That New York City’s left-wing mayor had to voice his support for Israel in secret says much about the norms at work in today’s liberal Democratic circles.
Behind Closed Doors
Lessons from the Obama-Netanyahu Relationship
Describing Benjamin Netanyahu as “the most American politician in the world outside the United States”—the Israeli prime minister spent part of his childhood and early career in the U.S.—Seth Mandel explores where his grasp of America has succeeded and where it has failed to influence administration policy, and where Barack Obama has similarly failed vis-à-vis Israel:
No Israeli—no foreign leader, for that matter—knows America the way Bibi does. But by definition, any American president has a better feel for the U.S. electorate and a superior understanding of the minutiae of political operation than virtually anyone else save his living predecessors.
Netanyahu’s repeated attempts to find leverage against President Obama were understandable but in retrospect doomed to failure, as we saw in his effort to run rings around Obama on the Iran deal—specifically by addressing a joint session of Congress. . . . That Netanyahu was right on the merits doesn’t mean he was right on the optics. . . . . .
Barack Obama, [for his part], unnecessarily put Netanyahu in impossible situations with his own coalition, for example by demanding an unprecedented settlement freeze that forbade building for “natural growth” and in Jerusalem. And Obama refused to put pressure on Mahmoud Abbas to stop the officially sanctioned incitement that led to terror sprees and disempowered both leaders by making them subservient to events.