Thousands of Israeli academics urge President Biden and UN to avoid Netanyahu during his visit to the US


JERUSALEM:More than 3,500 Israeli signatories, including prominent figures like renowned author David Grossman and accomplished painter Tamar Getter, have recently penned an open letter urging President Joe Biden and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to refrain from engaging with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his impending visit to New York next week.

The letter strongly condemns Netanyahu, citing his alleged role in exacerbating internal divisions among Israeli citizens, endangering national security and the economy, and neglecting the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It further contends that since the inception of his right-wing government, Netanyahu’s coalition has relentlessly pursued strategies to weaken Israel’s democratic institutions, diminish the influence of the Supreme Court, suppress media independence, and dismantle the few remaining safeguards that protect the nation’s well-being.

This open letter underscores the palpable divide between Israel’s far-right leadership and segments of its population, highlighting the growing discord within the country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has announced his upcoming trip to the United States next week, where he is scheduled to meet with high-tech industry leaders in California before making his way to New York to deliver an address at the United Nations.

Notably, Netanyahu’s public itinerary currently lacks any mention of a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House. Earlier this year, President Biden made it clear that he had no immediate plans to hold discussions with Netanyahu.

The shift towards a more right-wing stance under Netanyahu’s leadership, which began when his extremist government assumed office late last year, has placed considerable strain on the crucial relationship between Israel and its primary supporter, the United States.