In his State of the Union address last week, de facto President Barack Obama said he had no more campaigns to run. He lied. He decided to run at least one more campaign. But not in the United States. In the Republic of Israel.
The Obama army arrives in Israel
The Israeli daily Haaretz (“The Land”) broke the news yesterday, almost with glee. Haaretz has an editorial policy like that of The New York Times or The Washington Post in America. Roy Arad, reporter for Haaretz, named the lead strategist for Obama, now in Tel Aviv for the effort: Jeremy Bird. Bird led the Obama field workers during the Election of 2012. He and four other workers get their paychecks from a group called “One Voice.” That group has backing from American and British sources. “One Voice” now work with a group calling itself “V15” or “Victory in 2015.” The two groups have set up shop in two buildings side-by-side in Tel Aviv.
The group Independent Media Research Analysis noted this semantic dance by V15. Israel has its own campaign finance laws. But to avoid breaking them by accepting foreign money and in-kind support, V15 says it supports “anyone but Bibi,” meaning Netanyahu. But V15 denied to Haaretz’ Arad this was their motto.
All other accounts say Netanyahu should win easily. Jeremy Bird obviously wants someone else to win. Who? He cagily won’t say.
This did not start with Obama
American Presidents have meddled in Israeli politics before. So says Rebecca Shimoni Stoil at The Times of Israel. She addressed Barack Obama refusing to host Netanyahu this March. Netanyahu will be in town to speak to the U.S. House of Representatives. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, invited Netanyahu to speak. In so doing, he started a firestorm. The White House even said something to this effect: “Obama still has a year and a half in office, and [Netanyahu will pay] a price.” Officially, the White House said they did not want to interfere in the upcoming Knesset elections on March 17. Why, then, send Mr. Bird and his team?
But Ms. Stoil says an American President did host a Prime Minister of Israel before his election.
In 1996, prime minister Shimon Peres, fighting a close campaign against challenger Netanyahu, visited the Clinton White House on April 30, just less than a month ahead of the May 29 elections.
Peres’s substantial lead, in the aftermath of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, was crumbling due to a series of suicide bombings in early spring. In town for the AIPAC annual conference, as Netanyahu will be, Peres met with Clinton in ostensible preparation for additional work on peace agreements with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. In the wake of the March 1996 bombing spree that killed 62 Israelis, Peres and Clinton signed an anti-terrorism agreement at a ceremony – one of three separate meetings that Peres held with Clinton that week amid myriad photo-ops.
Netanyahu won anyway. Maybe the Israeli electorate did not let those “myriad photo-ops” fool them.
But this policy of supporting left-wing Prime Ministers or challengers did not start with Clinton, either. Bush Senior did it, too. By the way: does anyone remember what Bush Senior’s Secretary of State, James Baker, said of American Jews on that occasion? CNAV prefers not to repeat it. (We do not repeat “not safe for work” phrases.) Baker then offered this snippy complaint: “They don’t vote for us anyway.”
What does Obama hope to gain?
Obama could be acting in a fit of pique. Obama has never liked Netanyahu. In a June 2011 photo session with Netanyahu, Obama deliberately turned his face away. Later, witnesses heard him bellowing to his aides “never again” to let Netanyahu get him in a spot where Obama had to look like acting nicely to him.
In sharp contrast, Obama bowed before the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on a State visit to Riyadh. This could serve as an “internal control,” showing how much Obama dislikes Netanyahu. It could also show where Obama’s loyalties lie, and have always lain.
For instance: the record shows Obama described the “call to prayer” as “the most beautiful sound he’d ever heard.” When did he last say that about the blowing of the Jewish shofar during Rosh Hashanah?
In point of fact, the political left in Israel has produced a series of disastrous Prime Ministers. They have not only nearly crippled Israel’s economy but have also tried to appease Israel’s enemies. Benjamin Netanyahu understands what his opponents do not. Some enemies simply want to destroy you. Nothing you say or do can change their minds. Not when they literally can’t stand to look at your place on a map!
Maybe that’s what Obama thinks he’ll get out of this: another disastrous Prime Minister of Israel. Such a man might repeat the “land for peace” policies of Ehud Barak, for example. In any case Obama has always insisted Israel give up the land she conquered in the Six-day War. Can he really believe that will satisfy the militant Arabs? It will not. The generous United Nations partition plan did not satisfy them in 1948. A withdrawal to “the 1969 borders” (actually the 1949 cease-fire line) will not satisfy them today. Nothing will satisfy them, unless every Jew in the land evacuates completely. (Where would they go? Blank-out.)
CNAV hopes the electorate of Israel will see through this ruse, and stay with the one Prime Minister who has looked out for them best of all, foreigners or no foreigners.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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