Feb 27, 2024 - World

Bibi pushes back against Biden: Most Americans still support Israel

President Biden sits with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the Israeli war cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv on Oct. 18, 2023. Photo: Miriam Alster/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden sits with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the Israeli war cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv on Oct. 18, 2023. Photo: Miriam Alster/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday pushed back against President Biden's recent warning that Israel will lose support worldwide if its "incredibly conservative" government continues down its current path.

Why it matters: Netanyahu's comments, framed by his office as a "response to President Biden," underscore the growing tensions between two leaders as the war in Gaza drags on.

What they're saying: Biden said on NBC's "Late Night With Seth Meyers" show Monday night "Israel has had the overwhelming support of the vast majority of nations."

  • But if it continues on its current path "with this incredibly conservative government they have, and Ben-Gvir and others…they're gonna lose support from around the world, and that is not in Israel's interest," Biden said, referring to Israel's ultranationalist National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
  • Biden said, however, "there is a path forward," which he sees as a hostage deal with a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan. "That gives us time to begin to move in directions that a lot of Arab countries are prepared to move in," he said. "For example, Saudi Arabia's ready to recognize Israel."

Netanyahu pushed back on Tuesday, claiming in a video that he's led a successful campaign aimed at "countering international pressure to end the war ahead of time and mobilize support for Israel."

  • He appeared to cite a recent Harvard-Harris poll that found more than 80% of those surveyed in the U.S. supported Israel more than Hamas in the current conflict.
  • "This gives us more backing to continue the war until the total victory," Netanyahu said.

Yes, but: A recent AP/Norc poll showed that 50% of U.S. adults surveyed in January said they believed Israel's actions had gone too far. That was up from 40% in November.

The big picture: Biden has grown increasingly frustrated with Netanyahu and Israel's actions during the war.

  • The U.S. president earlier this month called the Israeli military operation in Gaza "over the top" and in January he told Netanyahu he's not in it for a year of war.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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