Some two months ago, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office received a request to arrange a conference call with some Jewish and Christian leaders.
The proposal was to sponsor an event of a routine kind – Netanyahu gets on the line, gives a short briefing about the “situation,” fires off some relevant advocacy points, and then answers questions, making a concerted effort not to supply fodder for headlines.
But, in the end, the conference call was not held. The Prime Minister’s advisers, who asked the proposers of the idea for details about who would be involved in the call, discovered that it would be a two-part conversation. During the first part, Netanyahu would speak and he would be followed immediately by Newt Gingrich, who is currently vying for the Republican nomination in the U.S. Presidential race.
Netanyahu’s aides came to their senses in a timely fashion, politely apologized to the conference call organizers, and cancelled the Prime Minister’s involvement in the call.
“We realized that were we to hold this conference call we would be seen as intervening in internal American politics, or even as supporting Gingrich’s candidacy,” explained one of Netanyahu’s advisers. “You have to be very careful and sensitive during this period, especially when some persons want to drag us into an argument.”
For more than two years, Israel has been part of the domestic political debate in the U.S. From an issue that united Democrats and Republicans, Israel has turned into a topic about which the two parties exchange barbs. Persons close to President Obama view Benjamin Netanyahu as being responsible for this change, and blame him for meddling in American politics, and for forging alliances with Republicans.
For more, go to Haaretz.com