Much mischief has been made about Joe Biden dragging his feet before telephoning Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, a ritual early gesture for all US presidents as they reaffirm national ties. Israel’s premier was extravagantly indulged by Donald Trump, whose Middle East policies almost ticked off the wishlist of the Israeli right.

Even under Barack Obama, Biden’s former boss, Netanyahu was so confident of his standing in Washington that he felt able to call on the US Congress to repudiate the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, the Obama administration’s signature diplomatic achievement. Congress resisted but Trump did so in 2018 — and now Biden is trying to retrieve the deal...

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