Biden congratulates Netanyahu, says US continues to support 2-state solution

US Jewish groups congratulated the new prime minister but expressed concerns as well.

 US President Joe Biden with Israeli opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu on July 14, 2022 (photo credit: RAANAN COHEN/MAARIV)
US President Joe Biden with Israeli opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu on July 14, 2022
(photo credit: RAANAN COHEN/MAARIV)

WASHINGTON - US President Joe Biden released a statement Thursday, congratulating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on swearing in his sixth government. "I look forward to working with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has been my friend for decades, to jointly address the many challenges and opportunities facing Israel and the Middle East region, including threats from Iran, Biden said in a statement.

The President also noted that "the United States will continue to support the two state solution and to oppose policies that endanger its viability or contradict our mutual interests and values."

"The United States is working to promote a region that’s increasingly integrated, prosperous, and secure, with benefits for all of its people, he added. "From the start of my Administration, we have worked with partners to promote this more hopeful vision of a region at peace, including between Israelis and Palestinians. We aim to continue this important work with Israel’s new government under Prime Minister Netanyahu’s leadership."

US Jewish groups congratulate, express concern

Major US Jewish groups also reacted to the formation of a new government in Israel. The Jewish Federations of North America congratulated incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We have had a long and fruitful relationship with the incoming Prime Minister and we look forward to continuing to work with him and the new government to support the growth and vitality of the Jewish State and to strengthen the relationships between Israel and the North American Jewish community,” the group said.

“Jewish Federations’ commitment to strengthening the ties between Israel and North American Jewry is an eternal one, and the bonds that unite our two communities are unbreakable,” the statement reads. “Our love and commitment to the Jewish State transcends any one government, any one point in time, and any particular policy or statement.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly (credit: GPO/KOBI GIDEON)Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly (credit: GPO/KOBI GIDEON)

“With this principle in mind, it is important to express our significant concerns over statements and positions held by some members of the incoming coalition, which have serious implications for our Jewish communities,” JFNA said. “We will continue to make clear the North American Jewish community’s perspective on relevant government proposals and to advocate for policies and initiatives that help build a welcoming, inclusive and pluralistic society.

Dianne Lob and William Daroff of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, congratulated Netanyahu as well.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu, a longtime friend with whom the Conference has worked since the 1980’s, is deeply committed to the strength of the relationship between Israel and Diaspora communities,” they said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with Prime Minister Netanyahu to deepen the unbreakable bond between America and Israel, to counter the growing threat posed by Iran and its terrorist proxies, to advance the Abraham Accords and other normalization agreements, and to combat the scourge of global antisemitism,” they said. “We will work closely with the new Israeli government, the Biden Administration, and the bipartisan Congressional leadership to advance our common strategic interests and to protect our shared values.”

“We also salute outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid for his leadership and his deep friendship with American Jewry, and look forward to continuing to engage with him over the years ahead,” their statement reads.

The progressive group J Street issued a statement, saying the formation “of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history is deeply troubling for J Street and all those who care about Israeli democracy, human rights, and long-term hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

“The new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rewarding some of the most extreme figures in Israeli politics with key roles, and is preparing to enact highly destructive policies,” J Street said. “Now is the time for the US government, and friends and allies of Israel, to speak out – and prepare to take action to keep this radical coalition in check,” the progressive group added.