Friday, September 29, 2023

Benjamin Netanyahu is expected this Monday in the United States… but not in Washington

A few months after the president of Israel, Isaac Herzog, it is the turn of the prime minister of the Hebrew State to visit the United States. Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be in Silicon Valley this Monday, before attending the UN General Assembly in Manhattan. On the sidelines of the meetings in New York, he will speak with Joe Biden, who is very critical of his action.

Silicon Valley before New York

It is in San Francisco where the Israeli leader lands this Monday, September 18, where he will meet with several business leaders from “Silicon Valley.”. According to the Prime Minister’s office, there will be a lot of talk about “artificial intelligence” in California, where Benjamin Netanyahu, attached to Israel’s “start-up nation” image, will meet in particular with Elon Musk, the turbulent founder of Tesla and recent buyer of X, ex-Twitter.

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The head of the Israeli Government will later travel to New York, where he will speak next Friday before the UN General Assembly. On this occasion, talks are planned with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Korean Head of State Yoon Suk-yeol, as well as Volodymyr Zelensky and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. However, the most anticipated meeting is the one on Wednesday, September 20, with Joe Biden.

Antisemitism and Elon Musk

The meeting with Elon Musk, during the California leg of this trip, raises many questions. Not because of the expected debates about artificial intelligence, which have caused concern since the appearance of “deepfakes” and ChatGPT, but because of the numerous accusations of anti-Semitism directed at the Silicon Valley star.

According Washington PostBenjamin Netanyahu’s West Coast stop was added at the last minute to the prime minister’s schedule to try to ease tensions between Elon Musk and a major American organization, the Anti-Defamation League, which accuses X’s new owner of anti-Semitism.

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This controversy follows Elon Musk’s recurring attacks against financier George Soros, a favorite target of figures on the global authoritarian right, from Donald Trump to Viktor Orban, including Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and candidate for the Republican nomination for 2024.

Lingering tensions with Joe Biden

The other highlight of this stay is, therefore, Wednesday’s meeting with the American president in New York. There is no shortage of topics of discussion between the two leaders. they will approach “a series of bilateral and regional issues, for a more stable, prosperous and integrated region” and compare “their approaches on how to counter and deter Iran,” Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, told reporters.

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But the atmosphere between the two men is icy. The two leaders have not seen each other since the return of Benjamin Netanyahu to the head of the Israeli government at the end of 2022. Joe Biden has openly criticized in recent months the judicial reform project carried out by a government that he described as the most “extremist” of the history of the country.

The Biden administration also makes no secret of its opposition to settlement expansion in the West Bank, and has repeatedly called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

However, as a sign of appeasement, the American president agreed in July, during a warm meeting in Washington with President Isaac Herzog, to meet with the Israeli prime minister before the end of the year. But without opening the doors of the Oval Office.

Times of National
Times of National
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