Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a March 21, 2019, press conference with Secretary Pompeo in Jerusalem. Photo: Amir Cohen/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week to meet with President Trump and speak at the annual policy conference of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group.

Why it matters: Beyond the official reasons for Netanyahu's trip, the embrace of Trump and other American supporters could be valuable to his political prospects. With an election only two weeks away, Netanyahu faces serious legal challenges and is behind in the polls — perhaps his most precarious electoral position in decades.

Context: The visit comes at a divisive moment around Israel among Democrats, highlighted by sparring between Rep. Ilhan Omar and senior Democratic lawmakers over her comments on the motivations of Israel supporters.

Netanyahu's AIPAC speech is likely to focus on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — the group's top priority, after military aid to Israel and constraints on Iran. He may emphasize Israel's greater acceptance in the Arab world, but don’t expect much fanfare about the Palestinian issue.

Flashback: In March 2015, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress and attacked President Barack Obama’s Iran diplomacy. That speech similarly doubled as a campaign ad for his re-election to the premiership.

Between the lines: Both leaders stand to gain from the visit, and Trump has given Netanyahu an additional boost by vowing to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Yet there are critical policy issues in play that can't be papered over:

  1. Iran continues to expand its reach in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The Trump administration’s attempt to isolate Iran by withdrawing from the nuclear deal has been ineffective at best; by undermining alliances, it's left the U.S. and Israel more alone in their efforts.
  2. Syria is dominated by Russia and Iran, with Assad firmly in power. Trump’s Golan Heights decision will create new tensions as military activity between Israel and Iran continues.
  3. Jared Kushner's peace plan has no support from the Palestinians. While that will not advance Israel's long-term security, Netanyahu may benefit in the meantime, as his coalition partners panicked over reports Kushner could address “borders.” Now that Netanyahu has secured his most significant near-term ask — American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — prospects for two-state peacemaking under his leadership are dim.

The bottom line: Netanyahu's visit will likely do little to resolve Israel's most pressing security concerns, and could instead prioritize his political survival over policy.

Joel Rubin is president of the Washington Strategy Group and the former deputy assistant secretary of state for the House of Representatives.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.