In the Algemeiner magazine editor Dovid Efune has some words for Barack Obama in a piece entitled, Israel’s Emphatic Response to Obama’s Thinly Veiled Threat. Referring to Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent bit of reporting in which he tells us that the arrogant Obama actually claimed that “Israel doesn’t know what its best interests are,” he writes:
The timing of the release of this information, has led some to believe that the leak amounted to a deliberate attempt by the President to influence the outcome of Israel’s election this week. If this was his intention, he failed dismally.
While Goldberg’s portrayal of the President paints a picture of a reflector in chief, who is surmising over his experiences, the truth is that the release of this information amounted to nothing less than a thinly veiled threat.
President Obama is no observer. When it comes to Israel’s place in the world, his comments aren’t mere pontification or thesis. Obama is the President of the United States and his assessments often influence reality.
That is absolutely correct. What Obama implied is that unless the Israelis do what they are told he will seek to isolate them in various ways including, presumably, diplomatically and economically. Obama likes his Jews compliant and is not the least bit fond of stiff-necked Jews who have the impertinence to stand up for themselves or their own well-being.
Efune suggests that the success of Yair Lapid in the recent Israeli election was no victory for Obama and that on security related issues Lapid and Netanyahu vary hardly at all.
While his general approach to the issues is likely to be less confrontational than Netanyahu’s, Lapid wants Israel to maintain control of large settlement blocs even some outside of Jerusalem, including Ariel where he launched his campaign. He is in favor of building within existing settlements to support natural growth, as is Netanyahu. Lapid wants Jerusalem to remain the undivided capital of the Jewish people, and he would not likely agree to the current PA preconditions for entering into talks with Israel. He also has a solid right wing voting base. Polling analysis shows that about 35% of his electorate were formerly backers of Avigdor Lieberman, who the international press is fond of describing as ultra-hawkish. On the Iranian nuclear threat, he seems to be closely aligned with Netanyahu as well. Obama on the other hand has essentially adopted the Arab position on settlements and his administration convulses every time expansion plans for the greater Jerusalem blocs of Maale Adumim or Givat Ze’ev are announced.
While those parties, specifically Labor and Hatnuah, that aligned themselves with Obama’s threat of international isolation, were punished severely by voters. Both tallied disappointing results.
Lapid launched his campaign in the territories which represents a clear indication that his sympathies are with the centrist Zionists, not the corrosive-left Obamabots. While some have suggested that if Lapid joins a coalition with Netanyahu, and perhaps Bennett, it will depend on Netanyahu’s willingness to pursue negotiations with the Palestinian-Arabs, there is nothing on the Yesh Atid website to indicate that the Palestinians are even an issue. Under “our agenda” we read:
THE AGENDA OF YESH ATID UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF YAIR LAPID
Yesh Atid seeks to address the most pressing issues in Israel today through:
Reforming the increasingly ineffective system of government
Overhauling the educational system which is currently at an all-time low
Creating a more equitable system for the enlistment of young Israelis in serving their country
Jump starting the economy through small business assistance for the middle class
Providing housing opportunities for IDF veterans and young couples
Not one single word is there concerning either the Arabs or negotiations. Lapid, like Netanyahu, favors the two-state solution, as do most Israelis. What this indicates more than anything else is a likely continuation of the status quo with the Obama administration seeking to arm-twist the Israelis into compliance while requiring exactly nothing from the local Arab leadership.
While the polls that suggested that Israel was moving in a right-wing nationalist direction were clearly wrong, the suggestion that Israel has moved toward the left on security issues is clearly wrong, as well. The country shifted a little to the left on social and economic issues, not security issues, and Obama’s threats do not threaten them at all.
Good for the Israelis.
Mike Lumish is the proprietor of the pro-Israel blog, Israel Thrives.