Barack Obama’s antipathy toward Israel during his two terms was unprecedented at the time, but it looks like Joe Biden is going to give him a run for his money.
As PJM’s Robert Spencer noted earlier, Joe Biden “has pointedly refrained from calling the head of the government of our most reliable ally in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” which could be an ominous warning that relations with our most important ally in the Middle East over the next four years will experience some major setbacks.
In his first three weeks in office Biden has spoken with many world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin (OMG collusion, right?) and Chinese President Xi Jinping, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been snubbed. This makes Biden “the first president in modern history to punt on bolstering U.S.-Israel relations during his initial days in office,” the Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo noted. “Every president going back to at least Ronald Reagan in 1981 made contact with their Israeli counterpart within a week of assuming office.” Even the notoriously anti-Israel Barack Obama called Israeli leaders on his first day in office. He also called Palestinian leaders the same day, but still made a stronger effort than Biden. President Trump, of course, had a great relationship with Israel and quickly invited Netanyahu to Washington, D.C., within days of taking office. President Trump went on to make historic progress with Israel, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and brokering several peace deals between Israel and Arab nations in the Middle East.
The reason for snubbing Netanyahu is not clear, but the Israeli prime minister had a very good relationship with President Trump, and both were highly critical of the Iran nuclear deal implemented by the Obama-Biden administration, which Trump rescinded and Biden promised to reinstate.
Nevertheless, Prime Minister Netanyahu even congratulated Biden on his apparent victory five days after the 2020 presidential election. “Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris,” he wrote on Twitter. “Joe, we’ve had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel. I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the U.S. and Israel.”
I guess he spoke too soon.
Biden’s gesture raises many questions about the future of America-Israeli relations. And, let’s face it, things aren’t off to a promising start. Even Barack Obama outclassed Biden in his first days in office, and he ended up severely damaging relations with Israel. Despite calling Israeli leaders on his first day in office, Obama refused to accept Jerusalem as the nation’s capital, and refused to defend Israel if they launched a strike on Iran. He also called on Israel to return to the “1967 borders,” which Israel considers indefensible. Obama also notoriously snubbed Netanyahu on many occasions while he had no problem meeting with members of the terrorist group Hamas. Obama even sent campaign operatives to Israel in 2015 in an attempt to help defeat Netanyahu (foreign election inference anyone?) and spent hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars toward that effort. Obama also exposed Israel’s top-secret nuclear program to the world and spied on Netanyahu during the Iran nuclear deal negotiations.
So, what can we infer from all this? Only time will tell, but it doesn’t look good. Based on his actions so far, Joe Biden might end up giving Barack Obama a run for his money as the Most Anti-Israel President in History.