Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) today issued this following statement on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's first meeting with Donald Trump since Trump was inaugurated as president of the United States:
This past weekend, before leaving for Washington, Prime Minister Netanyahu told his Cabinet: 'I have navigated Israeli-U.S. relations in a prudent manner, and I will continue to do so now.'
This assertion beggars disbelief. If Netanyahu truly terms the way he has managed Israel's relations with Washington over the past 8 years to have been 'prudent,' it suggests that he does not grasp the meaning of that word. 'Prudent' does not describe eight years of treating with contempt a U.S. president who consistently acted to support Israel. 'Prudent' does not describe a policy of publicly demeaning and disrespecting that President, undermining U.S. initiatives to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace, mocking U.S. concern over West Bank settlement construction, and treating longstanding U.S. policy – upheld for decades by presidents from both parties – as an unprecedented anti-Israel attack.
Likewise, 'Prudent' does not describe actively working with opponents of the White House in Congress to undercut the President. And 'prudent' does not describe actively working to turn Israel into a partisan issue and opening a deep chasm between Israel and its American Jewish supporters.
Prudent stewardship of Israeli national security interests and of the Israeli public doesn't mean catering to a small minority of Israel's population – West Bank settlers and their ideological cohorts – but rather demonstrating real leadership to advance a historic peace deal with the Palestinians, a deal that most Israelis and Palestinians support.
Prime Minister Netanyahu knows what agenda he should advance in the White House if he wants to demonstrate true statesmanship and prudent leadership. If, however, he wants to continue importing Israel's petty politics to Washington – as he has been doing for years – he will be serving neither the interest of Israel nor that of the United States.