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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander - Netanyahu avoids 'electioneering' in the US

Just about a year ago, the Obama administration, furious with Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu, let everyone who would listen know that it deemed the Prime Minister's address to a joint session of Congress two weeks before the Israeli elections to be 'electioneering.'

In the summer of 2012, the administration went out of its way to accuse Netanyahu of interfering in the US election by hosting Republican nominee Mitt Romney three and a half months before that election took place. 

Now, the shoe is on the other foot. With the media paying less and less attention to Obama, he wants a visit from Netanyahu to shed the limelight on the White House again. Last week, Netanyahu's ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, informed the administration that Netanyahu wouldn't be coming because he did not want to appear to be interfering with the US election campaign. On Monday night, the Obama administration feigned surprise at Netanyahu's decision.
The White House said Israel had proposed two dates for a meeting between the leaders and the U.S. had offered to meet on one of those days. "We were looking forward to hosting the bilateral meeting," said Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council. "We were surprised to first learn via media reports that the prime minister, rather than accept our invitation, opted to cancel his visit."
But Netanyahu's office said Israel's ambassador to the U.S. had already informed the White House last week there was a "good chance" Netanyahu would not make the trip.
It said the ambassador told the White House there would be a final decision on Monday.
That day, Israeli news reports erroneously reported that Netanyahu would not travel because he was unwilling to meet with Obama. Netanyahu's office said it then informed the White House directly that Netanyahu would not be visiting.
Netanyahu was invited to address a summit of the pro-Israel group AIPAC. An Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said Netanyahu wanted to avoid potential meetings with presidential candidates at the summit. Netanyahu was accused of siding with Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign and he appears wary of sparking any additional claims of meddling in American politics.
"It's a tumultuous primary season in the United States ... we don't want to inject ourselves into that tumultuous process," the official said.
It was the latest signal of ongoing tensions between the U.S. and its closest Mideast ally. Relations between Israel and the U.S. never fully recovered after Obama incensed Netanyahu's government by pursuing and then enacting a nuclear deal with Iran.
And another reason Netanyahu doesn't want to go to Washington:
However, there have also been reports the Obama administration is considering setting parameters for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal to make it easier for Obama's successor to pursue. Israel rejects an imposed formula and says any outline of a peace accord has to be reached through direct negotiations.
It will be interesting to see whether Netanyahu actually stays away from Washington from now until after the elections in November.


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At 6:18 PM, Blogger Cyber Liberty said...

And Jim Messina never went to Israel to campaign against Netanyahu.

Obama and Company are not stupid, but they sure think everybody else is.


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