- Biden is looking more than willing to help Bennett in his attempt to keep Netanyahu away from power.
- Netanyahu’s prime ministership has always sent shockwaves to the Democrats of the US. Netanyahu shared quite a sketchy relationship with Obama over the latter’s unwavering support for the Iranian nuclear deal or the JCPOA.
- Netanyahu outmaneuvered Obama back in the last decade and Biden fears meeting the same fate now.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fiercely plotting his return to the Prime Minister’s office. As per media reports, he is working out a “secret plan” to take down Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government as soon as by November 14th this year. Bennett is aware of his weakening position against the reemergence of a more than ever powerful Netanyahu, and now he is running to US President Joe Biden for saving his chair. Interestingly, Biden is also looking more than willing to help Bennett’s plummeting popular support back at home in his desperate attempt to keep Netanyahu away from the power.
Late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met President Biden and held discussions on various issues pertaining to threats emanating from Iranian soil and Israel’s engagement with Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. However, Israelis viewed this summit as Bennett’s political wide stride to strengthen his approval ratings at home rather than pursuing an unambiguous state agenda. He did not have a clear policy on various security issues and the visit ostensibly looked orchestrated just to shore up his support in the fragile coalition.
A series of delays preceded the US-Israel summit. And when the meeting happened, the Israeli Prime Minister simply came up as a predicament for the Israeli nationalists. The Prime Minister detached himself from the stances he had previously adopted on various issues. He abandoned his previous beliefs, illustrating that he does not have a vision on the most important issues pertaining to Israel’s national security.
Bennett and Biden’s joint attempt to shore up popular support for the Bennett administration
Bennett’s visit to Washington carried a bigger agenda. He wanted to earn the US President’s goodwill and support amidst his fragile sway over the government and wanted to present himself as the new leader of Israel. And Biden showed no qualms in playing by Bennett’s side. He vowed to thrash Iran with an iron fist and resort to other means rather than diplomacy, if the country reaches dangerously close to developing nuclear capabilities. Though Biden is barely known for sticking to his words, Bennett hoped this could help his poor standing in domestic politics.
Biden’s disillusionment with Netanyahu
It is an open secret that Biden looks askance upon Netanyahu’s policies of engagement with Hamas, the PA and Iran. Biden shied away from talking to Netanyahu after his assumption to the White House. He does not like engaging with Netanyahu at all. Biden had immediately started working on weakening Netanyahu’s position in the Jewish state’s domestic politics as soon as he reached the helm of affairs. The State Department had reinstated the word “occupied territories” in relation to West Bank’s current status.
Moreover, Secretary of State Antony Blinken lost no time in stating that the US will not undo Trump’s Jerusalem decisions, but will work harder to achieve an independent Palestinian state. Biden vehemently threw his weight behind the Iranian administration and tried to jeopardize the Trump-era Abraham Accords signed between Israel and Arabs. Netanyahu’s pledge to raze down Iran despite the risk of battering relations with the US irked Biden in incredible proportions. Netanyahu’s strong support towards Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump was also a major driving force in the USA’s hostile policy towards Netanyahu administration in the earlier days of Biden’s presidency.
Democrats vs Netanyahu: A history of shared animosity
Hence, the prospects of Netanyahu again making it to the Prime Minister’s office are already troubling the sitting president in the White House. Netanyahu’s prime ministership has always sent shockwaves to the Democrats of the US. Netanyahu is a tough nut to crack for any US president. For instance, Netanyahu shared quite a sketchy relationship with Obama over the latter’s unwavering support for the Iranian nuclear deal or the JCPOA. Netanyahu had visited Washington in March 2015, a memorable trip that was later described as a “diplomatic slap” by some analysts.
He became the second foreign leader to address the Congress three times and took the opportunity to beat the living daylights out of Obama’s Iran policy. His address before the House chamber had one major theme—branding the product of the Obama-backed nuclear negotiations with Iran as a “very bad deal”—and one clear goal: giving his reelection efforts a jump-start in the closing weeks of the election.
Netanyahu: A tough nut for the Democrats
For Netanyahu, being seen as standing up to Obama was a fortune; for Bennett is the exact opposite. Netanyahu paralyzed Obama’s dreams of materializing the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and he remained successful in resisting the pressure. Netanyahu outmaneuvered Obama back in the last decade and Biden fears meeting the same fate now. A confused Bennett, and not a political veteran like Netanyahu, is easy to be engaged for the Democrats.
The years-long animosity between Democrats and Netanyahu spells out Biden’s fears of a Netanyahu-ruled Israel. Biden 1.0 is essentially Obama 3.0 for the democrats and that explains the continued animosity between the Biden administration and Netanyahu. Biden is making strenuous efforts to keep Netanyahu at bay. However, if Bennett’s desperate run to Joe Biden combined with Biden’s open support to Bennett’s bid to undermine his opposition at home is any indication, there is a strong possibility of Netanyahu ousting the sitting Israeli Prime Minister by the end of this year.