Unlike Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and British Prime Minister David Cameron, who, as heads of governments of friendly countries are expected to do, offered personal congratulations to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his victory, President Obama has not.
First, an aide was dispatched to say the administration was giving Netanyahu “space” to form a government. (There is virtually no chance he won’t be able to, with a margin of victory this large.) Netanyahu’s main rival Isaac Herzog called Netanyahu to congratulate him and has told his followers they are going into opposition. But Obama still isn’t giving up.
Next, we heard Obama might call in a few days — exactly when is not clear. And besides, unlike other heads of state, Obama had his secretary of state make a call to congratulate Netanyahu, a deliberate insult. The press secretary did say they would be calling to complain that Netanyahu issued a warning that the Arab list was turning out big (it was) and his supporters better get to the polls. (Understand that, unlike most of its neighbors, Israel has a parliament that matters, allows Arab citizens to vote and even allows parties that call for the dismemberment of Israel.) Always time to criticize and snipe.
At this point, Obama’s gross pettiness and rudeness are there for all to see. There is little argument that he has been trying to oust Netanyahu, creating a federal case out of a speech and dispensing aides to badmouth him on background to docile reporters. Obama obviously was a “loser” in one sense, but unlike the real loser (Herzog), Obama cannot bear to call and congratulate the elected leader of the Jewish state. This is not just an insult to Netanyahu, but to the democratic country that elected him. For goodness sake, Obama has called Vladimir Putin to congratulate him after an election widely believed to be fraudulent.
There can be little doubt why relations are so poor. Obama shows more deference to the unelected dictatorships in China, Russia and Iran than he does to our closest Middle East ally. Unfortunately, that message rightly or wrongly is received by our foes that even when it comes to such an ally, the U.S. administration will kick its “friend” to the curb. That communication does more to weaken our bargaining hand than does a letter from 47 senators — which actually tried to impress on the Iranians they had to give us a better deal to get Congress on board.
There is no word as to whether Hillary Clinton has sent her congratulations. But it is clear has decided to embrace the Obama foreign policy. With that goes the willingness to snub and undercut friends in search of deals with foes who will not keep their word. Nothing could speak more plainly about this administration than the Obama post-election sulking.