Joe Biden’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be getting worse by the minute.
NBC News reported on Monday that Biden regularly criticizes the Israeli leader in private and has repeatedly described him as an “a**hole.”
According to the report, Biden is frustrated that he has been unable to convince Netanyahu to ease his military campaign in Gaza, a reality that is causing immense divisions among particularly the left-wing of the Democratic Party:
President Joe Biden has been venting his frustration in recent private conversations, some of them with campaign donors, over his inability to persuade Israel to change its military tactics in the Gaza Strip, and he has named Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the primary obstacle, according to five people directly familiar with his comments.
Biden has said he is trying to get Israel to agree to a cease-fire, but Netanyahu is “giving him hell” and is impossible to deal with, said the people familiar with Biden’s comments, who all asked not to be named.
“He just feels like this is enough,” one of the sources was quoted as saying. “It has to stop.”
In fact, Biden’s frustration is so great that he is said to have resorted to using contemptuous and foul language:
Biden has in recent weeks spoken privately about Netanyahu, a leader he has known for decades, with a candor that has surprised some of those on the receiving end of his comments, people familiar with them said. His descriptions of his dealings with Netanyahu are peppered with contemptuous references to Netanyahu as “this guy,” these people said. And in at least three recent instances, Biden has called Netanyahu an “asshole,” according to three of the people directly familiar with his comments.
Despite his private discontent, the White House has consistently declared its support for Israel in the wake of the Hamas terror attacks last October and has backed Netanyahu’s efforts to cleanse the Gaza strip of Islamic militants.
Biden and other White House officials have become increasingly divided about the human cost of the military campaign, which is said to have surpassed 28,000, many of whom are innocent civilians.
Democratic strategists are warning that steadfast support for Israel is damaging Biden’s reelection prospects among young people and in several key states such as Michigan, which has a large Islamic population far more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.
Meanwhile, Axios reported that Netanyahu, who had a far stronger relationship with Donald Trump, had protested with Biden over a recent executive order sanctioning Israeli settlers accused of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank:
Netanyahu’s initial response to Biden’s executive order was very mild. But his protest to Biden this weekend signals he increasingly believes the order, which also allows sanctions on Israeli officials directly or indirectly involved in settler violence, could have unprecedented implications for the entire settlements enterprise in the West Bank.
Netanyahu last week said he told Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Jerusalem that the order was “inappropriate” and “highly problematic.”
When asked about the divisions by NBC, a National Security Council spokesperson responded: “The president has been clear where he disagrees with Prime Minister Netanyahu, but this is a decades-long relationship that is respectful in public and in private.”