What Benjamin Netanyahu Achieved, and What His Successors Can Learn from Him

June 21 2021

Eight days ago, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister ended an unprecedented twelve consecutive years in office. Whether he will return to the office is anyone’s guess. David M. Weinberg, while frankly acknowledging Benjamin Netanyahu’s flaws and policy failures, argues that there is much to praise about his tenure. Above all else, Weinberg writes, Netanyahu made Israel strong militarily, diplomatically, and economically:

Israel’s economic attractiveness overwhelmed the nefarious Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which sought to isolate Israel and to strangle it economically. Economic success also was one of the key ingredients of last year’s Abraham Accord peace treaties. Gulf Arab nations marveled at Israel’s technological and economic success and pined to partner with it.

Onto this, Netanyahu layered global diplomatic outreach, aimed at developing new political alliances and business markets for Israel—ranging from India and China to Africa and South America. He also expanded Israel’s diplomatic ties to Russia and Eastern Europe. All this has provided the Jewish state with a more broad-based diplomatic [operation] than ever before, allowing it to maneuver on the global playing field for strategic advantage.

I doubt that this was what Netanyahu was thinking about at the time, but numerous public figures in the Arabian Gulf have told me that more than anything else it was Netanyahu’s defiant speech in Congress [opposing the nuclear deal with Iran] that drove their leaders forward toward open diplomatic relations with Israel. . . . They [also] recognized that Israel is the only country in the region engaged in concrete, daily combat against the Iranians, through covert intelligence operations and targeted strikes.

Prime Minister Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Lapid would do well to embrace Netanyahu’s strategic doctrines (and even to give him some credit), and in so doing lead Israel toward ever-more-robust security and diplomatic achievements.

Read more at David M. Weinberg

More about: Abraham Accords, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel diplomacy, Israeli economy, Israeli politics

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy