The Biden administration will not say when the president plans on calling newly elected Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory, drawing accusations the U.S. administration is trying to isolate the conservative Jewish leader before he even takes office.
Asked on Thursday afternoon if President Joe Biden has any plans to phone Netanyahu following his victory this week in the Israeli elections, a White House spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, "We don’t have any call to preview at this point."
The Israeli media reported on Thursday that Biden is expected to call Netanyahu some time over the weekend, citing the U.S. president’s packed schedule campaigning around America’s midterm elections. But the White House would not confirm these reports when asked by the Free Beacon.
Biden called Brazil’s newly elected far-left president-elect, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on Monday, just a day after that country’s elections. This discrepancy is fueling accusations the Biden administration is taking a chilly approach to its diplomacy with Netanyahu, who made history by being elected as Israel’s prime minister for the third time.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Free Beacon that the president's delay in calling Netanyahu "is not an accident."
"President Biden rushed to call Lula, a committed anti-American Chavista, but is finding every possible excuse not to call the next Prime Minister of Israel. That is not an accident," Cruz said. "Biden has spent his entire administration undermining America's allies and boosting America's enemies. The next Republican Congress is going to leverage aggressive oversight and legislation to reverse that recklessness."
This is not the first time Biden has been accused of dissing Netanyahu. It took Biden nearly a month to call Netanyahu upon taking office in 2021, fueling speculation Biden was trying to create some distance with Israel after four years of warm relations under former president Donald Trump. When outgoing Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett was elected, it took Biden just two hours to call and congratulate him.
Omri Ceren, a national security adviser for Cruz, said reports that Biden is too busy campaigning to call Netanyahu are "nonsense."
"Biden found time call [sic] Lula the day after his election—and that was on Monday so it's not like Biden wasn't midterm campaigning," Ceren wrote on Twitter. "Also if he calls this weekend, it will still be before the midterms. Why can't this [administration] just admit what their foreign policy is?"
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on Netanyahu's win, even as it became clear he was poised to emerge victorious in the elections. "It is too early to speculate, as you know, on the exact composition of the next governing coalition until all the votes are counted."
Netanyahu’s conservative coalition is set to take over Israel’s government once the results are formally certified on Nov. 9. The Biden administration found a willing partner in Israel's outgoing prime minister Yair Lapid, whose liberal government more closely aligned with the Democratic administration and its effort to funnel millions of dollars to the Palestinian government.
Conflict with the Biden administration is much more likely under Netanyahu’s leadership, particularly in light of the U.S. government’s efforts to reopen diplomacy with the Palestinian government even as it incites attacks against Israel and pays convicted terrorists and their families’ stipends.
Netanyahu enjoyed close relations with former president Donald Trump and helped his administration take the historic step of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital city. The Trump-Netanyahu alliance also brokered a historic set of peace agreements between Israel and its former Arab foes in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The Biden administration, upon taking office, initially had a policy of not referring to these peace agreements by their formal name, the Abraham Accords, the Free Beacon reported at the time.