New Israeli Premier Debuts at White House as Heartland Support Dwindles
While the choreography is not new, the background music is. Although it is the first time in a decade that the American and Israeli leaders posing in the Oval Office are both new to the job, the political landscape framing the photo-op holds more differences than many in the United States or Israel will admit. A new study by the Israel Democracy Institute and Chicago Council on Global Affairs spells out the new reality. It finds that two-thirds of Americans are not choosing sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or favor the Palestinians, and that in the US, the so-called one-state solution, which many argue is the path to stripping the Jewish state of its Jewish character, is the preferred choice of the majority (60%). A main topic of Thursday’s meetings is said to be Iran, which because of Iranian President Raisi’s ascent to office and expected hijinks might allow the Israeli leader some wiggle room in the form of a delay in tackling a sore but vital issue. It’s a certainty that Prime Minister Bennett will not be able to sidestep the often-denied matter of the growing partisan rift in Americans’ support for Israel for long. Despite denials that this could happen at all, the issue of tagging arms sales with a prohibition against using them in fighting Palestinians will be the spark plug. Bennett met on Wednesday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the two discussed regional issues, including the Iranian nuclear program and relations with the Palestinians, as well as the global threat of climate change. In a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Bennett talked about regional, diplomatic and security issues, including the progress of Iran’s nuclear program.