". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


If the World Sees Us Lack Resolve, ‘They Will Come with Guns Blazing,’ Johnson Warns

April 15, 2024

Americans woke up to plenty of terrifying headlines Sunday after Iran lobbed more than 300 missiles and drones at Israel. “The world stands at the brink of an all-out war,” The Telegraph insisted. Columbian President Gustavo Petro publicly despaired, calling the weekend’s attack “a prelude to World War III.” Here at home, President Joe Biden continued to walk a political tightrope, declaring his “ironclad commitment to the security of Israel,” while privately urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to suck it up and take whatever Iran dishes out.

Like most people watching the scene unfold, the editors at National Review can’t believe the White House’s suggestion that the Jewish state sit on its hands. “Any effort to impede Israel’s retaliation would be morally disgraceful and strategically inane,” they wrote. “… No nation could live under a situation in which another nation vowing to destroy it can threaten its population in this manner, and rest on the hope that it can meet every future attack with the same amount of success in shooting down weapons.”

On the Hill, leaders saw right through Biden’s cheap political ploy. This is a country, Rubio said of Israel, that has faced “constant existential threats to their existence on a repeated basis. … What I don’t understand is why Joe Biden and the administration would leak to the media, the contents of a conversation which he tells Netanyahu he doesn’t think that Netanyahu should respond at all,” unless, as he suspects, it’s to placate their pro-Palestine, anti-Semitic base. “It is the continuing part of the public game they are playing which frankly encourages Iran and Hezbollah.”

But then, as plenty of experts have pointed out, Biden has already done more than his share to help the Islamist regime. “Within weeks of taking office, Biden removed the terrorist designation on Iran’s proxy in Yemen, the Houthis,” NRO’s editors pointed out. “[H]e allowed the U.N. sanctions against the Iranian missile and drone program to expire. Those were the types of weapons not only that were used [Saturday] night but that Iran has sold to Russia for use against Ukraine.”

When pressed about the decision to relax sanctions — ultimately giving Iran five months to build up its missile capabilities and cash reserves — U.S. National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby defended Biden. Asked by Fox News’s Shannon Bream if the administration could’ve done more to deter Tehran, Kirby claimed that it was “hard to look at what President Biden has done with respect to Iran and say that he hasn’t been tough on Iran.”

That’s interesting, former National Security Council member Richard Goldberg said, since Biden hasn’t stopped the flow of money to Iran since the weekend’s attacks. The U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting Sunday only to adjourn without taking “any meaningful action.” It’s unfathomable to Goldberg, who pointed out, “This was a massive, unprecedented, and unacceptable strategic attack on Israel. It would be a huge mistake to pull Israel back from a military retaliation — but it’s downright insanity to keep $10 billion accessible to Tehran in the aftermath. The president needs to lock down all the money he made available to Tehran these past months.”

Although American Ambassador Robert Wood made a tepid promise that Washington “will explore additional measures to hold Iran accountable,” no one is quite sure what that means. Meanwhile, Mark Dubowitz wanted people to know, there’s been a “massive increase in Iranian nuclear enrichment since President Biden [was] elected.” “Facts are stubborn things,” he warned. “So is [Ayatollah] Khamenei when he faces minimal American pressure and massive sanctions relief.”

At the very least, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told the press, Congress can finally finish the work of Israeli aid that he started more than five months ago. As Family Research Council President Tony Perkins pointed out on “This Week on the Hill,” the first substantive bill that the House passed after Johnson took the gavel was $14.5 billion in assistance for Israel — which the new speaker offset by cutting an IRS slush fund. Democrats voted against it. “And what has the Senate done with it?” Perkins asked Johnson.

“Well,” he replied, “nothing. It’s been sitting on [Schumer’s] desk. I tried again to do a clean Israel [bill] just a full unpaid for assistance. One hundred sixty-six House Democrats voted against it, and Joe Biden threatened to veto it. A clean Israel funding bill. They said no. That’s a pretty amazing thing.”

Even more incredible, Johnson invited Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress, and Schumer refuses to authorize it — despite being the highest-ranking, longest-serving Jewish member of Congress. “It’s stunning, it really is,” the speaker agreed. What happened to Israel being a bipartisan issue, Perkins wanted to know? “Right,” Johnson replied. “The Democrats are turning their back on Israel now [from] the president on down.”

It’s all “deeply concerning” to Netanyahu, the speaker relayed after multiple conversations with the prime minister. “It’s almost unbelievable that the president has turned his back since October 7th on Israel. They’re leaning into the pro-Hamas, pro-protestor branch of their party. … [T]hey’re fearful of that wing of the party. And it’s a rising number of young progressives who are screaming that Israel is the enemy somehow. … You had 50 House Democrats just a few days ago, sent a letter saying that we should no longer have arms transfers to Israel so they can defend their very existence,” he pointed out. “It’s incredible.”

This whole shift in the Democratic Party is alarming, Johnson agreed. “The reason we stand with Israel, for us, it’s a matter of faith, but it’s also a matter of geopolitical stability. They’re the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Before he was speaker, Johnson talked about a meeting with Netanyahu and his cabinet, where they told him, “We want to remind you all that the reason that Israel can stand is because they know that our brother America — the big brother — as it were, is standing behind them, looking over their shoulder.” In other words, he explained, “If the world ever sees that we lack that resolve, they will come with all guns blazing, literally, against Israel. It’s a dangerous, dangerous situation right now. We cannot show a lack of resolve.”

And “the idea that we would not roll out the red carpet and invite our close friend and ally to come and update the Congress on [the war], to me, is unconscionable,” he reiterated. But these issues are going to come home to roost, Johnson warned. If the Democratic Party continues to be held hostage by radical forces that want to abandon Israel, it spells trouble for Biden and company.

“I think they’ve got a very real political problem on their hands. But this should transcend politics. This is bigger than that. This is about safety and security, not just [for] Israel, but the American people. We have got to stand strong right now. They need to put politics aside. But, yes, they’ve got a real problem going into an election year when a rising number of their base is now turning against Israel.”

The Americans who care about this situation, who understand the importance of our ally Israel, need to “let their voices be heard,” Johnson urged. “They need to prevail upon members of Congress to get this job done. I’ve tried to get Israel funded [with] the supplemental, the defense package, that they need. It’s about $14 billion.”

The Middle East is a tough neighborhood, Perkins pointed out. Most of the surrounding nations have threatened to wipe Israel off the map — including Iran. And “you cannot fight to a draw. You have to fight to win. The prime minister understands that. But apparently, the Biden administration does not.”

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.