The U.S. is Israel’s closest ally, yet Biden refuses to call its prime minister, who has long enjoyed close relations with American presidents and other world leaders.
By World Israel News Staff and AP
Israelis are expressing growing concern that President Joe Biden has yet to call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following his inauguration, despite the fact that he has called other world leaders, including the head of the repressive communist Chinese regime, Xi Jinping.
The United States is Israel’s closest ally, yet Biden continues to refuse to call its prime minister, who has long enjoyed close relations with American presidents and other world leaders.
Netanyahu is hoping to dissuade Biden from rejoining the Iranian nuclear deal, to which Israel is strongly opposed due to the Islamic Republic’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and support for terror proxies across the region.
Netanyahu dismissed any talk of a rift earlier this week, noting that he spoke with Biden during the transition and saying he expects to hear from the president once he works his way over to the Middle East after speaking to North American and European leaders.
“Our alliance is strong, even if we do not agree on everything,” Netanyahu said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken struck a similar note when asked about the lack of a call earlier this week in an interview with CNN’s “Situation Room,” saying he had spoken to his own Israeli counterparts since being sworn in.
“I’m sure that they’ll have occasion to speak in the near future,” he said of Biden and Netanyahu.
The longer it drags on, the more clear it becomes that the snub is no mistake.
Danny Danon, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.N., on Wednesday tweeted a list of 10 countries that he said had received calls from Biden.
“Might it now be time to call the leader of #Israel, the closest ally of the #US?” he tweeted, along with a phone number for the prime minister.
Netanyahu had a rocky relationship with President Barack Obama, who repeatedly clashed with the Israeli leader over the conflict with the Palestinians and the Iran nuclear deal. Many Israelis fear that Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, will revive his approach to the region, both by returning to the Iran deal and by pressing Israel to make dangerous concessions to the Palestinians, who financially incentivize deadly terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
Trump, in sharp contrast, recognized that Jerusalem is in fact Israel’s capital, dropping objections to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and promoting a peace plan that broke away from decades of Western strategies that failed to achieve even a modicum of progress.
He also withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal and ramped up sanctions on Iran, the greatest threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region.
British journalist Melanie Phillips, who writes extensively on the Mideast and Israeli policy, recently commented that Biden’s approach is no accident.
“What planet are such people living on?” she asked with regard to the notion that there is anything ambiguous about the White House’s refusal to contact Netanyahu.
According to Phillips, “Israel scarcely needs the absence of a phone call to tell it that it has a grave problem with the new occupant of the White House.”
“The Biden administration has resumed funding [Palestinian UN agency] UNRWA, reopened the Palestinian mission to Washington and recommitted itself to the ‘two-state solution.’ It has thus re-empowered the Palestinians’ agenda of demonizing and blackmailing Israel in order to destroy it, and afforded the Palestinians status while they do so.”
Phillips called Biden’s appointments “even more telling,” referring specifically to the new American envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, who “whitewashed Yasser Arafat’s duplicity at Camp David and, as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has observed, ‘has a long track record of sympathy for the Iranian regime and animus towards Israel.'”
She says the appointment of Maher Bitar as senior director of intelligence at the National Security Council is “more sinister,” noting that Bitar is a “long-standing anti-Israel activist, [who] spent years promoting the BDS movement and its campaigns” and served “on the executive board of the poisonous Muslim Brotherhood-linked Students for Justice in Palestine, which hounds Jewish students on campus and disseminates anti-Semitic propaganda.”
Bitar will be responsible for heavily classified intelligence and will help determine which parts of that intelligence will be shared with the foreign intelligence services of countries like Israel.
Alex Joffe of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University similarly concluded that the Biden administration’s “blatant and two-faced” approach is “classic Obama,” promoting “ample rhetorical support for Israel” to appease American Jews, while implementing “policies that affect Israel negatively.”