Will the US Government Assassinate Benjamin Netanyahu?

by | Mar 22, 2024

You may think that Benjamin Netanyahu would be just about the least likely foreign government leader for the United States government to assassinate. After all, he is the prime minister of Israel, a nation to which US President Joe Biden and all top congressional leaders — Democratic and Republican — have expressed their devotion. Also, it appears that Netanyahu will soon address a joint session of the US Congress. But, before disregarding the possibility, consider the fate of South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem.

Diem was held out by the US government as the heroic leader advancing American ideals and opposing the expansion of communism in Vietnam. In May of 1957, two years after Diem became president, Diem was treated as a hero by top United States politicians through his two week visit to America.

Andrew Glass related the spectacle in a May 9, 2018 Politico article. Highlights of the trip included Diem being flown to America on US President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s airplane. Upon the plane landing in the vicinity of Washington, DC, Diem was greeted by Eisenhower and the US secretary of state as well as “full military honors — including a 21-gun salute.” Then, “[a]bout 50,000 people lined the route taken by Diem’s motorcade from the airport to his country’s embassy.” Glass also recounted that, during the visit to America, Diem presented a speech before a joint meeting of the US Senate and House of Representatives at which assembled Congress members gave him a standing ovation.

And the US government and Diem lived happily ever after, right? Wrong. In the final paragraph of his article, Glass noted the fate of Diem five and a half years later:

He was assassinated on Nov. 2, 1963, during a military coup that toppled his regime. President John F. Kennedy secretly sanctioned Diem’s downfall.

It turned out the “hero” Diem was expendable. Ultimately, so also was the Vietnam cause. The US churned through enormous resources and American military members to impose vast destruction in the Vietnam War until abandoning the effort in 1975, leaving the communists to control all of Vietnam.

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on March 14 presented a speech on the Senate floor containing substantial discussion of Netanyahu that may serve as the signal that the US government is in the process of turning against Netanyahu as it did against Diem six decades ago. In the speech, Schumer called himself “a guardian of the people of Israel” and “a staunch defender of Israel.” He also included himself among people who “love Israel in our bones.” Schumer argued in his speech that a two-state solution is in the best interest of Israel and that Netanyahu is one of “four major obstacles” to achieving that objective, while also criticizing Netanyahu’s actions more broadly.

Schumer’s criticism of Netanyahu is quite harsh. Schumer stated:

I have known Prime Minister Netanyahu for a very long time. While we have vehemently disagreed on many occasions, I will always respect his extraordinary bravery for Israel on the battlefield as a younger man.

I believe in his heart he has his highest priority as the security of Israel. However, I also believe Prime Minister Netanyahu has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take the precedence over the best interests of Israel.

He has put himself in coalition with far-right extremists like Ministers Smotrich and Ben-Gvir, and, as a result, he has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows. Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has also weakened Israel’s political and moral fabric through his attempts to co-opt the judiciary. And he has shown zero interest in doing the courageous and visionary work required to pave the way for peace, even before this present conflict.

As a lifelong supporter of Israel, it has become clear to me: The Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after October seventh. The world has changed — radically — since then, and the Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.

Nobody expects Prime Minister Netanyahu to do the things that must be done to break the cycle of violence, to preserve Israel’s credibility on the world stage, and to work towards a two-state solution.

Those comments by Schumer bring to mind the transition of Diem from hero for the cause to impediment to the cause decades back.

Schumer further asserted in his speech that the cause to which Schumer is committed relative to Israel now requires that Netanyahu be moved out of the way. “The US government should demand that Israel conduct itself with a future two-state solution in mind,” declared Schumer. Schumer, in particular, demanded that an election be held so that Netanyahu and his coalition can be removed from power. But, if such an election does not occur or if it occurs without bringing about the regime change Schumer desires, then Schumer demanded further US action to thwart that Israel government. Schumer Stated:

If Prime Minister Netanyahu’s current coalition remains in power after the war begins to wind down, and continues to pursue dangerous and inflammatory policies that test existing US standards for assistance, then the United States will have no choice but to play a more active role in shaping Israeli policy by using our leverage to change the present course.

The day after Schumer presented his speech, US president Joe Biden chimed in that it was “a good speech” and that Biden thought Schumer had “expressed serious concerns shared not only by him but by many Americans.”

Schumer’s speech looks like advocacy for the US government, with its long history of bringing about “regime change” across the world, to jettison Netanyahu from power, all in the name of helping Israel. Indeed, Netanyahu took the comments this way. Regarding Schumer’s comments about him in the Senate speech, Netanyahu stated in a Sunday interview at the CNN show State of the Union:

I think what he said is totally inappropriate. It’s inappropriate to go to a sister democracy and try to replace the elected leadership there. That’s something that Israel, the Israeli public, does on its own, and we’re not a banana republic.

A US effort to remove Netanyahu from power in Israel may be accomplishable without assassinating him. Still, the Diem example suggests assassination could be an option chosen in the effort to achieve this goal. Maybe also, as with Vietnam, we are in the early stage of the disintegration of the US government’s supposed unbreakable devotion to Israel.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

    View all posts
Copyright © 2024 The Ron Paul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.