Gantz Says ‘No Provoking’ of US Going Forward

Wants to keep talks on Iran private, not in the media

Visiting the US, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has tried to set out a change in Israel’s tone toward the US. In these comments he took a shot at Prime Minister Netanyahu for “provoking” the US and doing too much of his US diplomacy through the media.

Israel’s relationship to the US has long centered around intense lobbying and getting embarrassingly large amounts of military aid ($58 billion in 20 years, more than all other US aid recipients combined). Netanyahu has been increasingly politicizing US relations.

Netanyahu’s shift was greatly driven by the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu opposed the US deal loudly, heavily lobbying against it, and praising former President Trump for withdrawing the US from the deal. As Biden negotiates to save the deal, Netanyahu has again been very publicly critical.

There is concern that Netanyahu might damage US ties in the long run, and Gantz is pushing a much softer tone, saying he thinks Israel should keep its disagreements on Iran to private discussions, and most importantly out of the media.

Israel’s position probably won’t steer the US on Iran at any rate, but keeping it behind closed doors would be a relief to Biden Administration efforts. The problem is that taking disagreements to the Israel-sympathetic press was often about raising pressure on US officials, and Gantz’s position will probably come under deep criticism within Israel the minute they don’t get their way on a big issue.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.