It was profoundly weird to watch coverage of the Israeli elections Tuesday. At one point, I saw CNN’s John King doing exit poll results as if this was a U.S. presidential election and I was like, “What the hell is this?” What it was, of course, is that American Democrats (including members of President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign team) had launched an enormous effort to defeat Israel’s conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Predictably, the liberal media jumped aboard this Democrat-driven anti-Netanyahu bandwagon, and yesterday there was a palpable excitement from the media talking heads as they anticipated the imminent defeat of the Dreaded Right-Wing Jew.I'm not such a foreign policy wonk that I actually watched the Israeli elections returns live. Most times, I'm content to wait for American returns the next morning. But the coverage in today's Washington Post is loaded with schadenfreude:
Israeli voters, however, decided that Democrats and their liberal media friends must cry the tears of unfathomable sadness:
Barack Obama might have hoped for a leadership change that would reboot his poisoned relationship with Israel’s government. But he didn’t get it on Tuesday, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 00 thanks in part to a hard lurch right — appeared to make a dramatic comeback after trailing in pre-election polls.In the Obama Age, everything is about Obama, even the elections in Israel.
As votes were counted Tuesday night, Netanyahu claimed a dramatic comeback victory. “Against all odds: A great victory for the Likud. A major victory for the Israeli people,” he posted on Facebook.
Where do strained U.S.-Israeli relations go after Netanyahu’s victory?
But Benjamin Netanyahu’s triumph in Tuesday’s parliamentary elections keeps in place an Israeli prime minister who has declared his intention to resist Obama on both of these fronts, guaranteeing two more years of difficult diplomacy between leaders who barely conceal their personal distaste for each other.The unmentionable EJ Dionne: The high cost of Netanyahu’s comeback
The Israeli election results also suggest that most voters there support Netanyahu’s tough stance on U.S.-led negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program and his vow on Monday that there would be no independent Palestinian state as long as he is prime minister.
But far more disturbing than Netanyahu’s electoral miracle (at his victory party, his supporters proclaimed him a “magician”) was the way he brought it about. Seen abstractly as a matter of pure politics, his moves were brilliant. Viewed in light of Israel’s long-term survival, they were reckless, or worse.The execrable Harold Meyerson: Netanyahu’s scorched earth tactics could make Israel’s problems worse
Netanyahu’s only path to survival was to boost Likud’s vote and seat-share at the expense of smaller right-wing parties. And so he tacked hard to the right. He abandoned his publicly stated support for a Palestinian state and engaged in what the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg saw as a version of the old Republican “Southern strategy” that had been aimed at consolidating white votes.
Say this for Bibi: He ran a balanced campaign. One part fear, one part loathing.You mean Democrat George Wallace?
. . .
The strategy calls to mind the vow that a young George Wallace took in his pre-gubernatorial days, when he lost an election to a candidate who had engaged in far more race-baiting than he had. As reported by Dan T. Carter in “The Politics of Rage,” Wallace said, “Well, boys, no other son-of-a-bitch will ever out-[n-word] me again.”
From the Post's House conservative, Jennifer Rubin: Obama’s rude snub of Netanyahu
. . . At this point, Obama’s gross pettiness and rudeness are there for all to see. There is little argument that he has been trying to oust Netanyahu, creating a federal case out of a speech and dispensing aides to badmouth him on background to docile reporters. Obama obviously was a “loser” in one sense, but unlike the real loser (Herzog), Obama cannot bear to call and congratulate the elected leader of the Jewish state. This is not just an insult to Netanyahu, but to the democratic country that elected him. For goodness sake, Obama has called Vladimir Putin to congratulate him after an election widely believed to be fraudulent.Back to Stacy for a final comment: