The latest in what’s brewing as the breach-of-protocol tiff between President Barack Obama and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is that a team of Democrats with ties to the White House have touched down in the Jewish nation, rocked and ready to work on an election campaign – that could actually oust Bibi.
Another example of Obama’s famous Chicago way? Only a short-sighted administration would risk upsetting the hard line rule that Netanyahu represents – and that Israel needs, by the way, in the face of rising nuclear risks from Iran, tensions in Syria and ongoing instability in Egypt. The Islamic State – the recent terror attacks. Is Team Obama so petulant as to put pride before pragmatism?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens as President Barack Obama speaks during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
In a word: yes.
Haaretz wrote that the group V15 – with a reputed mission of “anyone but Bibi” – has joined forces with U.S. political operatives, one of whom, Jeremy Bird, worked as Obama’s field director on his reelection campaign in 2012. The Israeli newspaper headlined its story this way: “The Obama campaign strategist who could break the Israeli elections wide open.”
Newsmax specified the group is made up of five Democrats, under the leadership of Bird. And the Washington Free Beacon, meanwhile, reported that the V15 group was actually working with the U.S.-based OneVoice, an activist organization that’s received two grants from the U.S. State Department in the past year.
OneVoice grants officer Christina Taler said that “we’ve formed a partnership with [V15], but … we’re absolutely nonpartisan. Our biggest emphasis and focus right now is just getting people out to vote.” She insists the OneVoice partnership with the anti-Bibi group is simply a matter of convenience and manpower; the more who’ve united to knock on doors and get out the vote, the better.
Yes – because being perceived as using taxpayer dollars to fund a political campaign to drive Netanyahu from office would appear unseemly to most Americans, wouldn’t it?
Taler denied in the Washington Free Beacon report that any grant dollars were being used for the Israeli election efforts. Still, the unseemliness of the White House ties to an anti-Bibi campaign isn’t a small thing. The team of White House-tied Democrats arrived in the Jewish nation just shortly after Obama decried Netanyahu’s acceptance of Republican Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to speak before Congress.
Perhaps “decried” is a soft word. Rather, the White House came out swinging, putting on its Chicago way – its braggadocio and bravado – and, via an unnamed senior U.S. official, issued this statement:
There are things you simply don’t do. [Netanyahu] spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency and that there will be a price.
Really? What price would that be – that Obama won’t support Netanyahu? That already seems to be taking place, on the very grounds of Israel in the very lead up to the March elections.
Whether the timing of the Democratic landing for the anti-Bibi voter drive is coincidental – or whether it was actually driven by Obama’s anger with the Jewish leader for what the White House considers a serious breach of visiting protocol – is secondary to this: An Israel without the bold governance of Netanyahu at this time would be an even more dangerous place.
An American leadership that doesn’t see that reality, and that is, directly or with silent cheers, pressing forth an anti-Bibi campaign, is only working a fool’s deed that could lead to a dangerous tip in Middle East politics – in favor of evil-doers and terrorists.
Cheryl Chumley, firstname.lastname@example.org, is a writer with The Washington Times and the author of “Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality.” Find her at Twitter, @ckchumley, or on her blog, www.cherylchumley.blogspot.com.
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