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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

With four more years of Obama in Washington, Israel needs an iron fist in Jerusalem

Ruthie Blum fires the first shot in the Israeli Knesset campaign, writing that Israel needs an 'iron fist' to stand up to the newly reelected Hussein Obama.

Now that the U.S. drama is finally over, Israel will move into high gear toward its own elections, to be held on Jan. 22. And though Yachimovich made a point Wednesday morning of stating that Israel has no business “interfering” in the political process of the United States, she and other oppositionists will be ruthless in exploiting it for the purpose of defeating Netanyahu and his joint list with Israel Beytenu’s Avigdor Lieberman.
What they will assert is that Netanyahu has antagonized the U.S. president and therefore he is not fit to run this country. Rather than placing the blame for deteriorating U.S.-Israel relations where it belongs — squarely on the shoulders of the current American administration — they will accuse Netanyahu of having the “chutzpa” to demand the imposition of “red lines” on the Iranian regime and its nuclear program.
In addition, they will increase the volume on what they have been shouting from the rooftops for the past four years: that “Israel couldn’t have a better friend in the White House than Obama.”
They conveniently omit Obama’s stated goals for his presidency: to show the Muslim world and the rest of the international community that the United States is not superior to any other country, but rather one among many nations, each of which is exceptional in its own way. Though most politicians rarely live up to their promises, Obama has certainly lived up to that one. In fact, he has sad that he is proud to “lead from behind.”
This makes what Channel 2’s Arad Nir’s response to Tuesday’s outcome particularly laughable: “Israel must now seek to align itself with the White House,” he said. “After all, America is the world’s greatest superpower.”

Yair Lapid, who just left the media world to head a new political party, also rushed to reassure his potential supporters that Obama is totally pro-Israel, pointing to his veto at the U.N. of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood and to his financial and military cooperation with the Jewish state. He made no mention of the role of Congress where standing by Israel is concerned.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu, who announced that he “will continue to work with President Obama to protect the security interests of Israeli citizens,” is scheduled to meet with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to arrange a congratulatory call to Obama. It is interesting that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas simply picked up the phone and dialed the White House himself.
This should not be cause to oust Netanyahu, however. On the contrary, when there is a less-than-friendly commander-in-chief occupying the Oval Office, it is more crucial than ever to have a leader in Jerusalem who safeguards Israel’s security interests with an iron fist. American Jews, a majority of whom voted for Obama, may have told themselves otherwise. But this is because they won’t let anything get in the way of their allegiance to the Democratic Party, not because of ill will toward Israel. Indeed, if they really believed that Obama’s posture on the Islamic Republic was enhancing its ability to produce nuclear bombs with which to threaten Israel’s existence, it is unlikely that they would support him. Indeed, it is Obama’s treatment of Israel on the one hand and kowtowing to the radical Islamist world on the other that led to fewer Jews voting for him this time than they did four years ago. It is for this reason, as well, that a majority of Americans living in Israel cast their absentee ballots for Mitt Romney.

Bibi now looks like a genius for making Israeli elections as early as possible - limiting the amount of time that both his Israeli and American opposition have to get organized against him. Unlike the US, campaigning in the Israeli broadcast media is limited to half an hour of commercials (for all parties combined) morning and evening, so there won't be a lot of SuperPAC ads here. There are real limits to how much Obama can do to hurt Bibi.

But is Bibi the iron fist? I don't believe that he is. Netanyahu is notorious for caving in to pressure. But at the moment, he's the only voting alternative we have for Prime Minister.

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At 11:35 PM, Blogger Unbeliever said...

I expect at least 8 more years of Obama. There will be a big push to reverse the 22nd amendment, allowing Obama to run again (and again). Support for this has been expressed by very influential Americans, who believe that 8 years isn't enough to remake the U.S. in Obama's image.


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