After a meeting with Biden, Herzog believes a deal with Iran is not on the table

Wednesday's meeting focused on Iran and other regional issues, including the maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon, in addition to the recent rise of antisemitism.

US President Joe Biden and Israel President Isaac Herzog, 26 October, 2022. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
US President Joe Biden and Israel President Isaac Herzog, 26 October, 2022.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

WASHINGTON - President Isaac Herzog will conclude his official two-day visit to the US Wednesday night – a visit that included meetings with US President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

His meeting with Biden lasted 90 minutes and was mostly focused on Iran and other regional issues, including the maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon.

“My feelings of friendship and bonding and the unbreakable bond between our nations."

President Herzog

Herzog left the meeting with the impression that the administration is disappointed with the Iranian approach and that negotiating the return to the 2015 nuclear agreement is not on the table right now. The discussion included the recent human rights violations and crackdown on protests, as well as the Iranian drones provision to Russia. Shortly after the meeting, NSC spokesperson John Kirby spoke about the prospects of renewing the negotiations in Iran and said that the two sides are too far apart to have a meaningful dialogue right now. Kirby spoke at the White House daily press briefing.

The issue of the UN Commission of Inquiry was also a part of discussion with Biden, Blinken and Sullivan, and the three told Herzog in their respective meetings that they strongly oppose the recent COI report.

 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets Israeli president Isaac Herzog in Washington, DC, October 25, 2022 (credit: STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL VIA REUTERS) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets Israeli president Isaac Herzog in Washington, DC, October 25, 2022 (credit: STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Discussion on US antisemitism spike

The two Presidents also discussed the recent rise of antisemitism in the US, and Biden reassured Herzog that his administration is committed to fight this troubling trend, according to a person briefed on the content of the meeting. 

In his meeting on Tuesday with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Charles Schumer, Herzog received an invitation to address a Joint Meeting of Congress. “The invitation comes as Israel prepares to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“Across the decades, the United States Congress has been proud to stand in solidarity with Israel on a bipartisan and bicameral basis,” Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer wrote in the letter to President Herzog.  “It is our hope that the Congress will have the opportunity to hear from you at this historic and joyous milestone in the success of the State of Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance.”

Herzog also met with dozens of Jewish leaders, including from AJC, JFNA, B’nai B’rith, Conference of President and other organizations. The rise of antisemitism was the center of discussion, and Herzog said that “clearly as the nation state of the Jewish people we care for our brothers and sisters.” The Israeli President was also asked about possible scenarios for a future coalition after the November 1 elections and told the Jewish leaders that any conversation about possible coalition is premature.

During a photo opportunity at the Oval Office earlier, the US President said that the maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon is "Historic breakthrough," and added that "it took a lot of courage for you to step up and step into it."

He said “it took principle and persistent diplomacy to get it done.”

“I compliment you and I compliment the government,” Biden continued. “This agreement is going to allow the development of energy fields and for both countries to create new hope and economic opportunities for the people of Lebanon [and] enhance stability and security.”

"I've often said, Mr. President, were there not an Israel, we'd have to invent one," said Biden. He also reaffirmed the US has an "ironclad" commitment to Israel

Herzog told the US President that the US is Israel’s “closest, strongest, historical ally.”

“My feelings of friendship and bonding and the unbreakable bond between our nations,” he told Biden.