Will 2015 be the Second Time an American President Forces Netanyahu out of Office?
Benjamin Netanyahu, a brilliant MIT-educated diplomat who served as a commander in the elite Sayeret Matkal IDF unit, speaks excellent English and has earned the privilege to lead a nation at its most critical moments was ushered into office in a close call over Shimon Peres in 1996 after Rabin’s premiership was cut short by Yigal Amir’s bullets. Bill Clinton was the American president at the time and Netanyahu’s first term as Prime Minister ended prematurely following an early election.
Ehud Barak, Netanyahu’s antithesis in areas of experience, vision and leadership was elected by a wide margin in 1999. Clinton and his administration were as much responsible for the election results as Netanyahu’s short-comings. The president widely considered “Israel’s best friend” did not want Netanyahu serving a second term in the worst possible way. He feared the fledgling peace process would simmer and Israel would stop cooperating with Arafat and helped lead a media class with the Prime Minister’s office labeling Netanyahu a right-wing hawk not interested in peace and out of step with the times.
Barak’s policy of negotiating with PLO henchman Yasser Arafat at all costs and withdrawing from Southern Lebanon directly led to the outbreak of the Second Intifada. He was instrumental in creating an “oppressor” image for Israel and the IDF. He connected Israel’s policies in Judea and Samaria with South Africa’s Apartheid regime, dubbing Israel’s military control of these areas by this derogatory term that has since become modus opperandi in international media. Barak caused irreparable damage to the State of Israel; damage that will take decades to repair.
Fast-forward to 2015. Netanyahu is again Prime Minister. He was elected to a second term in 2009 and a third in 2013. Netanyahu, while falling short of achieving Israel’s foreign policy goals and leading a poor showing in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, fared better than almost any Prime Minister in Israel’s history. His biggest achievement: maintaining the Likud platform while staving off immense pressure from the world community and especially U.S. President Barack Obama, seemingly hell-bent on imposing a suicidal “peace” on Israel to serve his own selfish interests. The 2011-’12 years saw a steady decline in Arab terror as Israel stood its ground on “Palestinian” statehood demands.
After the coalition government fell following a row between Netanyahu and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, Knesset elections have been slated for March 17th. This time again, the right wing coalition that took shape following last elections is threatened by the Left. Tzippi Livni and Isaac Herzog have joined arms to form a joint Labor/Tnua list. Polls indicate they will gain a Knesset majority but won’t have enough to form a coalition. This is certainly the hope for Israel’s Zionist parties, as well as any clear-minded individual. Again, the American president; this time Barack Obama, is looking to upend Netanyahu’s efforts.
Obama has worked behind the stage to create a climate of political instability in Israel. Secretary of State Kerry acted on his demands flying to meet Netanyahu and P.A. chairman Abbas at every turn even while more pressing issues such as the crisis in Ukraine and the situation in North Korea unfolded. The American president has done everything possible to undermine stability in the Middle East. Whether this was a premeditated move or just political ineptitude has yet to be determined. What has become clear to anyone willing to open their eyes and see beyond the comforts of their living room is that Obama is by no means a friend of Israel’s.
Yes, America is Israel’s closest and perhaps only significant ally on the world stage. Yes, we get more economic aid than any other country in the world with the exception of Afghanistan. And yes, the U.S. consistently vetoes anti-Israel resolutions in the U.N. No, all this isn’t worth American’s constant meddling in Israel’s internal affairs. No amount of aid or political backing is worth being relegated to a status of “banana republic.”
Netanyahu should make it clear that Israel will not allow the U.S. to dictate its policy. Israel will not allow the American president to tell us how we go about our business, how we make peace with our neighbors and whom we choose as our Prime Minister. Netanyahu has the power and influence to man up and take things back into our hands where they belong. We need to make true on our national creed: to be a free nation in our Land. We and not America because like Begin once said and as Netanyahu would be wise to repeat, Israel is not a “banana republic.”