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Photo: Reuters
Netanyahu's 2011 Congress address. Giving the White House the finger
Photo: Reuters
Orly Azoulay
With a little help from Netanyahu's billionaire friends
Analysis: The Republicans, who control the US Congress, have organized a visit for Israel's prime minister which is worth more than 1,000 political strategists and copywriters' brilliant ideas.
There is a known saying in Washington's political scene: "If you're looking for a friend, get a dog." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can give up the barking: When there are rich sponsors, who cordially open up their wallets to members of the Republican Party, anything can be arranged.

  

 

A moment before the Israeli elections, Netanyahu received a dream gift from his Republican friends: He will land in the American capital, and the Congress members will cheer, praise him and shower him with wide smiles and compliments.

 

The Republicans control the Congress and have the ability to help a friend. They have organized a visit for Netanyahu which is worth more than 1,000 political strategists and copywriters' brilliant ideas.

 

Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic minority in the United States House of Representatives, said only a month ago that the US would never intervene in Israel's internal affairs, and definitely not in the election campaign. The Republicans showed her on Wednesday evening that they disregard her, and tried to crush Barack Obama at the same occasion. The American president was not in on the secret.

 

Netanyahu addresses the US Congress in 2011. 'With the billionaires' help, he will be greeted in Washington with a red carpet, and the confused voters in Israel will think: There, it's all rubbish, there is no anger in the administration' (Photo: Reuters)
Netanyahu addresses the US Congress in 2011. 'With the billionaires' help, he will be greeted in Washington with a red carpet, and the confused voters in Israel will think: There, it's all rubbish, there is no anger in the administration' (Photo: Reuters)

 

Netanyahu will go up on the stage, and the Israeli voter will receive a picture of idyll between the two countries: As if there was never a dramatic crisis between the White House and the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, as if Israel's security interests were not affected because Netanyahu behaved insolently with Obama and did not hesitate to support his Republican rival for president, Mitt Romney, who he invited to Jerusalem to a well-covered official visit.

 

He also said occasionally that Obama didn't understand the meaning of a war against terrorists and that he was leading America spinelessly. Obama never forgave him. He believes Netanyahu is harming his country's interests.

 

But with the billionaires' help, Netanyahu will be greeted in Washington with a red carpet, and the confused voters in Israel will think: There, it's all rubbish, there is no anger in the administration. Everything is okay.

 

That will be a misrepresentation of course, because the American administration – unlike the majority in the Congress – loathes Netanyahu and is waiting to hear on election night in Israel that he is finally going home.

 

In this round, Netanyahu is giving the White House the finger. This will be registered against him if and when, as the polls predict, Hillary Clinton will win the presidential elections and his hopes of finding a Republican in the White House will be shattered.

 

All that is left to see right now is how Obama will get himself out of the trap set by the Republicans. If he refuses to meet Netanyahu, the rightists in both countries will click their tongues and call it a colossal disgrace. If Obama gives in and opens the White House's gates to Netanyahu, he may help him win the elections. For Obama, it's a nightmare.

 

As far as the president is concerned, the best thing would be to arrange a trip out of town. The White House's staff is already working on it. And on Wednesday there were those in the administration who said, whether jokingly or seriously, that now that the gloves have been taken off, perhaps Obama should just invite Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog.

 

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