Early this morning, President Barack Obama personally phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his hard-fought victory and expressed a fervent desire to work with the new coalition in Israel’s Knesset to forge a stronger bond with one of America’s oldest and most valued allies.
OK, that didn’t happen. Nothing remotely approaching it happened, nor is it likely to happen. As J.E. Dyer wrote Sunday, a bipartisan panel in the U.S. Senate is investigating the Obama administration’s illicitly partnering with an anti-Netanyahu group as part of an organized effort to oust Public Enemy No. 1 from the world’s stage.
But even before that story broke, it was obvious that the American president was rooting not just for a Netanyahu defeat but for a sound thrashing. Hell, judging from Obama’s more public actions, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he had secretly been burning black candles.
That there was no love lost between the two was evident from the White House’s words and deeds before, during, and after Bibi’s address to the joint houses of Congress. What doubtless raised Obama’s hackles even more after the fact was that Netanyahu’s speech drew positive notices from liberal commentators.
Which brings us to the present and to the mainstream media’s reaction to a remark by an adviser to Netanyahu who said that a victory would be “a defeat for Barack Obama.” Here, courtesy of NewsBusters, is a clip from last night’s “With All Due Respect,” hosted on Bloomberg TV by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Halperin confesses to being “surprised” that by the Netanyahu camp’s reaction, but get a load of Heilemann’s assessment of the response. Transcript follows.
MARK HALPERIN: I gotta say: I was surprised to hear from a Netanyahu adviser who cast a Netanyahu victory as a defeat for Barack Obama.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Ugh.
HALPERIN: But that’s a window into the mindset of —
HEILEMANN: — Yes. Well I’m not surprised to hear that. I’m saddened by it. I mean, it’s a horrible place for American-Israeli relations to be, but this relationship has gone from bad to worse progressively, and I can’t imagine that Bibi will not feel emboldened by this, and that will be bad again for US-Israeli relationships on top of everything else. [Emphasis added]
If Netanyahu had lost, Obama would be doing cartwheels this morning. Would that sadden Heilemann?
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