The Netanyahu predicament among Israel's allies in Washington

In 2015, Netanyahu came to Washington to dynamite Obama's deal with Iran and made a speech in Congress. Obama was trying to delay Congress's new sanctions to make a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu accepted the invitation of Republicans in the House of Representatives and did not coordinate his visit with Obama's White House. Netanyahu's speech at the session, attended by both wings of Congress, was repeatedly applauded. Netanyahu, who tried to end Obama's nuclear talks with Iran by imposing sanctions on Iran by Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, failed. Vice President Biden, who sat behind Netanyahu during his speech to Congress, seems to be facing a similar Netanyahu problem these days.


Shortly after Biden's 'red line' statement regarding a potential Gaza operation, a speech by Chuck Schumer, considered the closest politician to Israel in Congress, caused Democrats to clash with Netanyahu. Schumer said in his speech that Israel needed a leadership change for its own good. Saying "We love Israel to our bones," Schumer spoke, "Palestinian civilians do not suffer for the sins of Hamas." Schumer called for a new election in Israel by saying that Hamas, Israeli radical right-wingers, Netanyahu, and Abbas were obstacles to a two-state solution. Schumer, who said he made this speech as the most loving and supportive politician of Israel, said he did not want young people to hate Israel because of Netanyahu.

After Schumer's speech, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell accused the Democratic leader of interfering in the internal affairs of a friendly democracy. Netanyahu, who allied with Republicans during the Obama era, virtually attended the Republican senators' weekly lunch this Wednesday. Republicans promised support to Netanyahu, saying he was determined to end the Gaza operation by destroying Hamas and only needed financial support. Netanyahu's attempt to attend the Democrats' lunch was blocked by Schumer, who described Schumer's words as unacceptable.


It would not be surprising if Republican support for Netanyahu increased further, given the widening gap between Schumer, who boasted throughout his political career of being one of Israel's strongest supporters, and Biden, who declared himself a Zionist. Biden's characterization of Schumer's speech as a 'good speech' indicates that he is taking a clear stance against Netanyahu. Republicans' presidential candidate Trump, who wants to take advantage of this conflict between Netanyahu and the Democrats, said that Jews who voted for Democrats 'hate everything about their religion and Israel.' House Speaker Mike Johnson said he was considering inviting Netanyahu to Congress, indicating his intention to repeat 2015.

All these developments indicate that Netanyahu's playing in the election year will result in favor of the Republicans. Of course, Biden's support for Israel will continue, but arms shipments may be subject to human rights filters. If a new ceasefire resolution comes to the United Nations, Biden may prefer not to protect Israel. However, these will only mean a 'limited support' rather than a radical change in America's support for Israel. Nevertheless, viewing the Israeli issue from an increasingly partisan perspective and Netanyahu's rapprochement with Republicans will weaken the strength of support for Israel. Given that the Gaza massacres have alienated many, especially young people, Israel's progress toward becoming a 'pariah' seems to accelerate.

Despite Netanyahu's problems with all American presidents since Bill Clinton and not liking Israel's extreme right, America's policy of support for Israel has not changed. This is largely due not only to domestic political reasons but also to America's regional strategy. The refusal of American politics to put pressure on Israel for a two-state solution has been the most important factor in creating a balance in which right-wing leaders like Netanyahu can openly confront the American president. Biden's administration's rhetoric that the only solution is a two-state solution is likely to remain just rhetoric. The real possibility of achieving a fair and final peace process without initiating a full pressure on Israel is not possible. Since neither Democrats nor Republicans are willing to do this, the possibility of achieving lasting peace seems distant. In this case, even friends like Schumer are forced to talk about Israel's risk of losing legitimacy.

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