Benjamin Netanyahu and American Presidents

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in San Jose, California for a six-day visit to the U.S., which includes a meeting with Joe Biden at the United Nations on Wednesday. Biden is the seventh president in office since Benjamin Netanyahu came to work at the Israeli embassy in Washington in 1982. Drawing on Netanyahu’s recent autobiography, Tevi Troy dimensions his relations with these American leaders:

Vladimir Jabotinsky believed that making one’s case forcefully and persistently in a democratic society is the best way to bring about preferred policy outcomes. Bibi Netanyahu turned the idea into a reality.

During the Clinton administration, Netanyahu rose to prime minister after winning a 1996 election to replace acting Prime Minister Shimon Peres following the assassination of Yitzḥak Rabin. To say that Clinton and company were disappointed at the result is an understatement. Clinton actively tried to have Netanyahu defeated in the election, but, he later admitted, “I tried to do it in a way that didn’t overtly involve me.” Clinton hadn’t fooled anyone. When Netanyahu next came to the White House, Clinton remembered that Netanyahu “wanted me to know that he knew I wasn’t for him and he beat us anyway.”

In April 2002, [President George W.] Bush demanded that Israel withdraw its troops engaged in Jenin and Shechem/Nablus operations to stop the terrorist bombings of the second intifada. With Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s blessing, Netanyahu flew to Washington and spoke to a bipartisan group of senators. “I am concerned that the imperative of defeating terror everywhere is being ignored when the main engine of Palestinian terror is allowed to remain intact,” he told them. Netanyahu’s words packed a punch in a Washington still focused on responding to 9/11 terror attacks. The Bush administration returned to its statements that Israel should be allowed to defend itself, which took the pressure off and gave Israel room to maneuver. Once again, Netanyahu had used the Jabotinsky method of developing public pressure to help lead to a desired policy outcome.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Second Intifada, U.S.-Israel relationship

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy