Netanyahu to Republicans: Disputes with Biden ‘within the family’

“I wasn’t going to allow ayatollahs end the Odyssey, the saga of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu tells Jewish Republicans.

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to downplay any differences of opinion with President Joe Biden, calling them “disagreements within the mishpucha [family]” during a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday.

His address, the first he has ever given to the RJC, sparked criticism that he was playing partisan politics.

Still, Netanyahu stressed that Israel and the U.S. have maintained close ties under both Democratic and Republican administrations, and went on to express his “respect” for former president Barack Obama, who signed an MOU securing a $38 billion military aid deal for Israel.

Netanyahu pointed out that he and Biden have been friends for 40 years, since the American president’s days as a senator.

“We formed an easy friendship since then,” Netanyahu said.

“While we disagree on some matters… This is disagreement within the mishpucha — within the family,” Netanyahu joked. “I’ve had the privilege of dealing with several American presidents, and I can tell you, even though there were occasional differences with Republican and Democratic presidents, I valued the constancy of the American-Israeli alliance.”

Addressing his bombshell speech to Congress in 2015, in which Netanyahu expressed his vehement opposition to an emerging nuclear deal with Iran, the incoming prime minister said that while it wasn’t an easy decision, he wasn’t going to let “ayatollahs end the Odyssey, the saga of the Jewish people.”

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“I’ll do everything in my power to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to us and by the way to you too. If that meant taking a stand against a sitting administration then so be it and I did it, but not haphazardly and not lightheartedly. It was a difficult decision,” he said.

He went on to say that the speech paved the way for the Abraham Accords to be signed half a decade later, and leaders from several Arab countries called him after the speech to express their admiration for Netanyahu for standing up to an American president.

Regarding the Abraham Accords, Netanyahu said: “The mindset that had congealed both in Jerusalem and in Washington was that you cannot break out into additional peace treaties in the Arab world unless you first have peace with the Palestinians. There was one problem with that assumption. The Palestinians didn’t want and don’t want peace with Israel. They want peace without Israel.”

“I was tremendously fortunate to have, finally, an American administration under President Trump who agreed with this policy,” he said.

“We went around the Palestinians,” he said.