The Forward weekly newspaper says it is not so simple.
Remember, they say, that Joe Biden was Obama’s Vice President. While Barack Obama was certainly pro-Israel, Netanyahu and Likud didn’t think he was. Netanyahu deliberately humiliated Joe Biden announcing construction of new homes for Jews in East Jerusalem during Joe Biden’s visit to Israel. A pointed act by Netanyahu (even if he denied humiliation was the intent). Obama’s first overseas trip was to Eqypt. Obama wanted to pressure Israel to stop construction on the West Bank, but he couldn’t get enough American support. Barack Obama was attacked as anti-Israel. What about his Vice President?
As for Bernie, fond as he may be of his experience on a kibbutz, his positions are the positions of the American left. The Forward reminds us that he would place human rights at the center of American foreign policy. His foreign policy advisor was critical of Joe Biden’s reference to Palestinian’s “legitimate aspirations” instead of their “rights.” I’m not immersed in the nuances of language about Israel and the Palestinians. To me, support for aspirations means supporting rights as well as goals that go beyond rights.
Their differences on Israel? Joe Biden believes in being and lives as a conventional man. He rarely challenges the general understanding of an issue. Bernie Sanders believes in and lives as an unconventional man. He always challenges the general understanding of an issue. Trump is like Bernie in that respect. But Bernie’s view of challenging convention is nothing like Trump’s.
Does Israel have something to fear from either candidate? Israel has something to fear if it continues the policies and views of Netanyahu. Israel has something to fear if from both Biden and Bernie if it continues Netanyahu’s policies. Support for Israel will become less and less the conventional Democratic position, gradually detaching Biden from Israel. No matter how gradual the change, during the period between 2020 and 2024, Bernie will be challenging Netanyahu’s view of Israel.