‘You’re Nothing Special’: Frustration In Israel As Biden Still Hasn’t Phoned Netanyahu
It’s increasingly looking like the US and Israel may be in for a frostier four years to come compared to the close and highly coordinated prior state of relations with the Trump administration, in which it should be recalled Tel Aviv got its wish on everything from Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital, to acknowledged sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Israeli leadership and the public is voicing increased frustration at the fact that Joe Biden has yet to pick up the phone and talk to Benjamin Netanyahu, as NBC reports late this week:
“In his first three weeks in office, President Joe Biden has made a flurry of phone calls to American allies around the world, including the leaders of Canada, Britain, France and Japan.
But one close American ally’s leader has so far been left conspicuously off the new president’s call list: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.“
Israeli media is now rife with speculation over what this means for the future of Israeli-US relations even while Washington continues shelling out billions in foreign aid to its number one Mideast ally.
“Biden and his aides aim to tell Netanyahu, ‘You’re nothing special,'” geopolitical analyst Yossi Melman wrote in the Israeli daily Haaretz. “‘The personal connection and chemistry you had with Donald Trump not only fail to advance your standing in Washington, they’re an obstacle.'”
And the further irony, Melman points out, is that Netanyahu has over the same period had no less than three phone calls from Vladimir Putin.
In response to the reports the former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, who served under the prior Obama-Biden administration, said, “There’s no reason for any drama” and that likely Biden will pick up the phone soon.
However, other pundits are noting it as a clear rebuke. A former Israel consul-general, Dani Dayan, told NBC for example:
“It’s a clear sign of displeasure from President Biden with the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu was perceived in Washington for the last 12 years as almost a card-carrying member of the Republican Party.”
Long-term policy on Israel from the new administration remains unclear, however Biden’s Secretary of State has previously indicated the US will continue to uphold some of Trump’s more controversial moves regarding the close regional ally, most notably continuing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and keeping the American embassy there.
Meanwhile, on Thursday the White House was pressed on the matter. “US President Joe Biden plans to speak with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu soon, the White House said on Thursday without providing a date,” the press secretary responded, according to Reuters.
Fri, 02/12/2021 – 14:49