Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Opinion: American Presidents Have Played a Strong Role in Israeli Politics

December 4, 2012 11:41 am 0 comments

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Redux.

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu yesterday for choosing the “wrong candidate” in the US presidential election, by supposedly opposing Barack Obama.
“He said that Prime Minister Netanyahu had bet on this election, this American election, and had lost,” asserted Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who was a moderator and interviewer at the Saban Forum where Emanuel spoke.

Emanuel’s remarks were supported in public and private by former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who called Netanyahu’s treatment of Obama “a slap in the face.” Olmert referred specifically to the US election and also to the Israeli government’s decision this week approving new Israeli settlements – a decision that followed PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas’ unilateral push for Palestinian statehood at the UN, which Israel sees as a fundamental breach of Israel- PLO treaties.

Olmert, charged that Netanyahu had gotten involved in an unseemly manner in the American political process, both directly and also through the actions of millionaire Sheldon Adelson, who supports Netanyahu and some Republicans.

“It’s not our business” to get involved in American politics, said Olmert, the first Israeli prime minister convicted for a criminal offense. “I was very upset not when Mitt Romney came to the State of Israel,” said Olmert referring to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“But it’s the whole set-up,” Olmert explained. “It’s about this guy who decided – after he bought the whole political system in Israel- who thought he can [sic] buy the whole political system in America with a hundred million dollars.”

Now Mayor of Chicago, Emanuel is still seen as a close adviser of President Obama, and it is unlikely he would have made such critical remarks of Netanyahu in a public forum without getting some approval from the White House.

Politicians in Chicago and Jerusalem do not always play by the same set of rules, but the remarks of Emanuel and Olmert raise several questions:

– Did Netanyahu actually oppose Obama’s re-election and support the candidacy of Republican Mitt Romney?

– Do Israeli politicians take a more active role in US politics than American politicians take in Israeli politics?

– Do Israeli politicians control all the activities of their US donors?

The answer to these questions appears to be a strong ‘no.’ Netanyahu did not make campaign appearances for Romney, nor did he raise money for him. Netanyahu said he was not backing either candidate in the US elections. Indeed, a Google search reveals not a single Netanyahu quote indicating preference for Romney.

Meanwhile, both Democrat and Republican presidents have played a strong role in Israeli politics, through policy steps, pronouncements and through personnel.

President George H.W. Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker, reneged on a pledge for loan guarantees to Israel in 1991-92 for the absorption of a massive wave of Soviet Jewish immigrants, undercutting Yitzhak Shamir and clearly supporting Yitzhak Rabin.

President Bill Clinton pulled back on a pledge to release Jonathan Pollard as part of the talks at Wye River in 1998, undercutting Netanyahu, while Clinton’s top pollsters – James Carville and Stanley Greenberg – went to work for Labor Party challenger Ehud Barak in 1999-2000.

This recalls how in the 1950s, the Eisenhower administration sent the CIA into Central America and Iran to undermine regimes it disliked. In the 1990s Clinton sent James Carville. In 2012, someone sent Rahm Emanuel.

Why is no one concerned about the interference in Israeli politics? Beyond the double standards some US politicians employ for Israeli activities in the US versus US actions in Israel, there is a problem regarding the neocolonialist view of US officials and their Jewish advisors who feel that Israel ought to be governed by the Saban Forum. Apparently some failed Israeli politicians also agree.

The writer, a PhD, is an expert on Arab politics and communications, is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat published by Threshold/Simon and Schuster. This article was origianlly published by the Jerusalem Post. Republished here with permission of author.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Music Coldplay Begins Concert With Broadcast of Charlie Chaplin’s Iconic Speech in ‘The Great Dictator’

    Coldplay Begins Concert With Broadcast of Charlie Chaplin’s Iconic Speech in ‘The Great Dictator’

    British rock band Coldplay started its set at the Glastonburg Festival on Sunday by broadcasting excerpts of the iconic speech Charlie Chaplin delivered in The Great Dictator, the 1940 political satire in which the famous filmmaker/movie star played a Jewish barber. “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone,” Chaplin begins his address. “I should like to help everyone, if possible, Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    JNS.org – The seed for the city of Cleveland’s first professional championship in a major sport in 52 years may have been planted at the Shaw Jewish Community Center on White Pond Drive in Akron, Ohio, nearly 20 years ago. That’s when a tall, lanky kid from Akron named LeBron James walked onto the hardwood court and changed the game of basketball forever. Coach Keith Dambrot, now the head basketball coach at the University of Akron, conducted those sessions that attracted […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    JNS.org – In 2008, Yoram Honig was a producer and director living in Jerusalem, fresh off his first international hit, when the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) came to him with a challenge: build a film industry from scratch in Israel’s capital. “When we started here, was nothing in Jerusalem,” he said during an interview in his office in the Talbiya neighborhood. Now, the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund, which Honig heads as an arm of the JDA, pumps 9 million shekels […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →