There have been claims made lately against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in both the leftist liberal Israeli and American media of meddling in the United States Presidential Elections stemming from the cordial reception given Republican candidate Mitt Romney when he visited Israel during the campaign. The entire affair when looked at objectively was much ado about nothing. Mr. Romney was received with the same treatment given any candidate for such high office visiting Israel during the campaign. Yes, the Prime Minister met with him and they held a short question and answer session before the press. Yes, Mr. Romney was afforded the time and place to make a speech and to campaign in Israel. Yes, Mr. Romney was given the grand tour of Israel, something much more readily accomplished in Israel than in the United States, it would compare to a tour of New Jersey rather than of the whole of the United States. And yes, Mr. Romney was allowed to electioneer in Israel to those holding American citizenship and even to go so far as to hold a fund raiser among American citizens who wished to support him. And all of these events come within reason and closely resemble the exact treatment afforded President Obama when he visited Israel as a candidate before the 2008 United States Presidential Elections; it is all written up in the news accounts of the time and can be compared.
What is true is that there has been a consistent effort to entangle Prime Minister Netanyahu and to have him state a preference for whom he would prefer or thinks would favor Israel in the coming Presidential Election. It is also true that the Prime Minister has consistently answered all of these near endless attempts carefully and with almost word for word the same answer saying something close to, “I will work with whichever candidate wins the American Presidential election and will not interfere, support or state any preference as it is not my place as Prime Minister of Israel to comment or take positions on the election of the United States. Somehow that has been reported as making statements supporting Mitt Romney according to such unimpeachable sources as the New York Times, Haaretz and other news sources of a similar political slant. One can only guess as to why these liberal news outlets would try so consistently to show the leader of Israel or any other country to be supporting the opponent to the candidate they chose to support. It would make more sense if they were to try to imply that Bibi Netanyahu supported the reelection of President Obama as the head of state than have him portrayed as supporting President Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney. Well, that is unless they are casting the support from the elected leader of Israel as a negative rather than a helpful endorsement which opens up a whole can of worms about their views towards Israel and possibly Jews.
But now elections have been called for in Israel and the expectant flurry and positioning amongst the many disparate parties has begun. The expected main parties who will be contesting for leadership of the next Knesset and be allowed first shot at forming a coalition actually whittles down fairly quickly to just two parties, the oldest of rivals, the Labor Party and the Likud Party. This pits Prime Minister Netanyahu as the incumbent against the challenger in the personage of Shelly Yachimovich. There are a number of other parties who will put forth candidates at the head of their tickets as their prospective candidates for Prime Minister but these, unless something unexpected and out of the blue should occur, will simply be those people considered for the most important of cabinet posts when the coalition is formed and such offers made. Some, myself included, find this to be a less than perfect manner to assign positions and responsibilities of cabinet posts as this will not take into account the expertise of each individual to the post which they may be considered. Fortunately, these party leaders normally vie for the position that is closest to their particular political party’s interests which usually implies some amount of expertise, but still not the same as appointing somebody who has worked in a related field to each post as done under other governing systems.
Already, there have been two surprising, if not damning; revelations come forth in this young campaign season. The first we reported on in our recent article titled “Both of Our Fears Confirmed; One in United States and One in Israel,” where we commented on the fact that some of the main players from last summer’s food tent protests, which had been touted as a nonpolitical, grassroots, spontaneous expression of the people who have had enough of the high cost of living, have popped up as candidates offered in the coming elections. These demonstrations which caused disruptions in downtown Tel Aviv and drew significant crowds to Saturday night protests which offered free food and featured some of Israel’s hottest talents in musical entertainment (it always helps to feed and entertain the people to draw crowds) and received rave reviews in much of the liberal press and was even initially well received in conservative and Zionist circles until some events and confrontations where groups representing the residents from Judea and Samaria were summarily dismissed and informed they were unwelcome at these protests. We now realize that these nonpolitical protests were actually initiated by the leftists and the Labor Party as some of the main players and the most enamored of those reporting on the protests somehow showed up prominently on the Labor Party list for Ministers in the Knesset. But wait, there’s more.
As the immortal Yogi Berra said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” What had been reported but refuted by the leaders of the tent protests last summer was the presence and presumed assistance given by Stanley Greenberg, a leading Democratic political strategist. Mr. Greenburg has now popped up, much the same coincidence as the leaders and supporters of the protests popped up, to assist and advise the Labor Party in their campaign to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu’s bid for reelection. What makes this all the more disgusting is that this is the same Stanley Greenberg who, along with James Carville and Robert Shrum, helped Ehud Barak defeat Netanyahu in the 1999 elections as the leader of the Labor Party ticket. In those elections their participation as political strategists and advisors was traced back to and attributed to President Clinton. Where it has not yet been determined whether Mr. Greenburg is again representing Bill Clinton or whether he was assigned by the Democrat Party or even President Obama or possibly is simply offering his expertise in political tricks on his own volition, his presence reeks of political interference in Israeli elections by somebody representing the interests of the American political left and possibly the Democrat Party or even the current President. What will be even more telling is if after the November election is over if Mr. Greenburg will be joined by other Democrat Party political strategists to once again work to unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu just as was accomplished in the Israeli elections in 1999. If this effort is proven and traced back and implies that the American Democrat Party or even particular political individuals such as Bill Clinton are behind efforts to effect Israeli politics again, then who is guilty of influencing whose elections? Once bitten is coincidence and one is forewarned, twice bitten becomes subversive perfidy and conspiracy is born. The remaining question is no longer whether there is conspiracy, but simply who is behind the conspiracy and who is moving the political strategist pawns on the playing field.
Beyond the Cusp