Netanyahu-Obama Relations at a Low Point?
How happy is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the results of this week’s US presidential election? Let’s put it this way: A guy who embraces Romney in August isn’t likely to bask in Obama’s warmth in November. A guy who shows the UN General Assembly a large piece of cardboard bearing a felt-tipped illustration of a ticking bomb that looks like it’s been pulled straight out of a Road Runner cartoon isn’t one who’s likely get Obama’s devoted attention in the future.
The bomb was of course Netanyahu’s stab in late September at trying to pull the US into yet another war, this one with Iran, and when that stunt failed, he tried another tack: with every breath the right-wing prime minister seemed to castigate his American counterpart for what he made clear through implication were Obama’s pusillanimous demurrals.
Why Israeli leadership should believe—still, after all this time—that American Jews vote all-Israel all the time in American elections is a puzzle. They never do. Exit polls this time around showed that around 70 percent of American Jews at the polls voted for Obama, a number only slightly lower than four years ago. (As the late Milton Himmelfarb of the American Jewish Committee famously put it: “Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.”)
In other words, Mitt Romney’s declaration in late October that Obama had “pushed allies like Israel under a bus”; his insistence, after accepting the nomination, that Obama had pursued what-me-worry policies that left Iran to its own nuclear devices and Americans “less secure”—all this failed to gain traction among the very voters Romney was playing to.