Biden’s policy for Israel: Blame it all on Netanyahu

“We’ve been very measured [but] we could turn up the criticism very quickly.”

By World Israel News Staff

The Biden administration plans to hold Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu “personally responsible” for the actions of right-wing lawmakers in his government, U.S. officials were cited as saying by Politico.

The policy is one the U.S. has been working on since it became clear that Netanyahu would form a right wing, religious government with lawmakers considered to be hardline, including firebrand MKs Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.

“Biden aides say they need to limit its far-right excesses, and they see Netanyahu as their best conduit to exert such influence,” the report said.

According to the officials, the Biden administration will also “publicly turn to, refer to, and rely upon” Netanyahu on any serious issues regarding the Palestinians or Israel’s ties with Arab states.

“Bibi says he can control his government, so let’s see him do just that,” said one of the U.S. officials, using Netanyahu’s nickname.

“Everyone, without exception, [understands] that these guys are fundamentally different” from previous Israeli governments, he said.

“What’s relevant is Netanyahu. He is the prime minister,” a second U.S. official said. Referencing the right-wing elements of Netanyahu’s government, he added, “People are making a strategic mistake by building these guys up.”

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“Netanyahu wants a bunch of stuff from us,” another official told Politico. “It’s a two-way street… We’ll work with him on the things he cares about, and he’ll work on the things we care about.”

But he went on to remark that the administration would resort to public reprove if it came to it.

“Right now, we’ve been very measured,” the official said. “We could turn up the criticism very quickly.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said, “I’ll work with Prime Minister Netanyahu. As he says, he has his hands on the wheel… I’m going to make sure those hands are very tight on that wheel, and I’ll encourage him to do the things that he said he wants to do.”

“He said he wants to be prime minister for all of Israel. I take him at his word. And obviously, the United States will work with him to make sure that happens…

“We will speak up and speak out when we believe that our shared values are getting confused, and that’s what friends do,” Nides added, noting that Israel is a democracy.

Nides’ predecessor Daniel Shapiro said last month that it was unlikely that the Biden Administration will directly engage with the likes of Ben-Gvir and Smotrich.