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Yair Lapid: if Democrats win US presidential election, Israel in ‘big trouble’

February 17, 2020 at 12:23 pm

Yair Lapid during the final stage of Blue and White election campaign in Tel Aviv, 15 September 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli opposition politician Yair Lapid believes that Israel will be in “deep trouble” if a Democratic candidate wins the US presidential election later this year.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, which will be published in full this weekend, Lapid – number two in the Blue and White list as head of the Yesh Atid party – accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of damaging ties with the Democratic Party during his tenure.

According to the paper, “talking about Israel’s relations with the Democrats, Lapid asserted that Netanyahu has taken steps during his tenure that have deeply angered the leadership of the party”.

Assessing the possibility of a Democratic president in the White House, Lapid expressed concern.

“I think we’re going to be in deep, deep trouble. The Obama time is going to be just a promo for what is going to happen”, said Lapid, referring to the tension that plagued US-Israeli relations when Netanyahu and Obama clashed over issues like the Iran deal and West Bank settlements.

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“These are very angry Democrats”, Lapid continued.

“Israel used to be a bipartisan issue, it’s not anymore…It’s part of the prime minister’s job to make sure that Israel stays a bipartisan issue in the US, and to maintain the relationship with American Jews, and neither of these things happened in the last four years”, he stated.

Lapid, a former finance minister, also criticised Netanyahu’s choice of Ron Dermer as ambassador to the US, arguing that the diplomat has contributed to the deteriorating in Israel-Democrats relations.

“Dermer is not the Israeli ambassador to Washington, he’s the Bibi ambassador to the Trump administration, and this is not what the job requires”, said Lapid.

“If someone is the ambassador, and the most prominent Democratic senators have told me ‘I’m not letting him through my door,’ then he’s not doing his job right. He’s very good at getting Bibi to work with Evangelical leaders, but I’m not sure that’s the job requirement,” he added.

Lapid claimed that Blue and White would better safeguard Israel’s interests in terms of relations with the US. “The trick is not only to stand up to the US president, but doing it without burning bridges to half of the American people,” he said.

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