Monday, March 23, 2015
When victory is not enough
It is apparently not enough that Netanyahu won the special election, Republicans are now seizing on the opportunity to link Obama to non-profit organizations that campaigned against the Israeli prime minister and tried to get Arab-Israelis out to vote. At the heart of these allegations is a Republican strategist, John McLaughin, who worked on Bibi's campaign.
I suppose this is an attempt to counter the heat John Boehner got for inviting Bibi to Washington and now going to Israel to personally congratulate the blustery PM on his victory. Of course, all this is done on the up and up. It is our Communist-leader-in-chief, who mobilized his ACORN-like forces to oust Bibi and bring his brand of socialism to Israel, in large part to empower the Arabs, that is to blame.
You really have to marvel at all these conspiracy theories, but then they are really nothing more than a smokescreen to divert media attention away from more serious issues, like our unquestioning support of Israel despite the fact that Netanyahu ignores virtually all UN resolutions regarding the Palestinian territories, and continues to threaten neighbor states.
Israelis don't need Obama to teach them about social equality or anything else for that matter. The country has been a socialist work in progress since its inception in 1948. For decades the country was ruled by the Labor Party until the conservatives first won control of the Knesset in the late 70s. The Likud Party seemed all but dead when Ariel Sharon broke away from it to establish the Kadima Party in 2005, but his successor, Ehud Olmert, made such a mess of things that Likud regained its strength in 2009.
One of the big issues in this election was soaring housing prices, which is a direct outgrowth of conservative policies. Under previous Labor governments, such prices were controlled to some degree to help create stability, but Likud and Kadima adopted supply-side economics and prices soared through the roof, not much unlike the situation in the US in the early 2000s, resulting in tent cities for those who can no longer afford housing.
However, this election has become a means in which to besmirch Obama. The Republicans realize they no longer have any traction on Benghazi, and with the economy steadily improving, despite Obama's "socialist" policies, the GOP needs something to keep the President off guard. So, the Republican-led Senate will now "investigate" ties between American and Israeli non-profit groups and see if Obama had any hand in this himself. John McLaughlin is certainly not a reliable source, but that's all the GOP has to go on at the moment.
In any other scenario, such allegations would be laughable. Unfortunately, Samantha Power and Susan Rice made such a big stink about Netanyahu's Congressional visit that they provided a small measure of sustenance for such conspiracy theories.
Obama has since reached out to Bibi, congratulating him on his victory, but also expressed his reservations in the fierce rhetoric he used to rally conservative voters. However, this wasn't good enough for conservative pundits, who felt Obama took too long to call Bibi and that he should have expressed his unequivocal support of Israel as they do. One pundit even went so far as to equate Netanyahu's word to that of God.
Like most political storms, this one will blow over. Obama obviously didn't like the outcome of this election, but isn't going to do anything to undermine the special relationship the US has with Israel. He will deal with Netanyahu on his own terms, as he has done the adversarial Republican leadership in Congress. What should be investigated is the symbiotic relationship between the Republican Party and Likud, with "strategists" like McLaughlin working between them.