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Biden Boasts of Israel Support in Gaza Assault as Trump Uses “Palestinian” as Slur Against Biden

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Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s exchange on foreign policy in Thursday’s presidential debate revealed that “the two candidates are extreme militarists, and one of them, Donald Trump, is a proponent and expresser of fascistic politics,” says activist Norman Solomon. In the brief section on Gaza, Biden boasted of his support for Israel as it pummels the Gaza Strip, while Trump criticized Biden, saying Israel should be allowed to “finish the job,” and said Biden is “like a Palestinian.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: There’s so much to get to. We’re going to turn to foreign policy now, just an excerpt of the debate on Gaza.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Number one, everyone from the United Nations Security Council straight through to the G7 to the Israelis and Netanyahu himself have endorsed the plan I put forward, endorsed the plan I put forward, which has three stages to it.

The first stage is trade the hostages for a ceasefire. Second phase is a ceasefire with additional conditions. The third phase is no — the end of the war.

The only one who wants the war to continue is Hamas, number one. They’re the only ones standing out. We’re still pushing hard to get them to accept.

In the meantime, what’s happened? In Israel, we’re financing — the only thing I’ve denied Israel was 2,000-pound bombs. They don’t work very well in populated areas. They kill a lot of innocent people. We’re providing Israel with all the weapons they need and when they need them.

DONALD TRUMP: As far as Israel and Hamas, Israel is the one that wants to go on. He said the only one who wants to keep going is Hamas. Actually, Israel is the one. And you should let them go and let them finish the job. He doesn’t want to do it. He’s become like a Palestinian. But they don’t like him because he’s a very bad Palestinian. He’s a weak one.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump and President Biden debating Gaza. Norman Solomon is still with us, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org. His most recent book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine. Your response?

NORMAN SOLOMON: These two candidates are extreme militarists. And one of them, Donald Trump, is a proponent and an expresser of fascistic politics. So, that’s where we are.

In terms of Gaza, we have a president who has enabled and participated in mass murder and genocide, continuing to ship all sorts of weapons and ammunition to Israel while it slaughters civilians every single day, refuses to engage in diplomacy. And yet that wasn’t being debated at all. They were arguing about how well they would assist Israel in suppressing the rights of Palestinians and killing them every day. So that’s where we are.

And I think one point, as we are very clear about the reality of these militarists who are willing to slaughter civilians every day, at the same time we’re facing now a fork in the road. If Donald Trump is elected president, then the left, progressives, even a lot of liberals, will be on the defensive for four years. The space to organize will be virtually disappearing except to try to mitigate the damage that will be done by the administration. Under a Biden or Democratic administration, we have huge problems, terrible foreign policy. What we do have is more space to organize so we’re not just back on our heels. We can organize for real progressive change.

AMY GOODMAN: Chris Lehmann, your final thoughts as you watched this debate, stayed up through the night writing your piece for The Nation, D.C. bureau chief for The Nation magazine?

CHRIS LEHMANN: Well, you know, I would echo virtually everything your other guests have said. And I think Norman underlined a really important point, which is the urgent need to mobilize in a democratic way to change the Democratic — capital “D” Democratic — ticket. It’s a constant refrain, and it’s true, among Biden supporters that, you know, the soul of the nation and the fate of our democracy are both on the ballot in this cycle. What’s paradoxical, though, is — we see it in the case of the Gaza war, which is vastly unpopular with the general public — there is a refusal to heed democratic voices within the Biden administration and within the larger Democratic Party.

It’s important to, you know, pan back a bit and remember that the reason Democrats nominated Joe Biden in 2020 was that Barack Obama basically went behind the scenes to persuade all of his other primary rivals to fold their hands and, you know, cut deals with Biden to make him the front-runner. And that was at a moment when Bernie Sanders was leading in the polls and actually was well ahead of Trump in the polls. So this was a very deliberate decision taken by the party establishment in 2020.

And we are — you know, it’s like Groundhog Day, where we’re back in the situation where the Democrats have tried to galvanize mass support behind a candidate who’s manifestly not up to the job. And there is a failure to just acknowledge what Americans saw and heard loud and clear last night.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Darrick Hamilton, founding director of Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy at The New School? You just have 20 seconds.

DARRICK HAMILTON: Yeah. What is lost and sad in the messaging from this debate is some of the unprecedented interventions that happened during the pandemic, as dramatic as that was, especially in contrast to the Great Recession, where we invested directly in the American people. We should be building upon that.

AMY GOODMAN: Darrick Hamilton, Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy at The New School; Chris Lehmann, D.C. bureau chief for The Nation. We also want to thank Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy, as well as Michele Goodwin at Georgetown and, finally, Silky Shah of Detention Watch and Dean Baker.

That does it for our show. Democracy Now! has a job opening. It’s director of development. Check our website at democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks so much for joining us.

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