Israel’s Apology Tour: Foreign Minister Tells Blinken ‘Mistakes Were Made’ by Netanyahu in U.S.-Israel Relationship

Anthony Blinken and Yair Lapid (Andrew Harnik / Pool / AFP / Getty)
Andrew Harnik / Pool / AFP / Getty

New Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Sunday that “mistakes were made” by the previous Israeli government in the U.S.-Israel relationship, appearing to blame Benjamin Netanyahu for an Obama-era rift and for U.S. Democrats’ shift against Israel.

The Times of Israel reported:

Bipartisan support for Israel in the United States was harmed during the Benjamin Netanyahu years, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Rome on Sunday.

“In the past few years, mistakes were made,” Lapid said in a statement before their meeting. “Israel’s bipartisan standing was hurt. We will fix those mistakes together.”

Speaking at the opening of their first meeting since he became foreign minister, Lapid said he had spoken with Democratic and Republican leaders over the past few days.

“I reminded them all that Israel shares America’s most basic values — freedom, democracy, free markets, the constant search for peace.”

Though the American left blamed Netanyahu for the rift at the time, it was the deliberate result of Obama administration policy to create “distance” between the U.S. and Israel, as former Israel ambassador and historian Michael Oren wrote.

Obama also pursued a nuclear deal with Iran over Israeli objections, shared by both left and right there. Under his influence, and with the support of group like J Street, more Democrats began opposing Israel and Israeli policies openly.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to oppose Obama’s pursuit of the Iran deal openly, addressing a special joint session of Congress to make his case. Left-wing Democrats boycotted his speech, enraged by open opposition to Obama.

While Netanyahu’s approach was controversial, it helped build opposition to the Iran deal. His objections to the deal were echoed by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, under whom U.S.-Israel relations were their strongest.

The left-wing drift of American politics in the wake of the “Resistance” to Trump brought anti-Israel — and antisemitic — politicians like Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to the fore.

Lapid did not, apparently, criticize them.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, speaking to Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM 125, said he had advised the new Israeli government not to waste time criticizing its predecessor, but to prove itself instead.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it). His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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