Yair Lapid to ‘Post’: If Democrat wins, Netanyahu-led Israel in ‘deep trouble’

Blue and White co-leader says trick is to stand up to president without burning bridges to half of America

Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid speaks at the inauguration of the new Knesset, October 3 2019 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid speaks at the inauguration of the new Knesset, October 3 2019
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel will be in “deep trouble” this November if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still in office and a Democratic candidate wins the US presidential election, Blue and White coleader MK Yair Lapid said Sunday.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Lapid said Netanyahu has damaged the cause of bipartisanship in general, and Israel’s relationship with the Democratic Party in particular.
In a wide-ranging interview that will be published in full this weekend, Lapid also addressed how Blue and White intends to deal with the ongoing problem of Hamas terrorism from Gaza, the party’s stance on the Trump peace plan and what advice late senator John McCain gave him for sleeping well at night.
Talking about Israel’s relations with the Democrats, Lapid asserted that Netanyahu has taken steps during his tenure that have deeply angered the leadership of the party.
Netanyahu’s decision to address Congress to oppose the 2015 Iran deal, which was championed by former president Barack Obama, as well as a recent decision not to meet with Democratic leaders in Washington during his trip to unveil the Trump peace plan, are some of the actions critics say have alienated the Democratic Party.
“I think we’re going to be in deep, deep trouble. The Obama time is going to be just a promo for what is going to happen,” said Lapid, in reference to the troubled relationship between the US and Israeli leaders when Obama was president.
“These are very angry Democrats. Israel used to be a bipartisan issue, it’s not anymore... It’s part of the prime minister’s job to make sure that Israel stays a bipartisan issue in the US, and to maintain the relationship with American Jews, and neither of these things happened in the last four years,” he continued.
Lapid maintained that Democratic leaders are questioning whether Israel really shares their values because of Netanyahu’s actions.
The former finance minister was also highly critical of Netanyahu’s handpicked ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, arguing he had further damaged the relationship between Israel and the Democrats.
“Dermer is not the Israeli ambassador to Washington, he’s the Bibi ambassador to the Trump administration, and this is not what the job requires,” said Lapid.
“If someone is the ambassador, and the most prominent Democratic senators have told me ‘I’m not letting him through my door,’ then he’s not doing his job right. He’s very good at getting Bibi to work with Evangelical leaders, but I’m not sure that’s the job requirement,” he said.
Lapid dismisses often-heard claims that Blue and White would not know how to stand up to a future president like Obama. He said the party’s leaders would know how to safeguard Israeli interests while working together with whomever might be the president to ensure the nation’s relationship with the US continues.
“The trick is not only to stand up to the US president, but doing it without burning bridges to half of the American people,” he said.