Josh Marshall thinks that Netanyahu and Israel are playing a very dangerous game.
US officials are “fuming” in the AP’s words at the barrage of Israeli criticism of Secretary of States John Kerry. But as Chemi Shalev notes in Haaretz, there’s a deeper backstory. Nothing gets the Obama administration’s ire up like the perception (very often grounded in reality) that Netanyahu and his government ministers are trying to scuttle his initiatives by inveigling themselves into domestic partisan conflict in the US. Specifically, using GOP proxies as cut-outs to push back against the President’s initiatives.
As you may remember Netanyahu tried to not so covertly to inject himself into the US presidential election in 2012- he lost that gamble. Now it’s no secret that he and Obama don’t like each other. It would appear there is a new twist.
In one very notable example, Israel’s current Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, is a former GOP political operative who once worked for Frank Luntz, and only made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in 2005. He even reportedly played some role (though I suspect a small one since he was just out of college at the time) in creating the 1994 Contract with America. It’s usually good for both countries when a country’s ambassador has a deep relationship with the country’s head of government. It makes more seamless and reliable communication possible. And all seem to agree that Dermer’s relationship with Netanyahu is very, very deep – this article refers to him as “Bibi’s Brain.”
So Dermer is tight with Netanyahu and he, by definition, has a ready grasp of the the minute intricacies of US politics, particularly Washington politics. But his background makes Democrats and especially this White House suspicious.
This is a dangerous game for Israel because it really only has was friend left in the world, the United States. Europe has largely abandoned it and even in the United States support is on the decline. Before you say “but Israel is an ally”, it’s not and never was – it has always been a client state receiving support from the US but supplies little or nothing in return. So as Israel continues to be identified with one party, the Republicans especially when that party at times seems to be in a kind of death spiral that is a dangerous game indeed.