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