Trump Criticizes Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Being Disloyal 

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During the Trump administration, American-Israeli relations were at a high point as Donald Trump Donald Trump and then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged a strong personal and diplomatic relationship. In that time. the Trump administration moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. 

However, the Trump-Netanyahu relationship appears to be fraying in the present according to an Axios report. “I haven’t spoken to him since,” Trump commented about the former Israeli prime minister. “F**k him.”

Trump repeatedly criticized Netanyahu during two interviews for Barak Ravid’s book , “Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East.” 

Trump was enraged when Netanyahu praised President-elect Biden last year for his electoral victory as Trump was attempting to dispute the election irregularities that took place that cycle. 

“The first person that congratulated [Biden] was Bibi Netanyahu, the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with. … Bibi could have stayed quiet. He has made a terrible mistake,” Trump declared.

Netanyahu was unseated on June 13, 2021 by a coalition led by Naftali Bennett, of the Yamina party. As Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister, Netanyahu is looking to get back in power. However, he is currently going through a corruption trial. Netanyahu is leaning on his relationship with Trump as a major selling point in his quest to retake power. However that could be in jeopardy with Trump’s latest comments, which indicates that he felt betrayed by Netanyahu last year. 

Trump was also of the view that Netanyahu doesn’t want  to forge peace with the Palestinians and was using him to foment conflict with Iran. I’m addition, Trump believed that he saved Netanyahu’s political career. 

“I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi. But I also like loyalty. The first person to congratulate Biden was Bibi. And not only did he congratulate him, he did it on tape,” Trump told Ravid.

The former U.S. president was initially shocked when his wife Melania shared Netanyahu’s video him. Trump claimed, “He was very early — like, earlier than most. I haven’t spoken to him since. F**k him.”

“For Bibi Netanyahu, before the ink was even dry, to do a message, and not only a message, to do a tape to Joe Biden talking about their great, great friendship — they didn’t have a friendship, because if they did, [the Obama administration] wouldn’t have done the Iran deal,” Trump declared. “And guess what, now they’re going to do it again.”

Trump cited the U.S.’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights as a move that potentially saved Netanyahu  “right before the election” in April 2019, when Netanyahu was behind in the polls. “He would have lost the election if it wasn’t for me.” There may be something to Trump’s assertion. According to the Israeli Institute for Democracy, 66% of Israelis thought Trump’s move improved Netanyahu’s political position.

Ravid spoke with Trump in July. With regards to Netanyahu’s exit from office, Trump said, “Well, I like him, but he has been there a long time.” Trump continued voicing his disappointment with Netanyahu, saying “I can tell you that people were very angry with him when he was the first one to congratulate Biden.”

Trump added:

The video was almost like he’s begging for love. And I said, ‘My, my how things change.’ So, you know, I was disappointed. That hurt him badly with the people of Israel. As you know, I’m very popular in Israel. I think it hurt him very badly.

This should serve as a reminder that despite all the talk about Israel being America’s “greatest ally”, it has political interests that don’t necessary align with American interests. To be sure, no one is calling for the destruction of the Israeli state. Nevertheless, the U.S. should reconsider its relationship with the Jewish state, especially regarding military aid.  

Since 1971, the U.S. government has supplied $243.9 billion in foreign aid (adjusted for inflation) and the country has been the largest recipient of military aid in that time period. 

Although Israel has reached first world status in the past years, it still receives substantial military. In 2020, Israel boasted a per capita GDP of  $43,689 according to the International Monetary Fund and currently has a total GDP of $402.64 billion. This is a country that has the resources to defend itself. With the Abrahams Accords — an agreement where nations like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates took steps towards normalizing relations with Israel — in effect, Israel now has a growing number of countries that want to cooperate with it.

Israel is a mature nation with nuclear deterrence and growing international recognition. It’s more than capable of defending itself and handling its own affairs without the U.S. having to baby it or getting entangled in its internal affairs. 

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