WASHINTON: Almost three years into President Joe Biden’s tenure, his administration’s support for Israel in the conflict with Hamas is tarnishing America’s international image.
While the United States backed a UN Security Council resolution on humanitarian aid for Gaza, it stood apart from key allies such as Britain, France, and Japan, abstaining alongside Russia.
This divergence in approach was evident earlier in the General Assembly, where only Austria and the Czech Republic joined the United States in voting against a nonbinding ceasefire call. Leslie Vinjamuri from Chatham House suggests that globally, there’s a perception that the U.S. prioritizes Israelis and Ukrainians but doesn’t extend the same concern to other populations, contributing to a narrative that has gained traction.
Unlike his predecessor, Donald Trump, Biden has expressed frustration with Israeli actions in Gaza while ensuring military support. However, the narrative of a nuanced approach is losing ground as images of Gaza’s suffering proliferate. Social media, in particular, has brought unfiltered scenes from Gaza to Arab publics, influencing opinions.
A survey in the Arab world indicated a mere seven percent belief that the US played a positive role in the conflict. Munqith Dagher of Gallup International notes that China, Russia, and surprisingly, Iran, have benefited in regional opinion amid US criticism. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged focusing outrage on Hamas, citing the group’s actions on October 7, while defending US efforts to provide assistance to Gaza.
However, Brian Katulis of the Middle East Institute suggests that the Biden administration prioritizes a pragmatic approach to address the threat of Hamas rather than opting for a symbolic ceasefire call. The complex reactions from the Arab world reveal a struggle between denouncing US foreign policy and acknowledging the security umbrella it provides.