Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bibi's Pyrrhic Victory

From the NYTimes:

Long before the latest election in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu was a polarizing figure among American Jews. But even many of his supporters said this week that they were appalled at his last-minute bid to mobilize Jewish voters by warning that Arabs were going to the polls in droves, and his renunciation of a two-state solution to the Palestinian crisis. 

Mr. Netanyahu’s party won the election and cheers from hawkish American Jews. But in interviews this week, rabbis, scholars and Jews from across the country and a range of denominations said that with his campaign tactics, he had further divided American Jews and alienated even some conservatives, who had already suspected that he was more committed to building settlements than to building peace with the Palestinians. 

 Even with Mr. Netanyahu’s postelection interview walking back his statements against a two-state plan for peace with Palestinians, many Jews say they are worried that the most lasting outcome of the elections will be the increasing isolation of Israel — not only around the world but also from the younger generation of American Jews. Unlike their parents and grandparents, these Jews have grown up in an era when Israel is portrayed not as a heroic underdog but as an oppressive occupier, and many of them tend to see Mr. Netanyahu as out of step with their views on Israel and the world.

So while the hard right here in the US did a victory dance when Bibi won the election, they failed to understand the damage he did to himself and Israel.

The NYTimes explains:

The White House is stepping up its antagonism toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite his victory in this week’s elections, signaling that it is in no rush to repair a historic rift between the United States and Israel. 

The sharpened tone indicates that the Obama administration may be re-evaluating its relationship with its closest ally in the Middle East, having lost patience with Mr. Netanyahu in the closing days of an election campaign in which he spotlighted deep disagreements with President Obama over a Palestinian state and a nuclear deal with Iran. 

 “You reach a tipping point,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former American ambassador to Israel and Egypt. “It’s the culmination of six and a half years of frustration, including some direct hits at the president’s prestige and the office of the presidency.”

Netanyahu has walked back some of the rhetoric he used in the closing days before the election.  

On Monday, Netanyahu had told Israeli news outlet Maariv that he would not allow a Palestinian state on his watch, as he attempted to rally voters from the right to cast ballots for his Likud party ahead of Tuesday’s election. 

The statement was seen as an about face of Netanyahu’s 2009 Bar-Ilan speech, during which he said he was committed to a two-state solution. Netanyahu handily won the election Tuesday against center-left rival Isaac Herzog, in part, analysts said, because of his last-ditch hardline appeal. The comment brought an international backlash, with sources saying the White House may pull back support for Israel at the United Nations, compounding the prime minister’s already fractured relationship with US President Barack Obama. 

 On Wednesday, the Obama administration launched a scathing critique of Netanyahu’s campaign statements, even indicating that if Netanyahu rejected a negotiated path toward a two-state solution, the US would support Palestinian initiatives to unilaterally declare independence through the United Nations. 

More reading HERE:  "Bump in the Road for Bibi


Rational Nation USA said...

I'm thoroughly enjoying the spin from both sides on this one.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I'm not sure I'd call it "spin" when Israeli and American papers are reporting that many American Jews and Israelis are angry with Netanyahu.

The New York Times piece was balanced in its reporting of those who supported Netanyahu's re-election and those who were angry at the divisive tactics he used in the closing days before the vote.

I don't think you actually read the article, if you think it's just "spin."

Because it isn't.

Lee Arnold said...

Every time I read of Benjamin Netanyahu's "resounding" Victory in the Israeli Elections, it makes me want to examine the definition of "resounding".
Netanyahu's Likud Party WON exactly 25% of the votes. 75% of the voters, voted AGAINST Netanyahu. Likud won 30 out of 120 seats.

Jerry Critter said...

The GOP has known for a long time that fear works.

Ann Adamsapple said...

"Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear."

Shaw Kenawe said...

From VOX:

"The conflict between Obama and Netanyahu — which really started over Obama's forceful attempt to rein in settlement growth in 2009 — reflects a longstanding source of tension between the United States and the Israeli right. The US believes in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while Netanyahu and the Israeli right are at best skeptical, and at worst actively hostile, to the idea of a Palestinian state.

This has been causing conflict between Americans presidents and more conservative Israeli leaders for over 20 years. George H.W. Bush and allies in Congress refused $10 billion in loan guarantees because Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir wouldn't accept Bush's conditions limiting spending on West Bank settlements. George W. Bush rescinded $289.5 million worth of loan guarantees to punish Ariel Sharon, also of the Likud, for settlement expansion.

In 1996, Bill Clinton all but openly campaigned against Netanyahu, inviting incumbent Prime Minister Shimon Peres to visit the White House just before the vote. Clinton (correctly) believed Peres would be more receptive to his push for a peace agreement. Netanyahu won the election, chilling relations between Washington and Jerusalem until Ehud Barak ousted him in 1999.

To date, the US-Israel relationship has weathered these fights. But the events of the past month suggest that not only will these fights continue, but also that something more fundamental is changing to make them more dangerous to the overall relationship."


Ducky's here said...

It was a foolish statement by Netanyahu.

When you publicly state that there will be no two state policy you are saying you can't be trusted and you are telling the world that you had been playing the U.N. and America all along.

Not that they didn't suspect it but the statement gives absolute credence to beliefs that Israel was never going to negotiate.

Just how this along with his hints of an apartheid government are going to aid Israel long term is beyond me.

Just keep them scared of the Arabs. It's worked well here and look how well it's working in the Mideast.

Utter madness.

Rational Nation USA said...

I've read several articles Shaw, some better than others. This article was one of the more balanced I agree.

My point is that both right and left are spinning events as best they can to make their case. Ah, the beauty of liberty. Hopefully Ĺ•eason prevails.

Rational Nation USA said...

And personally I'm not terribly comfortable being aligned with Palestine and Hamas either.