Biden finds his limits on Israel

Source: Politico | March 27, 2023 | Nahal Toosi

President Joe Biden asked Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to back off a judicial overhaul plan, but that wasn’t what made him think twice.

The political crisis engulfing Israel is exposing the limits of American influence on the country — limits that are, to some degree, self-imposed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s effort to overhaul Israel’s judiciary is the most direct cause of the recent chaos — prompting huge protests and strikes, with even Israeli military members speaking out in opposition.

Netanyahu’s goal: make changes to Israel’s judicial system that would, among other things, let Israeli lawmakers override court rulings — a move that critics fear will badly damage Israeli democracy.

Over the weekend, Netanyahu fired his defense minister for opposing the overhaul — sparking more protests and exposing cracks in the ruling coalition. On Monday, as more coalition members reportedly threatened to quit, Netanyahu announced he was putting the overhaul on hold and would seek a compromise measure.

Throughout the crisis, whose roots stretch back months, President Joe Biden and his aides tried to strike a balance with Israel: Keeping appeals and criticisms largely private, but going public on occasion with carefully worded statements designed to pressure Netanyahu to back off the overhaul plan. But those U.S. appeals didn’t seem to do the trick. Internal Israeli pressure has clearly been far more powerful.

The big question now is how much influence the United States still has with Netanyahu and what level of pressure it’s willing to apply when Netanyahu or his party take future destabilizing actions.


Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • Discussion
  • Consistent #57640

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.