They called him “political wizard” and “campaign king” at his rallies.
But the bewitching Benjamin Netanyahu completely missed the fact that the American president is consumed by his own narrow interests and his endless need for validation as God’s gift to mankind.
While most of the world sees Trump as a fool, a clown, entirely irresponsible, tempestuous and lacking any political or international understanding, Netanyahu scurried to his side in awe of the president’s ability, much like his own, to disparage the media, mock the left and humiliate minorities.
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Trump first embraced French President Emmanuel Macron and then barracked him, ridiculed North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and then ushered him into the family of nations.
Now Trump has chosen to turn his back on his friend in Jerusalem at the worst possible time for Netanyahu, proving that when it suits him, the American president can certainly reverse course.
Throughout his recent election campaign, Netanyahu announced his intention to annex the Jordan Valley and various West Bank settlements.
The White House response to this was as chilly as the Jordan River on a winter’s day.
“The United States has not changed its policy,” the statement released by the administration read, making the question of U.S. support for the move a moot point.
Despite Netanyahu’s dire warnings, Trump began a courtship of his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, aiming to find a diplomatic solution to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Netanyahu protested vehemently, but his “good friend” in the White House saw an opportunity for a win, and the Israeli prime minister’s clear concerns went unheeded.
Smitten as he was, the prime minister never considered publicly protesting the initiative, but all around the Middle East and the Gulf, leaders began to read the signs.
Trump and Netanyahu were BFFs no more.That is a blow for Israel.
President Trump moved his embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a mostly symbolic step.
He said he may consider a mutual defense agreement between the two countries – a ridiculous notion, because sending Israeli troops to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban is as unlikely as the U.S. signing a mutual defense agreement with a country that has no recognizable borders and is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons treaty.
The wealthy right-wing American Jews have also grown distant. They have been donating all their millions to finance Trump’s campaign for a second term and the president has no time or need for friends otherwise.
So when Netanyahu failed to win a majority in the Israeli elections for a second time in six months, he did not receive as much as a phone call from Trump. There were not even polite commiserations. Instead, Trump made clear that the country was key, not its leader.
The prime minister’s decision to gamble on Trump failed.
The Jewish state has become a matter of controversy in American politics; the Democrats are angry and American Jews furious.
Regardless of where the elections ultimately lead Israel politically, Netanyahu’s scorched earth approach to Israel’s relations with the United States has damaged it diplomatically.