then pressed for a Palestinian state, which is anathema to Israelis post-Oct. 7.

It increasingly criticized Israel over Gaza, opposed letting it finish off Hamas’ last battalions in Rafah and pressed for a lasting cease-fire even without Hamas’ release of hostages.

Biden’s arms embargo against Israel doubles down on this approach.

Hamas’ survival would be a huge victory for it and its Iranian and Qatari backers, and a big defeat for Israel and its American partner, with Israeli deterrence and security further undermined.

It also would condemn both Palestinian and Israeli civilians to indefinite suffering and unending cycles of conflict.

Politically, this approach has also proved lousy.

If Biden had backed letting Israel destroy Hamas months ago, perhaps the recent antisemitic, anti-Israel, anti-American university encampments might not have sprung up.

Those vile, raucous protests have hurt Biden politically — and his embargo announcement will only further embolden protesters, who’ll see it as a victory.

By now, the White House could have brokered a Saudi-Israel normalization deal, which would have been a boon to Biden’s reelection.

As it is, he now has the lowest approval rating of any president in 75 years at this point in his presidency.

In contrast, Democratic Sen. John Fetterman, in the swing state of Pennsylvania, has unequivocally supported Israel — and has seen his popularity rise.

Policy-wise, Biden’s pressure on Israel has been a disaster.

By delaying Rafah, it has made Saudi-Israel normalization nearly impossible this year, given the US electoral calendar and Saudi opposition to it until Gaza is relatively quiet.

It has hardened Hamas’ terms for release of the hostages and a cease-fire deal.

The new arms embargo against Israel, which involves precision-guided munitions (PGMs), also makes it more likely Israeli air strikes will cause more collateral damage among Arabs.

Coupled with Biden’s inexplicable recent unfreezing of billions in Iranian assets, the weapons ban reveals significant daylight between America and Israel, emboldening not just Hamas but also Hezbollah and Iran, making a major Middle East war far more likely — precisely what the Biden team sought to avoid.

Biden’s warnings and deployment of naval assets to the areas after Oct. 7 might have helped convince Hezbollah not to launch its own devastating assault.

And it was with the assistance of US jets that Israel blunted Iran’s unprecedented barrage of over 300 drones and missiles.

But Iran now will believe it no longer has to fear America siding with and coming to Israel’s aid.

Israel has used the PGMs Biden’s withholding to destroy Hezbollah infrastructure and kill Hezbollah and Iranian fighters, which has helped deter Tehran and Hezbollah from unleashing even greater destruction.

Instead of banning them, the United States should pre-position a large amount of these weapons in Israel, precisely because knowing that Israel has ready access to a stockpile of PGMs would help deter Hezbollah and Iran from provoking a war.

Moreover, this embargo shatters US credibility with friends and foes.

If the United States can withhold weapons from Israel, one of its closest partners and to whose security the president has repeatedly made an “ironclad” commitment — and do so, no less, while it fights a defensive war against an adversary bent on its destruction — then which ally won’t it betray?

Meanwhile, adversaries such as China will grow more confident they can prey on erstwhile American partners with impunity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear: “If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

For the sake of its deterrence and security, Israel will have to do just that and destroy Hamas in Rafah.

Michael Makovsky, a former Pentagon official, is president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. Blaise Misztal is its vice president for policy.