Even though the United States and Israeli Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu have significant differences, and the Biden administration may be concerned about potential members of his incoming right-wing government, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared on Sunday that the United States would continue to support Israel without reservation.
Blinken said the United States would remain a steadfast ally of Israel even as it pursues goals that Netanyahu has opposed, such as a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and restoration of the stalled 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in a speech to a left-leaning group that some on the right accuse of being too sympathetic to the Palestinians and Iran.
The U.S. “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, a commitment that has never been greater than it is today,” he added, “has always been underpinned by the partnership — and all that it has created for the people of our nations and the globe.”
The Biden administration, according to Blinken, would deal with Netanyahu’s administration based on its policies rather than its members’ personalities, even prospective senior Cabinet members who have previously voiced strident anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab opinions.
Blinken cautioned that the United States would oppose any actions that marginalize Palestinians, reduce their “horizon for optimism,” or make a two-state solution more challenging. According to him, doing things would be bad for Israel’s long-term security or the Jewish democratic state’s future.
As we have done with previous governments, he continued, “We expect the incoming Israeli government to continue to work with us to further our common principles.”
We will evaluate the government’s performance based on its policies rather than its members’ personalities. We will hold it to the shared standards we have developed over the past seven decades of our relationship,” Blinken said.
U.S. authorities have already raised the alarm about at least two right-wing Israeli MPs, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, who may hold posts in Netanyahu’s government.
A prestigious position that would put him in charge of Israel’s police force has been given to Ben-Gvir, a politician notorious for his anti-Arab animus and provocative acts. Smotrich, the leader of the anti-Palestinian and anti-gay Religious Zionism party, has been handed control over the Israeli agency for Palestinian civil affairs.
The Biden administration will “speak honestly” with the new Israeli government and the Palestinians, whose leaders, according to Blinken, must refrain from inciting unrest that jeopardizes a two-state solution. Blinken noted that the United States and Israel had had a relationship for seven decades.
He emphasized that the Biden administration is seeking to expand former President Donald Trump’s “Abraham Accords,” which saw numerous Arab countries repair relations with Israel, and is continuing to back its predecessor’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He applauded Israel and Lebanon’s recent agreement to establish a maritime border.
Blinken made his remarks at the J Street annual conference. This pro-Israel organization has set itself apart from the much older and larger American Israel Public Affairs Committee by championing causes frequently backed by the Democratic party.