Obligatory Israel moves left post

Article Highlights

  • Looks like Netanyahu miscalculated when he called early elections.

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  • The winner of the Israeli election is an afterthought for a post-modern president like Obama.

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  • As far as Obama and co are concerned, pretty much another whatever day in the Middle East.

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Looks like Bibi Netanyahu miscalculated when he called early elections. Surprise, surprise, the Israeli electorate stuck it to a man they find competent but just can’t, no matter how hard he tries, like. Does this mean, as the Atlantic intoned with admirable originality, that Netanyahu “won the battle, but lost the war”? Sorta. As the article correctly concludes, you will find whatever spin you want across the internet: Bibi weak, peace process strong; Bibi still strong, peace process weak; Israel Left, but still Right; Israel Left, no longer Right. These are the pleasures of multiparty politics and a fickle electorate that, despite the dearest wishes of its premier, doesn’t live and breathe the Iranian nuclear program. Or, apparently, the peace process.

Does Obama now have leverage over Israel, as the we-know-what’s-better-for-Israel crowd hopes? Really? What will he use it for? To help Iran continue its nuclear program? To jump-start the peace process that most of the Palestinians don’t appear to want, preferring violence to liberate the territory they demand? To pursue a foreign policy strategy in the Middle East? None of the above. The winner of the Israeli election is an afterthought for a post-modern president like Obama.

What’s next? The inevitable ugly bartering that characterizes every Israeli election, trading ministries and favors and cash for power. Not that Israel is special that way; just average.  Does this mean Netanyahu won’t be able to earn support for a plan to strike Iran later this year? I doubt it. This is about all of Israel, not just the hawks. Does it mean he’ll have to give on peace? See above. At the end of the day it means that power shifted a little, but as far as Obama and co are concerned, pretty much another whatever day in the Middle East.

h/t HotAir for my title

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About the Author



  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


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