Israel Miffed, Won’t Back Cuba Move

The Netanyahu government, miffed that it was kept out of the loop, has rejected the Obama administration's request made to it and governments around the world to express support for the new U.S. Cuba policy.  Canada and the Vatican were the intermediaries and there are no indications any other country was involved.

Interestingly, the key to the breakthrough was the release of an American Jew, Alan Gross, imprisoned for bringing Internet equipment to Cuba tiny Jewish community.  Israel has been the most consistent – and often the only — supporter of U.S. Cuba policy for decades, but no longer. 

What's behind the break after all these years? 

•  Israeli officials say they were peeved that the administration didn't brief them about his decision in advance.

• This is one more opportunity for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to poke another finger in President Obama's eye after years of mutual animosity.

•  Netanyahu is more concerned about not offending his Republican friends in the Congress than supporting the lame-duck Democratic president.

Cuba and Israel actually maintained relations for a dozen years after Washington and Havana split. The United States broke relations in 1961 in the closing days of the Eisenhower administration; Cuba cut its ties to Israel in 1973 just prior to the Yom Kippur war.

The Castro regime has maintained strong pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel policies for many years, although Cuban Jews I met all around that country a couple years ago told me there is no anti-Semitism and that Jews are free to emigrate to Israel because Castro sees them as "going home."

Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, a native of Miami – the bastion of the Castro regime’s opponents, known as “Cuban exiles” – and a product of Florida politics told a Spanish-language American TV station,  "There was no love lost between Israel and the Castro regime. Castro had supported some of the worst enemies of Israel, terrorist organizations that were fighting Israel, attacked Israel in international forums,” Ha'aretz reported.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.