US 'concerned' about Israel’s reputation due to its war in Gaza

AFP / Said Khatib

US National Public Radio said that President Joe Biden's administration is concerned about the damage that could be caused to Israel's reputation due to its war in Gaza.

According to a US State Department memo, a copy of which was obtained by National Public Radio, the Biden administration is concerned that Israel is making a "major strategic mistake" by ignoring the severe damage (that may extend for generations) that could be caused to Israel's reputation around the world due to its war in Gaza.

"The Israelis seemed oblivious to the fact that they face significant, perhaps generational, damage not only to their reputation in the region but elsewhere in the world," the memo said.

She added: "We are concerned that the Israelis are making a major strategic mistake in repairing the damage to their reputation."

The State Department memo recommended pressuring Israeli officials "at the highest levels."

The stark differences between the two countries' views reflect the widening gap between Israel and its biggest ally over Tel Aviv's behaviour in the war, as Palestinian civilians face constant bombing, mass displacement and extreme hunger.

The dispute deepened on Friday when Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, where the American official urged Netanyahu not to launch an Israeli operation in the city of Rafah.

"It risks killing more civilians, creating greater chaos in the provision of humanitarian assistance, and risks further isolating Israel around the world and jeopardizing its long-term security and standing," Blinken said.

For his part, Netanyahu said that Israel would implement the Rafah operation without American support if necessary.

According to the memo, Deputy Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Emmanuel Nahshon, disagreed with the American assessment that Israel's global reputation has been damaged and said that public opinion polls found that a "silent majority" of people in the United States and Europe continue to support Israel, and blamed the TikTok algorithm, which he claimed favoured pro-Palestinian content, in turning young people against Israel.

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