Biden invites Isaac Herzog and Benjamin Netanyahu
By: Leon Cui
Biden invited Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US Congress this week to ease tensions between the countries. This is the first time Netanyahu has visited the US since he re-entered the office in December 2022. Netanyahu said that President Biden made a long, warm phone call with him on Monday evening. This marked a reversal of Biden’s earlier decision not to meet Netanyahu in the near future.
President Biden has described Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition as right-wing extremist. This has been the case since the 1970s, as their voices and decisions have opposed each other since then. The Biden administration has emphasized that this meeting is not a signal of approval. “You shouldn’t take away from the fact that they had a conversation today and that they will meet again that we have less concerns over these judicial reforms, or less concerns over some of the extremist activities and behavior by some members of the Netanyahu cabinet,” said John F. Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council.
Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called Israel a racist state this weekend, although other democratic leaders have clarified “that she does not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist.”
The Biden administration didn’t say whether Netanyahu would be invited to the White House, the usual practice for a close ally. No set date for the visit was planned.