Kirby Dodges Questions About Netanyahu

White House National Security spokesman John Kirby avoided answering questions on President Biden’s view of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. During an interview on Fox News, Shannon Bream asked Mr. Kirby if the President believes Netanyahu is a “bigot” and an “impediment to peace.” Kirby replied that the two men had known each other for a long time and didn’t agree on everything. He emphasized that the leaders have a good relationship and speak openly to each other, and regardless of differences, “He is the Prime Minister of Israel, and we respect the sovereignty of the Israeli people.”

Similarly, Mr. Kirby would not answer the question when asked by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on March 15. Mitchell posed the question after President Biden praised a speech by Democrat Senate leader Chuck Schumer, during which he referred to Mr. Netanyahu as an “obstacle to peace.”

After mentioning the President’s praise of Schumer’s speech, Mitchell asked Mr. Kirby three times to confirm if Biden agrees that Netanyahu is an obstacle to peace. On all three occasions, he responded that President Biden will continue to work with Prime Minister Netanyahu because he is the Israeli leader. Ms. Mitchell noted that she had asked the question three times, and it had not been answered three times.

Mr. Schumer delivered the contentious speech in the Senate days earlier, calling for the Israeli people to replace Netanyahu, who he said was one of four obstacles to a two-state solution in the Middle East. Schumer said Netanyahu has “lost his way” and has prioritized his political position over the best interests of the Israeli people.

The other obstacles, according to Schumer, are Hamas and the people who “tolerate their evil ways,” right-wing Israelis in society and in government, and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr. Netanyahu says he will not accept Palestinian rule over the Gaza Strip as it presents a security threat to Israel. “I will not compromise,” he said.