President Joe Biden is throwing shade at Benjamin Netanyahu. The diplomatic snub comes in the form of the president’s refusal to call Benjamin Netanyahu and congratulate him on his victory in Israel’s election last week over Yair Lapid.
While Biden is not calling Israel’s new leader, he immediately called Brazil’s new socialist president Lula. Biden congratulated the socialist Lula on Twitter the night the results were shared with the public.
It is not the first time a Democrat U.S. president has snubbed Israel – the only full democracy in the Middle East. Former President Barack Obama forced Netanyahu to use the back door of the White House for an official meeting.
Biden also waited a month after his presidential inauguration to call Netanyahu in 2021. The Los Angeles Times reported it “set the tone” for how the U.S. would deal with the Israeli relationship.
White House officials are downplaying the absence of a congratulatory phone call. Observers say the snub is extremely dangerous as Israel is considered the most important ally to the U.S., next to Great Britain.
A National Security Council spokesperson tells media outlets that President Biden will speak with Netanyahu “soon,” but avoided outright naming Netanyahu the prime minister-elect – instead saying that “Mr. Netanyahu, after winning a plurality in the Knesset, is likely to be tasked with forming a government over the coming days.”
“The president has known and worked with Bibi Netanyahu for many years,” the spokesperson added. “They worked closely together when Netanyahu was prime minister last year, and they met again during the president’s visit to Israel in July.”
Biden and Blinken were swift to recognize Brazil’s President-elect Lula da Silva even though Jair Bolsonaro has yet to officially concede defeat, instead simply authorizing his chief of staff to begin the transition process – and Blinken on Friday called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss “joint efforts” to enhance Palestinian security and reaffirm the commitment to a two-state solution.
–Dwight Widaman and wire services