The Washington Post described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction to Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential elections last month as “disgusting”.
In an article published in the newspaper on Monday, writer Jackson Diehl indicated that most Republican lawmakers in Congress adopted a single view of Biden’s victory, preferring to distance themselves from recognizing him as an elected president, while issuing statements drafted to “appease” President Donald Trump.
And those deputies pre-empted the new administration to take over the reins of power to launch weeks before that attack on it, while they began to put obstacles in front of the policies that Biden would likely enact.
Although these scorched-earth methods – and Diehl spoke – seem reprehensible when they come from opponents of Biden at home, the interesting thing is that the leader of a country that is one of the main allies of the United States abroad: “A country dependent on bipartisan support (Republican and Democrat) to it in Washington in the form of aid worth billions of dollars annually, and in ensuring its vital security.
That leader – according to the author of the article – is Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel “the longest in office who surpassed even Russian President Vladimir Putin in his reaction to Biden’s victory, which was characterized by his malicious rudeness”.
Diehl described Netanyahu’s partisan commitment to Trump before the elections as utterly screaming, like the “huge banner” that included the image of the two men together and slid off a building in Tel Aviv.
And when the US media indicated on November 7 that Biden was the winner, Netanyahu waited until the next day to publicly congratulate him, but only after other close allies of America preceded him.
Diehl pointed out that Netanyahu did not address Biden in a tweet about the president-elect, but rather did not explicitly acknowledge his victory.
Fourteen minutes after his tweet, the Israeli prime minister published a separate tweet in which he thanked Trump for the “friendship he has shown towards the State of Israel and me personally”.
Since then, Netanyahu has taken a “hard-line stance” on one of Biden’s key foreign policy issues, which is his pledge to the possibility of returning to the nuclear deal with Iran.
And since the prevailing belief that Israel is behind the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on November 27, this “provocative” behavior will not slow down Iran’s recovery of its nuclear activities – if not pushing it to accelerate it – including its uranium enrichment, as Diehl believes in his article in The Washington Post.
The writer adds that the assassination of Fakhrizadeh may undermine Biden’s effort to revive the diplomatic process with Tehran.
However, the most logical conclusion, according to the writer’s opinion, is that Netanyahu is proceeding with greater determination in adopting a strategy towards Washington that no other leader of an allied country has preceded, namely, the frank alignment with one of the two parties – specifically the Republican Party – and not to spare any effort to undermine successive Democratic presidents While at the same time relying on bipartisan support in Congress for Israel to ratify aid packages worth billions of dollars annually.
Nevertheless, Democratic Party support in Congress for Israel remained steadfast even as Netanyahu deplored former President Barack Obama’s numerous attempts to promote the creation of a Palestinian state, by freezing Israel’s West Bank settlements.
The question remains whether that support will change if Netanyahu continues to challenge Biden in broad daylight.
Jackson Diehl believes in his article that Netanyahu’s bias with the Republican Party has slowly – but steadily – caused a decline in support for him and for Israel among ordinary Democratic supporters over time.
A poll conducted by The Economist in cooperation with YouGov in 2015 showed that only 19% of Democrats view Netanyahu positively, compared to 50% who hold a negative view of him.
By the year 2019, those numbers had changed, with 14% of Democrats viewing the Israeli prime minister positive and 25% negative, while only 25% of Democrats saw Israel as an ally of the United States.
Diehl concludes by saying that Biden is an “old-fashioned Democrat, with a long record of loyalty to Israel and ancient knowledge of Netanyahu,” but he does not seem to bear a firm grudge to him like that which was harbored by former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama.
But if Biden turns him on his back, he (the US president-elect) will likely have strong support from the grassroots of his Democratic party.
The butter of saying that Netanyahu – who is facing a criminal trial on corruption charges and possibly early elections next year – does not seem to think that his challenge to Biden will harm him.
That may be true, but it is easy to speculate on the sustainable damage that Netanyahu will inflict on the basis of US-Israeli relations, as Jackson Diehl put it at the end of his article in the Washington Post.