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  • Reverend James Squire

The Day I Was Disappointed in Biden


Let me give the context for my ethical response largely taken from The Washington Post (5/21). The prosecutor of the top war crimes court yesterday sought arrest warrants from the leaders of Israel and Hamas, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister, and the three defense leaders of Hamas. The crimes are against Hamas and Israel. Arrest may not be imminent for the leaders, but it will be difficult for them to travel around the world such as the limitation of Putin.


The Israeli leaders and Biden called foul. Biden’s outcry was that Israel had a right to defend itself. But the ethical response is, “But how?” Biden has made a big deal over being raised in working class culture, but he has left part of that culture behind. After a no holds barred fight after school in my community, if the principal knew the two people involved, he refused to honor Biden’s and Israel’s words, “Well who started it.” Next, he would say, “Two wrongs would not make a right.” That comment was followed by pointing to those of us standing around, “you didn’t do anything to stop it.” You are just as much the blame with all the blood you see. In Independent school culture, there would be a lot of pushing and shoving in a “fight” hoping that someone would break it up. Sounds like Biden’s approach with a diplomatic solution. The toughest kid in my school went on to be a successful lawyer who is a litigator. Do you wonder where his skill started? Biden has other skin in this game. Biden went on to say that there is no equivalence – between Hamas and Israel. Hamas’ response to him was that “you are equating the victim with the executioner.” We in America are accessories to the fact. Recall, we never heard that kind of response from Biden about Putin’s and Russia’s behavior in Ukraine except for some in Congress. Israel was an ally, but even allies like the second kid in the fight and us as bystanders, are wrong even in their (our) defense. That’s the lens through which I see life and the world. The Jewish ethic requires moderation in all things as well including self-defense. Dozens of countries do not accept the court’s jurisdiction over war crimes including Israel, the United States, Russia, and China. But just as important is the fact that Israel is seen as guilty by many in the rest of the world. I remember my father’s words, “Don’t do anything to tarnish your name.” Hamas’ name was already tarnished, but Israel, for the most part, has now been subject to criticism across the world.


But I am concerned about other issues that are very important as well as we move forward. They are not mentioned much, except for the anti-Palestinian Right Wing and the White Supremacy movement. One is Replacement Theory, and another is Jewish people and money. Because I have spent time countering antisemitism and erroneous theories related to it, these came quickly to my mind as major concerns, yet the press has avoided them except in New York City.


You probably heard of The Replacement Theory at the time of the march of the white supremacists on the campus of the University of Virginia, that “the Jews will not replace us.”  Trump said, “There were good people on both sides.” This was a theory that was started by Marine LePen, the leader of a right-wing party and scholar in France. It is the basis for anti-immigration as well as against Jews who have too much power because of their perceived large amounts of money that they possess. It has been true in history. The American militia movement is also a source of money-based antisemitism. Its leaders include Bo Gritz who alleges that the Federal Reserve system is controlled by Jews, and John Trochman, who believes that the nation’s problems are the fault of a Jewish “banking elite.” Just go to Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice where Shylock refers to the Jewish moneylender as “a devil, an evil soul, and a goodly rotten apple at heart.” Abraham Foxman and the ADL wrote a letter to Tribune Media Services that “selecting Shylock to elicit the answer “Jew” demonstrates cultural ignorance and extreme lack of sensitivity. Fortunately, that clue in crossword puzzles has been mostly eliminated.


The alumni who threatened their financial gifts to Harvard and Penn were Jewish. There is another cultural issue which is even more of concern that has been missed except in New York City.

“A handful of powerful businessmen pushed New York City Mayor Eric Adams to use police to crack down on pro-Palestinian student protesters at Columbia University, donating to the politician and offering to pay for private investigators to help break up the demonstrations, the Washington Post has reported, based on leaked WhatsApp conversations. This was meant to be kept secret. Good luck with that with the journalist detectives in today’s media. Eventually 100 members, many of whom appeared on Forbes List of Jewish Billionaires, were found to join the Anti-Palestinian Group on the WhatsApp. WhatsApp is an instant messaging service powered by Meta.”

The story in the press says that several billionaires seeking to influence public perception of Israel’s war in Gaza discussed a means of pushing the mayor and the university’s president to end the protests, which were eventually cleared last month amid criticism of the police’s heavy-handed response.”

I want you to notice that they story was leaked on the WhatsApp a highly subscribed internet connection as well as other news media that was meant to be kept secretive that made its way to the web as well as the stories about Stefanik and other Republicans having nothing to say about the Palestinians. We underscore why it should be important to us. It is why university faculty who are center left take the side of both the Palestinians and Israel. You can be anti-Netanyahu and his right-wing associates. But you can be very supportive of all Jewish people.  To be anti-Netanyahu should not be equal to antisemitism particularly when he is just trying to stay out of jail.

This leads me to what disturbs me that is future oriented and that is the cultural issues that we have forgotten. White Power Movements, the right-wing, as those who believe in the Replacement Theory and that Jewish people possess so much money as to determine policy are always looking for grist for their mill regarding antisemitism. Do you not think that they are not getting this news out to support their views? Jews are controlling policy. They are!

Joe Biden makes a point that he is from the working-class culture of Scranton. He never mentions that he attended high school at the Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware where I was a consultant helping them with some issues, so I know the school well.

I can assure you he left something behind in Scranton if he was in a similar school as mine. He never heard, “I don’t care who started the fight; You guys standing around not trying to break it up are just as guilty as these two fighters; Two wrongs don’t make a right!”

It is a shame that he left those words behind somewhere in Scranton! It’s why I have lost faith in him today. Pushing and shoving until someone comes in to help one or the other out doesn’t work. Never has!

I will conclude with words from my six-grade educated father; “Your name is all you have. Don’t tarnish it!” That works! It should be an important part of a solution.

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