Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Into The Homestretch

No Israeli politician has meddled in partisan American politics more than Bibi Netanyahu (R-West Jerusalem), much to the detriment of US-Israel relations and the support of Israel's primary support base in America.

Now that his latest and most disruptive foray has backfired on him, he is in full panic mode.  His supporters are accusing the State Department of funding the opposition's campaign.  He knows that's not true, but that's never been an impediment.

Bibi's Scare Tactics

As polls show him falling further behind in the final days before elections for the 20th Knesset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's strategy is one of increasing desperation.  His theme " if you can't convince em, scare em" was strikingly clear in an interview in Friday's Jerusalem Post.

'Israel Wants Change'

As many as 35,000 Israelis turned out for a rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square Saturday night for an anti-Bibi rally themed "Israel Wants Change."

Meir Dagan, the former Mossad chief, said all Israelis agree on the need to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon "but going to war with the U.S. is not the way to stop it." 

He had earlier said Netanyahu's speech to the Congress on March 3 was "bullshit."

I'm For It Except When I'm Against It

Remember when conservatives were strong supporters of state's rights?  They still are, except when they aren't.  On the issue of abortion, they want to take jurisdiction away from the federal government and give it to the states, where bans are easier to enact.  Guns are another matter.

They want to take gun control authority away from the state and local governments, especially when it comes to carrying concealed weapons.  That's the latest cause of the NRA and the gun lobby.

Keeping Score

Prime Minister Netanyahu's trip to Washington this week was a big success for him personally as members of Congress on both sides of the aisle gave him an enthusiastic reception, and he went home with good footage for his campaign commercials. 

He didn't produce any of the new information about Iran and its nuclear ambitions he had promised, and he didn't appear to have changed any minds, but the appearance gave him a slight boost in the polls back home, though not enough to take the lead. It remains to be seen whether that is temporary or a trend.

The Luck Of The Irish

Isaac Herzog, the opposition leader and the Zionist Union candidate for prime minister, is hoping there is some significance to the fact the Israeli election will be held on March 17, St. Patrick's Day.

His father, Chaim Herzog, the sixth president of Israel, was born in Northern Ireland. And his grandfather and namesake, Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, was the chief rabbi of Belfast, Northern Ireland, from 1916 to 1919, when he moved to Dublin and became the chief rabbi of Dublin and then all Ireland until 1936.  He was known as "the Sinn Fein rabbi."

The Emmes Of Bibi's Speech

Here's the emmes. The truth. Bibi Netanyahu gave a rousing speech on an important subject in his best colloquial American before an enthusiastic Congress and said nothing they haven't heard many times before. But his speech failed to live up to its hype. 

The prime minister and his aides had been saying for days that he was bringing to Washington critical new information that the White House had withheld from the Congress and the American public. He didn't deliver.

Schakowsky: 'Ham Handed" Boehner Harms Israel

A leading Jewish lawmaker and Israel supporter said Speaker John Boehner's "ham handed politics" of sandbagging President Obama by inviting Benjamin Netanyahu to lobby the Congress against the administration's Iran policy has damaged bipartisan support for Israel. 

"It was a dangerous mistake," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), who announced she will not be attending the speech.

One Good Snub Deserves Another

No doubt smarting from the refusal of President Obama and top administration officials to meet with him when he comes to Washington next week to speak to the Congress, Prime Minister Netanyahu turned down an invitation to meet with top Senate Democrats.

Incredibly, Netanyahu, who is coming as a guest of the Republican congressional leadership, said meeting with Democrats would appear partisan.

Is Adelson Paper Likening Obama To Hitler?

An editorial appearing today in Sheldon Adelson's Israel Hayom and distributed widely by the Israeli Foreign Ministry compares Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog to Neville Chamberlain and, by implication, Barack Obama to Hitler.

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