Would Biden just invite Netanyahu to the White House already?

Opinion: It's time to put an end to the pathetic games and hints, the US president needs to talk with the Israeli prime minister face to face, and make clear the implications of the judicial overhaul and the messianic coalition
Dr. Nachman Shai|
We can all stop dropping hints, inferring presumptions and raising speculations; Let's just say it as it is – The Americans don't want Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington D.C.
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Still, I have a message to communicate to them, and especially to President Joe Biden: Take him in, it's time to invite your friend over so that this pathetic saga can end.
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Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden  have not met at the White House since Netanyahu became prime minister again at the end of last year
Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden  have not met at the White House since Netanyahu became prime minister again at the end of last year
Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden have not met at the White House since Netanyahu became prime minister again at the end of last year
(Photo: AFP)
Half a year has gone by since a new government was formed in Israel. And yes, it's a right-wing, extremist, messianic government that has made every mistake possible and continues to do so.
From the very beginning, the Americans made it clear that they will not deal with certain parties, and especially not with specific individuals like Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir. Smotrich traveled all the way to Washington to find that the door was shut in his face before he even arrived. The Americans insisted that they have no intention of talking to this man, and that was before his call to “wipe out” the West Bank town of Huwara, which he called a "slip of the tongue." Since then, several ministers have also managed to provoke the Americans and consequently make it onto the persona non grata list.
This week, the American embassy in Israel celebrated the Fourth of July, yet half of the Israeli government was not invited to the festivities. Though such a blunt snub has never happened before, but Israel chooses to ignore the red flag.
The national security advisors of each country talk among themselves, the US secretary of state chats with the Israeli foreign minister, the State Department spokesperson makes daily statements and, of course, Biden himself made a short, less than a minute-long, clear statement, in which he said that as long as judicial reform is on the table, Netanyahu will not be attending. While there is no active boycott against Israel, America is getting its message across in a subtle and cautious, yet very transparent, manner.
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Israeli and American flags
Israeli and American flags
Officials from Israel and the United States still talk to each other
(Photo: AP)
Biden's stance has its advantages. It is gradually hampering the judicial overhaul, even if it isn't bringing it to a complete halt. Last week, in a public diplomacy campaign, during a series of interviews on American television, Netanyahu tried to communicate with the U.S. government. He stated, in English, that the override clause is out, and that the reasonableness bill is in. Nonetheless, the bottom line was clear – we are moving forward. This certainly did not remedy the government's reputation in Washington.
However, at the moment, the disadvantages of Biden's stubbornness outweigh the advantages. A visit to Washington will no longer be the victory lap Netanyahu dreamed of. Likewise, recent trips to European capitals ended in disappointment, and our democratic European friends have turned their noses up at Israel's new judicial ideas. This is surely not what the prime minister hoped for.
A visit to Washington will shine a spotlight on Netanyahu as he receives both public and personal criticism. Outside of the White House, Israelis and local Jews will await him with protests; Inside the executive mansion, the Americans will remind him that the special relationship with the land of the free is based on the common values of the moral foundations and components of democracy. There is no going around it.
A country under whose government citizens carry out pogroms on Palestinians, ultimately annexes territories in the West Bank, completely neglects a national minority group, oppresses women, and threatens the LGBTQ+ community cannot be a moral ally to the U.S. Such a country can most likely remain a partner for meeting global and regional interests, continue to cooperate on security and intelligence matters, and maybe even gain some diplomatic support. But remember: national interests are not timeless, but rather dynamic – One day you're in, and the next day you're out.
Last week, it was announced that Netanyahu responded positively to an invitation to visit Beijing. The Chinese smell blood – they identified the breach beginning to form in the Israel-U.S. relationship, and are swooping in. Meanwhile, they are singlehandedly building half of the state of Israel.
After the Democratic Party has slipped away from our government's hold, it's now the Republicans' turn to turn their backs on Israel. America may be divided and torn from within, but one of the few things it can agree on is China – China is the enemy, and an ally of its enemy will struggle to be its friend.
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שי ג'ינפינג בנימין נתניהו ג'ו ביידן
שי ג'ינפינג בנימין נתניהו ג'ו ביידן
Benjamin Netanyahu's announced visit to see Xi Jinping in China is not meant to be a stick in Joe Biden's eye
(Photo: AFP, AP, EPA)
Meanwhile, Netanyahu forbids his ministers from traveling to the U.S. Having no other choice, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets his American counterpart in Brussels, forced to make logistical adjustments while dire security interests like Iran are at stake.
It's time to put an end to this. We would all be better off if Biden were to invite the prime minister to the White House and speak to him face to face. Two nights at Blair House will not sweeten the bitter pill awaiting Netanyahu there. It's better for Netanyahu to rip off the Band-Aid and face the anger at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in the Jewish community. You wanted a visit? You got it. For the sake of all Israeli citizens, for the sake of the Jewish community in the U.S., and for the sake of the relationship between the two countries, this bickering must be resolved.
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