Netanyahu’s Bet on Romney May Make Him One of the Election’s Biggest Losers
Originally published in Tikkun Daily
When Binyamin Netanyahu began meddling in the U.S. election on Mitt Romney’s behalf, he began an unprecedented and brazen gambit that, this morning, has disastrously backfired.
And Israelis know it.
With Netanyahu’s own election only months away (set for January 22), pundits this morning in Israel recognize the clear damage Netanyahu has done to himself by disrespecting President Obama and betting on the wrong man.
Larry Derfner of +972 Magazine thinks last night may soon lead to Netanyahu’s demise:
If there is one loser in the U.S. election outside the U.S., it is Benjamin Netanyahu – and all of Israel knows it. No one is fooled by his denials that he backed Romney and opposed Obama as demonstratively as he possibly could. The widespread conviction, now that Obama has won four more years in the White House, is that Bibi has endangered Israel’s relationship with America in a way that is unprecedented in its recklessness. No Israeli prime minister ever took sides in a U.S. presidential election like Netanyahu just did, and his side lost.
If Romney had won, people here would be hailing Bibi right now as a genius, a prophet. But Obama won, which makes Bibi, in Israeli eyes, a screw-up of historic magnitude. He went and tracked mud on the Oval Office carpet right in front of the president’s eyes. The president couldn’t say anything during the campaign because of American domestic politics, but the campaign’s over and now Israelis are wondering when and how this newly-liberated president is going to take revenge on them for their prime minister’s spectacular arrogance. Conclusion: The only way to get America back on our side is to get rid of Bibi.
While Derfner may not be right that Netanyahu’s reckless and disrespectful treatment of President Obama will cost him his job, he is correct in noting how damaging this may be for Netanyahu.
In more measured tones, Haaretz’s Barak Ravid agrees:
The prime minister and his advisers followed Tuesday night’s developments on a split screen – on the left side, the U.S. elections, on the right side, the primaries in the Bayit Hayehudi party. The prime minister is fighting against both Obama and Naftali Bennett, and openly helped both of their opponents. In both cases, his gamble turned out to be wrong. Netanyahu woke up to a morning in which Obama is celebrating in Chicago and new Habayait Hayehudi leader Bennett is celebrating in Tel Aviv. For his miscalculations, Netanyahu will pay twice over – in the mandates that the Likud will lose.
If you’re going to spectacularly and shockingly meddle in an election of your most critical ally, you’d better place your bets carefully.
As Matt Duss Tweeted through a grin:
Dear Bibi: Remember that time you lectured President Obama in the Oval Office? Because President Obama does.
— Matt Duss (@mattduss) November 7, 2012
You know who else remembers when Netanyahu lectured Obama in front of the U.S. electorate?
The Israeli electorate.