Last week, President Biden criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform plan and told reporters that he had no plans to invite Netanyahu to the White House, the Jerusalem Post reported.
While speaking to reporters last Tuesday, Biden called on Netanyahu to put an end to his planned judicial reforms, saying he hopes that the prime minister “walks away from it.” When asked if he would be inviting Netanyahu to the White House, the president said he wouldn’t “in the near term.”
Biden’s criticism of the Netanyahu government prompted heated debate in Israel, with those supportive of the prime minister accusing the American president of crossing the line by interfering in Israel’s domestic policies. Those on the Left, however, argued that it is Netanyahu who is causing a rift with Israel’s closest ally.
In response to the president’s criticism, Netanyahu said that he has known Joe Biden for more than 40 years and appreciates his “longstanding commitment to Israel.” He said the link between Israel and the United States is “unbreakable” and can withstand “occasional differences.”
But Netanyahu also said that as a sovereign nation, Israel will make its decisions based on “the will of its people” and not on “pressures from abroad,” including from its closest allies.
However, the president insisted that his administration is not interfering with Israel’s domestic affairs.
When asked by reporters on Wednesday if she was concerned about Netanyahu’s judicial reform plan, Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters that she was. Harris said that while the US and Israel have a “long and enduring relationship” based on “an intertwined history,” she believes that the two countries must also share “the importance of democracy.”
In a letter to the US Congress, Dan Illouz, a Knesset member from Netanyahu’s Likud party, described Biden’s remarks as a “blatant intervention” into Israel’s “democratic process” and said it “crossed a red line.” He called on Congress to use its authority to ensure that “problematic statements” like Biden’s “do not happen again.”