On an upcoming trip to the Middle East and North Africa, Jill Biden, the U.S. first lady, will visit Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Portugal, but not Israel. And Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, reportedly scrapped a planned trip to Israel, according to news reports.
On June 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement, which stated in part, “I have heard all of the reports about Iran. I have a sharp and clear message for both Iran and the international community: Israel will do whatever it needs to do to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”
The first lady “is expected to attend the wedding of the Jordanian Crown Prince—an unelected monarch whose country is majority Palestinian—as part of her visit. But she will skip the region’s only true democratic nation,” Joel Pollak reported in Breitbart.
“The Biden administration has refused to engage directly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who won Israel’s elections last November but has yet to receive a customary White House invitation,” Pollak added. “The Biden administration appears to be isolating Israel as a way to exert leverage within internal domestic Israeli politics, and over Israel’s policy on Iran and the Palestinians.”
Kerry to visit Israel
The White House snub comes as John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, will visit Jerusalem as part of a May 31 to June 7 trip that will also take him to Amman, Dubai and Oslo, the U.S. State Department announced.
The U.S. official will attend a royal wedding in Amman and will participate in a maritime business gathering in Oslo. In Jerusalem and Dubai, he is slated to “hold meetings with officials regarding global cooperation to combat the climate crisis,” per the State Department.
Kerry—a former secretary of state and senator, as well as a failed presidential candidate—has come under extensive criticism for his current portfolio and views on the Middle East.
He said that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would cause “an absolute explosion,” and prior to the Abraham Accords, he predicted that “there will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world … without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace.”
A former Israeli ambassador to Washington accused Kerry of “negotiating behind our back with our No. 1 enemy” for his interactions with Iran.
Kerry has defended fellow climate activists who fly private jets to Davos, though a New York Post editorial referred to him as a “lifelong joke” and “one of the biggest gasbags in American politics, singlehandedly responsible for massive amounts of terrible emissions.”
“President Biden announced Kerry would have a seat at every table around the world as he combats the climate crisis to meet the existential threat that we face,” per the special envoy’s official State Department biography. He was appointed to the position on Jan. 20, 2021.