Obama Displays a Poor Understanding of Israeli Politics
One loudly touted possible result of the Obama administration’s endless assaults on Israel and the Netanyahu government was the possible collapse of said government. The badly kept secret around Washington being that neither Obama, Rahm Emmanuel, nor Mrs. Clinton have much love for Benjamin Netanyahu. For Obama himself things break down succinctly, there is us (Progressives) and there is them, the Likud.
Biden made familiar noises along these lines during the campaign, stating that his Israel support took a backseat to no one, including AIPAC & the Likud (whatever that means in Biden’s signature foreign language of incomprehensibility). They all love Israel, just not the democratically elected Likud one. Instead they love the Jstreet, Meretz, Peace Now incarnation of Israel.. The one in their dreams that acquiesces to every demand. It’s an Israel composed mainly of fantasy and dreams gone by, with names like Rabin tossed around for good measure.
Obama and his crew hold deep illusions
- Firstly that this fantasy Israel they cherish, held differing positions on Jerusalem or security than the prevailing wind these days.
- Secondly, that Kadima or Livni could any more sign-up for the Obama fantasy than Netanyahu himself could.
Even Obama’s friendliest media is doubtful of any regime change strategy having much success these days. The initial plan would have been to pressure Netanyahu’s coalition to such an extent that it would topple, leaving Livni and her Kadima party poised to build a new parliament centered around her, a more pliable Obama target.
Sadly for the Obami, Livni could not build coalitions twice previously nor can she do so now. Her leadership is under serious question within Kadima itself, half the party wants into the Netanyahu government. So clearly, that plan is going nowhere. The fallback may have been squeezing the coalition to such an extend that it buckles forcing Netanyahu to lean toward Livni, thus bringing Kadima into the coalition under some form of power sharing tilting it leftward. But that plan also, would have been a mis-read of Israeli politics.
A well-known dictum talks about a person’s “finest hour”; yet Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni can have her moment of glory in just one minute – all she needs to do is say “yes.” This is what Israel’s political establishment expects her to do these days.
The situation is clear at this time: Israel’s global standing is gradually eroding, and we can already see the de-legitimization of our suffering state within broad camps across the world. In many aspects, this is a dangerous situation. Many things – and in fact, everything – can be done to a de-legitimized state.
Under these circumstances, Kadima Chairwoman Livni is being called to the colors. Examining the situation from a diplomatic point of view, Livni and her fellow Kadima members belong at the government table at this time. [...]
However, examining the issue from every personal, political, and partisan point of view, such move on her part would constitute an almost certain recipe for political suicide. So these days, Tzipi Livni is being torn between two possibilities that are completely the opposite of each other. What will she decide to do?
Jerusalem is the consensus issue.
If Kadima were to enter the coalition it would not be under terms of strength, ie to be more acquiescing to intense pressure from Obama. In fact the opposite, Kadima would have to enter to bolster Israel nationally at a time of national discourse in terms of threats & security. She would be joining to satisfy public hunger to strengthen Israel from the pressure itself. In effect shielding Netanyahu in order to face the common cause;
- America’s apparent embrace of containment for a nuclear Iran.
- The fallout of a hostile world coming to the realization that Israel has a fairweather friend in the Obama White House.
Haber quoted above calls it political suicide for her. She would not be joining to shout from the hilltops of Mt Olives that building in Jerusalem should cease, because that is not the position of her Kadima party. Nor is it the position of the Likud, nor of Israel our Home, nor of even the Labor party. She would be consigned to supporting the government, generals or hawks, when they said it was go time on any range of burning issues sure to flare up shortly. That’s hardly the glowing foreign policy triumph perhaps imagined in the Obama situation room of genius, a even wider coalition support base for Netanyahu to wield the military card from..
Frankly, under no scenario here do any of the Obama moves of late make much sense. No matter the scenario, Netanyahu comes out strengthened. Even worse for Obama, Netanyahu’s positions represent the current Israeli consensus and there’s nothing Obama or even Livni can do about it. Both can either fall in line or play the politically dangerous US game of Israel crisis, that’s a game that inevitably leads to bloodshed & war.
Maybe they should try knocking on the Palestinian’s door instead & asking when they intend to negotiate for peace?