03.12.2012 analysis by Elisheva Goldberg
 

How Netanyahu Misunderstands American Politics

During the recent American elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displayed a lack of the political acumen so necessary to secure Israel's future

Much of the press surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu before and after the American elections has focused on his personal relationship with Barack Obama.But a focus on bad blood between these personalities fails to address the most troubling political conclusion to come out of the last few months: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to understand the fundamentals of American party politics.

During an election, American party lines sharpen; politicians endorse candidates and campaign for them. So that as conservative battles liberal for the White House, candidates become the literal representatives of their parties and taking sides means challenging the entire Party. In other words, the trouble with Netanyahu’s meddling wasn’t just that he bet on the wrong horse, or even that he missed his mistake when a quick survey of poll data would have told him otherwise.2 It’s that he, as the Prime Minister of a foreign power, got on the wrong side of the national Democratic Party — and neither apologized nor seemed to regret such action. 

Some have made the argument that by alienating the Democratic Party, Netanyahu came close to compromising the very issues he was trying to strengthen: Israel’s long-term national security and international standing. This argument is certainly true, but its full import will unfold only in the course of time. What bears noting is that by forcing Israel into a partisan, Republican corner, Netanyahu not only demonstrated an inability to manage Israel’s foreign policy with its closest and most powerful ally, the United States of America, but a profound misunderstanding of the American political system.

Israel as a Non-Partisan Tradition

Since the administration of John F. Kennedy, it has been a principle of American foreign policy to consider Israel a bipartisan issue.3 For Israel, this principle makes sense; being on good terms with decision makers in the United States is a good investment. Israel is currently he largest cumulative recipient of US foreign aid since World War II receiving over $3 billion per annum, and a recently added $275 million in supplemental funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) receiving some 60% of the total FMF in 2012 — funding which represents 18% to 22% of the overall Israeli defense budget. Furthermore, “strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not available to any other countries.”4 The US-Israel relationship, as many have said, should be “unshakable”5 and “unbreakable”6. And, in addition to monetary and military aid, Israel is privy to a great deal of international support as a result of the close ties between the two countries — America is Israel’s shield at the United Nations, both at the General Assembly and in the Security Council.7 

In short, Israel receives across the isle backing both financially and diplomatically from the United States.8 Accordingly, it is in the Israeli government’s best interest to maintain good relations with both actual and potential American leaders. Both Democrats and Republicans sit on appropriations committees that earmark foreign aid and foreign affairs committees that determine policy and law. In political terms, this means Israel must persist as a bipartisan issue.

Yet, in this American election cycle, Republicans were able to shrink Israel down into bite-size sound clips to be played on the whim of republican campaign managers. Republicans, as the commentator Jeffrey Goldberg put it, “have had a good deal of success turning Israel into a partisan issue.” The trouble, he said, is that “if they continue to press their case, many Democrats will find supporting Israel distasteful – they will lump supporters of Israel in the same category they reserve for climate-change-denying anti-choice Obamacare haters. This would be very dangerous for Israel.”9 By the end of this US election Republicans came close to creating that category Goldberg referred to. Luckily, the Democrats pushed back and Israel remains a bipartisan issue. But it was not thanks to Prime Minister Netanyahu. On the contrary, Netanyahu’s reckless willingness to facilitate such a partisan shift — but he severely misjudged the Parties each presidential candidate represented.

“Meddling in American Elections”

It began when Netanyahu brought Israel, Iran, and his own policies into the primaries. A New York Times article published on April 7, 2012, gave us the scoop: On Super Tuesday, when the greatest number of states hold primary elections, Mr. Netanyahu delivered “a personal briefing by telephone to Mr. Romney about the situation in Iran.” In a move that certainly gave Romney’s credibility a boost in the republican camp, both men’s bold quotations in the New York Times left little to the imagination: “We can almost speak in shorthand,” Mr. Romney said in an interview.10 And when it came to Iran and Middle East policy, they did.

Months later, on September 19, 2012, already well in to the general election, Mitt Romney was caught on tape by MotherJones speaking to a select group of donors at a private fundraiser. He first admitted that he and Netanyahu shared campaign consultants,11 and second, revealed his true thinking on the Palestinians and the peace process.12 While it remains unproven that Netanyahu had any influence over what Romney said in that specific video, it’s hard not to wonder who was briefing Romney.13 In one of his primary election spars with Newt Gingrich, Romney addressed Newt Gingrich’s comment that the “Palestinians are an invented people.”  He announced that before he made a statement “of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’”14 This was bad politics on Romney’s part — such deference to a foreign country is politically unseemly — but the degree to which Romney was willing to defer to Netanyahu is telling. Netanyahu’s hardheaded belief that Romney would win is dangerous not only for America, but for Israel, and belies his reputation as a man who understands American politics. And moreover, Netanyahu playing Romney like a harp alienated not only Obama, but also the United States Democratic Party, a key ally and player on the American political stage.

There were many other blatantly inappropriate ways Netanyahu involved himself in the Romney campaign: Romney’s visit to Israel was planned in secret to preempt an Obama trip to the region — a visit which, according to Barak Ravid, “was born in the Prime Minister’s Office.” His speechifying there was uncannily similar to Netanyahu's.15,16 When Romney arrived in Israel, he canceled his meeting with Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich — only two hours in advance — apparently upon the request of Netanyahu’s staff.17 Romney also held a breakfast fundraiser at the Mount of Olives with Sheldon Adelson, an event that some have argued Netanyahu could have requested to be held elsewhere.18 Netanyahu starred (knowingly or unknowingly) in a campaign ad for Romney that ran in Florida.19 And although Netanyahu’s advisors attempted to distance themselves from his reckless partisan path by speaking out in support of President Obama, the Prime Minister paid them no mind.20 And even after all of these flagrant acts of favoritism for the Romney camp, Netanyahu took it one step further.

On September 11, 2012 Netanyahu made a bombshell statement that mystified and angered pundits and Democrats alike. At a joint press conference with visiting Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Metodiev Borisov in Israel, Netanyahu declared: “The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”21 According to the Associated Press, it was perceived as an “indirect swipe at the Obama administration.”22 Neither this statement, nor the cumulative months of brazen political talk by Prime Minister Netanyahu, went unnoticed by Democrats in Washington and on Obama’s campaign trail. The statement was so inappropriate that it elicited a public letter from Senator Barbra Boxer (D-CA); she wrote that she was “stunned”. And she wasn’t the only one.

The Playback

1. Punditry 

The pundits had some harsh words for Benjamin Netanyahu, especially when it came to his push on “red lines” for Iran. Joe Klein of TIME wrote the following day that Netanyahu’s behavior is “outrageous” and “intolerable.” He called it “an unprecedented attempt by a putative American ally to influence a US presidential campaign.”23 Klein then went on MSNBC’s show Morning Joe and doubled down:

I don’t think I’ve ever, in the forty years I’ve been doing this – and I’m trying to search my mind through history – have heard of another example of an American ally trying to push us into war as blatantly, and trying to influence an American election as blatantly as Bibi Netanyahu and the Likud party in Israel is doing right now. I think it’s absolutely outrageous and disgusting. It’s not a way that friends treat each other. And it is cynical and it is brazen.24


It is unlikely that Netanyahu was rash enough to knowingly invite responses like Klein’s. And if such outrage was unanticipated we must assume that this was a failure on Netanyahu’s part: He failed to grasp the complexity of the American political organism during a presidential election. 

Klein was in good company. David Remnick of The New Yorker also wrote “Netanyahu seems determined more than ever, to alienate the president of the United States and, as an ally of Mitt Romney’s campaign, to make himself a factor in the 2012 election.”25 Yossi Verter of Haaretz was candid in his discussion of Netanyahu’s fluency in “Republican”.26  On September 15th he reports:

A very senior Israeli figure who is in close touch with members of the U.S. administration relates in private conversations that in the eyes of the Democratic administration, Netanyahu is perceived as campaigning on behalf of Mitt Romney. Romney's visit to Israel and the fundraising event held for him in Jerusalem under the aegis of the billionaire Sheldon Adelson - Netanyahu's patron - left Obama and his staff under no illusions about the prime minister's intentions. To the president and his aides, the tongue-lashing he and Hillary Clinton took from Netanyahu, their depiction as ostensibly preferring Iran above Israel, the cooperation of the prime minister and his aides with Republican congressmen working against the White House, and the leak to the media by the Prime Minister's Bureau that Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu - all this looks like crude, vulgar and unrestrained intervention in the U.S. election campaign.27


Verter is referring to various incidents the previous year where Netanyahu had shown recurring animosity for President Obama and his staff.  Yet, the worst of it, says Verter, was that Netanyahu was not repentant — instead he was befuddled: 

"Things are happening that Netanyahu never dreamed would happen," a source who is connected to the same senior Israeli figure said this week. "He was in a state of mind that said that he and Adelson were in control of the American political scene. He took pride in the fact that without him no sanctions would have been imposed. He hoped that his threats would scare Obama, on the eve of the elections. But he is finding that the administration is sticking to its guns. They are not getting stressed over there in America. They are not dancing to the tune of the prime minister of Israel. Bibi's strategy is collapsing.28


And indeed, Netanyahu’s strategy (and even in his explicit denial of such a strategy,29 demonstrating the widespread nature of the perception) was doomed from the start as he was soon to see in the reactions of members of the Democratic Party.

2. Democratic Outrage

The Democrats wasted no time in expressing their indignation at Netanyahu’s “red lines”. Netanyahu’s comments came on September 11th; by September 12th Democratic Senator Barbra Boxer of California and Democratic Chief Deputy Whip responded.30  She wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu in which she expressed her “deep disappointment” over his questioning of “our country’s support for Israel.”31 In the letter, Boxer described herself as “one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress,” a statement which is unimpeachably true.32 Boxer was the author of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, a bill that both “recommits the United States to vetoing any one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations Security Council” and provides an additional $70 million for Israel’s Iron Dome security system.  The bill was signed on the eve of Romney’s trip to Israel on July 27th, 2012 in the Oval Office with both Senator Boxer and Lee Rosenberg, AIPAC chairman in attendance.33,34  What Netanyahu missed was that in questioning Obama’s commitment to Israel, he was questioning the Democratic Party’s (and by extension, many liberal Americans’) commitment to Israel. For People like Boxer, robust democratic supporters of Israel, this is both astonishing and offensive. The startlingly public nature of Boxer’s letter suggests that Netanyahu’s statement rampaged the halls of Israel’s loyal backers in Congress, backers whose support he could not afford to lose.


The Jerusalem Post called it an “unusual public display of criticism from an influential member of the US Senate”35 — and the message was clear: the letter was a signal to Netanyahu to apologize, or at least back off. Had he understood the way that American party politics function, Netanyahu should have ended his foray into American electoral politics on September 12th.  But he did not, and the Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the Boxer letter and Netanyahu and his close circles continued to believe that Romney would win.36 Soon after, Netanyahu persisted in pushing the Iran-Israel issue deeper into the partisan divide (despite almost constant protests to the contrary37), first by attempting to meet with Obama a month before the elections and later in a speech at the UN General Assembly, once again demanding “red lines” on Iran.38


On September 24th, almost two week after his “red line” comments and Senator Boxer’s letter, it was leaked that Netanyahu’s request for a meeting with Obama was unsurprisingly denied. Netanyahu’s aids publically complained when Obama refused to adjust his schedule. But Democrats — especially Jewish ones — stood squarely behind their presidential candidate.  On September 24th, The Hill reported that Rep. Henry Waxman, a Jewish democrat from California considered one of the most influential members of Congress, said that he “didn’t think it was appropriate for the prime minister to publicly get into a dispute with the president of the United States.” Rep. Eliot Engel, another top Jewish Democrat and strong supporter of Israel on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added his voice saying he “would hope that in any kind of public rift – or the appearance of any kind of public rift – between the president and the prime minister would be healed and taken care of behind the scenes.”39  Democrats in Congress, especially those who are Jewish and strong — even hawkish — supporters of Israel, got the sense that Netanyahu was still trying to play them, and they weren’t happy about it.


Rep. Barney Frank, another Jewish democrat from Massachusetts, widely considered one of the most powerful members of Congress, said that he thought “Obama played it right. The Israelis have to consider American public opinion; America's not ready to go to war until it's absolutely necessary.” Frank intimated that Netanyahu’s behavior violated protocol. The mediators of the US-Israel relationship during elections have traditionally been non-partisan third parties like AIPAC who handle partisan politicians delicately so as to avoid jeopardizing their stance. But Netanyahu’s public involvement didn’t jive with the way things are done in Washington: “I think the American Jewish community and the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs] committee will be very reluctant to appear to be ... trying to undercut Obama,” Rep. Frank said.40 Netanyahu’s bilious blunder sideswiped AIPAC, who understand American party politics, demonstrating the extent to which Netanyahu does not.


Perhaps the most telling comments after Netanyahu’s string of moves were those of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, who felt the need to go on MSNBC a few days later on September 27th and clarify a few things about the Democratic Party – and Barak Obama’s – relationship with Israel. In response to a question about the Jewish vote in Florida based on Netanyahu being “hard on Obama” Schultz said the following: 

We’re making sure that Jewish voters know that President Obama has a stellar record on Israel.  In fact, I would push back a little bit and say, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have a very close working relationship. They meet and talk regularly and Prime Minister Netanyahu has consistently said that President Obama has stood by Israel…and there are Israeli leaders across the political spectrum in Israel who have consistently said that Israel has no greater friend than President Obama.41


Wasserman-Schultz’s response is significant for two reasons: First, she felt the need to mention the leaders’ “very close working relationship,” and shift the conversation from Netanyahu’s relationship with Romney to Obama’s, one that Netanyahu had noticeably mishandled. Second, in mentioning Netanyahu’s positive statements about Obama Wasserman-Schultz was reminding the American public that the Democratic Party would not take Netanyahu’s bait; support for Israel would remain as much a democratic issue as a Republican one.42

Wasserman-Schultz’s words on MSNBC might have been an olive branch to Netanyahu.  As the chairwoman of the DNC, echoing Wasserman-Schultz would have might have shuffled Netanyahu back into the good graces of the Democratic Party.  A reiteration — or even a simple mention of Wasserman-Schultz’s compliment — would not only have done wonders for Israel’s foreign relations with the United States, but would have demonstrated that Netanyahu understood how deeply he had angered the Democratic Party. Instead, Netanyahu chose to ignore the Democrats’ reactions and began a tour in Europe to lobby for tougher sanctions on Iran, sending an implicit message that he thought Obama a lost cause when it came to Iran. Despite his reputation for American diplomacy, it is clear that Netanyahu made serious errors that indicate a deep flaw in his political judgment.

 

3. Last Minute Disregard

On November 4th, just before citizens across America headed to the ballot box, Netanyahu gave the Democrats one final squeeze. In an interview with “Uvda” (“Fact”), a “60 Minutes”-like show on Israel’s Channel 2, Netanyahu indirectly stated that should the United States not back him, he was willing to strike Iran on his own — emphasizing that his threat was “not a show.” The New York Times wrote: “Mr. Netanyahu’s tough tone and timing — on the eve of the American presidential election — are sure to reignite rifts with Washington over how best to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.”43 This move came just after it became clear that the Obama administration preferred direct talks with Tehran after the election. Netanyahu (as well as Ambassador Michael Oren) had balked44 and sent emails to their embassies and consulates warning them not to profess knowledge of potential bilateral talks and not to speak publically about the issue.45 The communiqué became a news item, and the affair did not play well for Netanyahu in the American press. 

When Obama finally won the election, Netanyahu “super-awkwardly”46 rushed to publically congratulate the President.47 Yet he has made no move to “directly acknowledged any missteps”48 during the elections and seemingly is unrepentant. Despite Senator Boxer’s letter and Senator Wasserman-Schultz’s olive branch, at every turn, Netanyahu persisted in playing a foul game with Washington politics. 

Conclusion

Benjamin Netanyahu has a reputation for being an expert on US politics; the Israeli media has dubbed him “the Republican senator from Israel”.49 But this American election cycle, he has exhibited bad judgment and demonstrated that such a reputation is unjustified.  By clumsily inserting himself into American party politics he alienated much of the Democratic Party. Pundits, Democratic senators and others responded an unparalleled show of irritation. They did everything within the purview of their power to display their exasperation with the Israeli Prime Minister. It is crucial that Israel’s leadership understand how to appropriately deal with Israel’s most important partner in the world, on both sides of the isle. It is crucial that Israel’s leadership is able to handle Israel’s foreign policy more broadly. And it is crucial that Israel’s leadership understand that during elections the United States of America is made up of two parties, not two people. By all of these measures, Netanyahu fails.

Notes

[1]     Ahren, Raphael. “For Obama and Netanyahu, four more years of mutual dislike and suspicion? Not so fast,” The Times of Israel, 07/11/12, available at http://www.timesofisrael.com/for-obama-and-netanyahu-four-more-years-of-mutual-dislike-and-suspicion-not-so-fast/; Bernstein, Ali. “Concern in the Prime Minister’s Office: Obama to meddle in Israel Elections,” Maariv [Hebrew], 08/11/12, available at: http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/414/473.html

[2]    Verter, Yosi.  “It has been prophesied: the premier strategist that overthrew Netanyahu,” Haaretz [Hebrew], 09/11/12, available at: http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/elections/1.1860127 

[3]     In 1960 Kennedy announced that, “Friendship for Israel is not a partisan  matter. It is a national commitment.” Harris, David A., “The Truth About Democratic Support for Israel,” National Jewish Democratic Council, 25/10/12, available at: http://www.njdc.org/media/entry/democrats1025 12

[4]    For example, most recipients of assistants receive aid in installments, but all U.S. assistance earmarked for Israel is delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year. See Sharp, Jeremy M., “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, 12/03/12, available at: http://jrnetsolserver.shorensteincente.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Military-Aid-to-Israel.pdf

[5]    Benhorin, Yitzhak. “Obama tells rabbis: bond with Israel unbreakable,” Ynet, 23/09/11, available at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4126474,00.html; Al-Arabia and Agencies. “Poll shows Obama popularity in Israel surges after U.N. speech against Palestinian statehood bid,” 28/09/11, available at: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/09/28/169104.html

[6]    The White House, “Remarks by the President at the AIPAC Policy Conference 2011,” available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2011/05/22/president-obama-2011-aipac-policy-conference#transcript

[7]    Most recently in 2011: Lynch, Colum. “U.S. vetoes Security Council resolution denouncing Israeli settlements,” The Washington Post, 10/02/11, available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/18/AR2011021805442.html. For a general overview of the use of vetoes see Hashim, Asad. “Veto power at the UN Security Council” Al Jazeera, 02/05/12, available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/02/201225152330761377.html

[8]    AIPAC, “AIPAC Briefing Book: 112th Congress, 1st Session” available at: http://www.aipac.org/~/media/Publications/Policy%20and%20Politics/AIPAC%20Analyses/Issue%20Memos/2011/02/AIPACBriefingBook2011.pdf

[9]     Goldberg, Jeffrey. “Why Obama is Better for Israel than Romney Is,” The Atlantic, 06/11/12, available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/11/why-obama-is-better-for-israel-than-romney/264348/

[10]    Barbaro, Michael. “A Friendship Dating to 1976 Resonates in 2012,” The New York Times, 07/04/12, available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/us/politics/mitt-romney-and-benjamin-netanyahu-are-old-friends.html?pagewanted=all

[11]    Romney: Yeah, well. So it's—I can tell you I have a very good team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants. A couple of people in particular who've done races around the world. I didn't realize these guys in the US, the Karl Rove equivalents, they do races all over the world. In Armenia. In Africa. In Israel. I mean, they work for Bibi Netanyahu in his races. So they do his races and see which ads work and which processes work best and, uh, we have ideas about what we do over the course of the campaign. I'd tell them to you, but I'd have to, you know, shoot ya. [Audience laughs.] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7i7zVRFKSA

[12]    Romney: …And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way. For the full video transcript see: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/full-transcript-mitt-romney-secret-video

[13]    Rogin, Josh. “Romney challenges his red lines on Iran on rabbi call,” Foreign Policy: The Cable, 21/09/12, available at: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/category/topic/israel/palestine

[14]    Ibid. Barbaro.

[15]    Verter, Yossi. “Minutes before Netanyahu meeting, Romney cancels Yacimovitch,” Haaretz, 29/07/12, available at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/minutes-before-netanyahu-meeting-romney-cancels-on-yacimovich-1.454425

[16]    Ravid, Barak, “In Jerusalem speech, it was Romney’s voice but Netanyahy’s words,” Haaretz, 30/07/12, available at: http://www.haaretz.com/in-jerusalem-speech-it-was-romney-s-voice-but-netanyahu-s-words-1.454521

[17]    Ibid. Verter.

[18]    Moav Verdi and Raviv Druker, “Netanyahu supports Romney because his advisors claim he will win the election,” Nana10 [Hebrew], 07/11/12, available at: http://invokemobile.com/nana//iarticle.aspx?ServiceID=126&ArticleID=935911; For video footage, see [Hebrew]: http://www.nana10.co.il/video/?videoid=166384&ssv=1

[18]    Corbin, Christina, “Netanyahu appears in conservative political ad airing in Florida” Fox News, 20/09//12, available at: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/20/netanyahu-star-new-election-ad-airing-in-florida/; To watch the video see: http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/09/netanyahu-ad-to-debut-in-florida-136034.html

[20]    At the very end of July, just as Romney was wrapping up his Israel trip, both Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres came out with effusive support for Barack Obama’s record on Iran. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer Barak said: “this administration, under President Obama is doing in regard to our security, more than anything I can remember in the past…In terms of the support for our security, the cooperation of our intelligence, the sharing of thoughts in a very open way even when there are differences…” For video and commentary see: Armbruster, Ben.  “Israeli Leaders Praise Obama’s Commitment To Israel’s Security,” Thinkprogress, 30/07/12, available at: http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/07/30/610531/peres-barak-obama-israel/?mobile=nc

[21]    Verter, Yossi. “In Israel, we speak Republican,” Haaretz, 15/09/12, available at: http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/in-israel-we-speak-republican-1.464972; For the video of the press conference see: Barak Ravid, Reuters, Associated Press, “Netanyahu: Those that refuse to set red lines for Iran can’t give Israel red light,” Haaretz, 09/11/12, available at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/netanyahu-those-that-refuse-to-set-red-lines-for-iran-can-t-give-israel-red-light-1.464278

[22]    AP, “Israel leader says US may not act against Iran,” Fox News, 14/09/12, available at: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/14/israel-leader-says-us-may-not-act-against-iran/; It goes without saying that this was a significant day (September 11th) to make such loaded international declarations.

[23]    Klein, Joe. “Enter Bibi,” TIME, 12/09/12, available at: http://swampland.time.com/2012/09/12/enter-bibi/; He suggested “[t]he Romney campaign–as well as AIPAC, the AJC and every other American Jewish organization –[who] should make it clear to Netanyahu that his interventions into our political process and policy-making are not welcome here.”

[24]    Mutter, Paul. “Joe Klein: Netanyahu Trying to Push US Into War With Iran,” Lobelog Foreign Policy: Jim Lobe and Friends, 12/09/12, available at: http://www.lobelog.com/joe-klein-netanyahu-trying-to-push-us-into-war-with-iran/

[25]    Remnick, David. “Neocon Gambits,” The New Yorker, 12/09/12, available at: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/09/have-benjamin-netanyahus-attacks-on-obama-gone-too-far.html

[26]    A Haaretz editorial that did not mince words also came out a few days before Verter’s piece: “Netanyahu Versus Obama,” Haaretz, 13/09/12, available at http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/netanyahu-versus-obama-1.464625# 

[27]    Ibid. Verter.

[28]    Ibid. Verter.

[29]    For one example, see Netanyahu’s CNN Interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dST7uxEv0-o

[30]    Sanger, David E., “Israel Sharpens Call For United States to Set Iran Trigger,” The New York Times, 11/09/12, available at: http: i//www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/world/middleeast/united-states-and-israel-engage-in-public-spat-over-ran-policy.html

[31]    Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbra Boxer, “Boxer Expresses Disappointment Over Israeli Prime Minister’s Remarks,” 12/09/12, available at: http://boxer.senate.gov/en/press/releases/091212b.cfm

[32]    Rosenberg, MJ. “AIPAC Decides Next Week if California Senate Candidate Passes Muster on Israel,” The Huffington Post, 02/27/10, available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/aipac-decides-next-week-w_b_479466.html

[33]    “Us increases its financial support to Israel’s Iron Dome,” Remarks by President Obama at Signing of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, 27 July 2012, available at http://www.diplonews.com/feeds/free/29_July_2012_40.php

[34]    For a photo of the signing see: http://www.firstpost.com/topic/person/barbara-boxer-president-barack-obama-speaks-in-the-oval-office-image-00zR8EU6z78yr-2298-1.html

[35]    Krieger, Hilary Leila. “Senator slams Netanyahu for interfering with US elections,” Jerusalem Post, 09/14/12, available at: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=285067

[36]    Ibid. Verdi and Druker.

[37]    For another example see Netanyahu’s interview with Fox News Sunday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv9LdPzMi0s

[38]    In his address to the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu held a “cartoon-like drawing of a bomb with a fuse” upon which he “literally drew a red line just below a label reading ‘final stage’ to a bomb. Heller, Jeffrey. “Netanyahu draws ‘red line’ on Iran’s nuclear program,” Reuters, 27/09/12, available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/27/us-un-assembly-israel-iran-idUSBRE88Q0GI20120927

[39]    Pecquet, Julian. “Jewish Democrats warn Netanyahu to stay out of US presidential election,” The Hill, 24/09/12, available at: http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/middle-east-north-africa/251031-jewish-dems-warn-netanyahu-to-butt-out-of-us-election

[40]    Ibid. Pecquet.

[41]    Rothman, Noah.  “Wasserman Schultz: Obama and Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu Have a “Very Close Working Relationship,” Mediaite, 09/27/12, available at: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/wasserman-schultz-obama-and-israeli-p-m-benjamin-netanyahu-have-a-very-close-working-relationship/

[42]    Wasserman-Schultz’s statement was likely a response to Romney’s comments on the Democratic Party platform, which, at the time, had been dealing with the issue of whether or not to include language regarding Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  For Romney’s statement see: “Romney’s Statement on the Democratic Party Platform’s Language on Israel, September 2012,” Council on Foreign Relations, 04/09/12, available at: http://www.cfr.org/us-election-2012/romneys-statement-democratic-party-platforms-language-israel-september-2012/p28920.  For Wasserman-Shultz’s earlier statement about republican policy on Israel see: “Oren ‘categorically denies’ he singled out GOP as taking partisan Israel shots,” JTA, 04/09/12, available at: http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/09/04/3105986/oren-categorically-denies-he-singled-out-gop-as-taking-partisan-israel-shots; For a response to the issue and comments on Jerusalem’s bipartisan nature by Rahm Emanuel, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQjbIkEAyyo

[43]    Rudoren, Jodi.  “Netanyahu Says He’d Go It Alone on Striking Iran,” The New York Times, 9/11/12, available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/06/world/middleeast/netanyahu-uses-tough-tone-on-possible-iran-strike.html

[44]    Gharib, Ali. “Who Opposes Talking to Tehran?” The Daily Beast: Open Zion, 22/10/12, available at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/22/who-opposes-talking-to-tehran.html

[45]    Cooper, Helen and Lander, Mark. “U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks,” The New York Times, 20/10/12, available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/world/iran-said-ready-to-talk-to-us-about-nuclear-program.html?hp&_r=0&pagewanted=all

[46]    Goldberg, Jeffrey.  “‘Now I’m Going to Offer You A Hamburger’,” The Atlantic, 07/11/12, available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/11/now-im-going-to-offer-you-a-hamburger/264898/

[47]    For a video of Netanyahu’s formal congratulations delivered to Ambassador Dan Shapiro, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NunrE3BcAjk

[48]    Rudoren, Jodi. “Netanyahu Rushes to Repair Damage With Obama,” The New York Times, 07/11/12, available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/08/world/middleeast/netanyahu-rushes-to-repair-damage-with-obama.html?ref=benjaminnetanyahu

[49]    Bloomfield, Douglas. “Gallup: Romney’s Jewish Support Slipping,” The Jewish Week, 27/07/12, available at: http://www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/political-insider/gallup-romneys-jewish-support-slipping

 
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