Biden discusses Iran, antisemitism with Israeli president
President Biden hosted Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the White House on Wednesday to discuss threats posed by Iran as concern grows over its strengthening relationship with Russia.
Biden emphasized to Herzog his pledge to ensure Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon. The White House expressed concern on Wednesday that Russia may be advising Iran on best practices to manage protests as the Iranian government has violently cracked down on women-led anti-government protests.
Also in the meeting, Biden and Herzog discussed the new maritime agreement between Israel and Lebanon. Biden called it “a historic breakthrough” that’s “going to create new hope and economic opportunities for the people in Lebanon, and it enhances stability and security for the people of Israel.”
The agreement between Lebanon and Israel establishes a sea boundary between the two countries. The border between them has been monitored by United Nations peacekeepers for over 40 years.
Biden’s energy envoy traveled to Beirut on Wednesday as part of the final steps in securing the agreement.
“It took a lot of courage for you to step up and step into it, and it took some real guts, and I think it took principle and persistent diplomacy to get it done. And I compliment you and I compliment the government,” Biden said to Herzog.
Biden in the meeting condemned antisemitism, which is in the spotlight in the U.S. recently amid the backlash and fallout over antisemitic remarks by the rapper Ye. The president highlighted the U.S. support for Israel’s further regional integration into the Arab world.
“Additionally, Biden condemned the persistent scourge of anti-Semitism, including anti-Israel bias in international fora,” according to the White House. “In that regard, the President reaffirmed the United States’ strong opposition to the open-ended and biased nature of the UN Commission of Inquiry established in May 2021, which continues a longstanding pattern of unfairly singling out Israel and does nothing to establish conditions for peace.”
Biden underscored his belief that a two-state solution in the best way towards peace for Israel and Palestine and he and Herzog spoke about the importance of deescalating the security situation in the West Bank.
“They discussed the importance of promoting coexistence and weakening extremists who promote hatred and violence,” according to the White House.
Herzog assumed office in 2021 and this is his first official trip to Washington as president.