Jennifer Rubin: WaPost’s breath of fresh air defends Israel’s Netanyahu – Updated

Benjamin Netanyahu political TV ad.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

When the Washington Post goes completely off the rails, as they have in the Benjamin Netanyahu issue, it is nice to read the rational righting-of-the-ship from “Right Turn” Post blogger Jennifer Rubin who presents a conservative perspective against a tide of liberal-think.

Amid the ongoing embarrassment of the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular for the past six years, and the unbelievable snub of not congratulating Netanyahu for his historic win on Tuesday, Rubin thumps the administration by pointing out some obvious observations (see Will Democrats follow Obema’s lead on Israel?).

I learned something in this election that for some reason I had not noticed before. It happened with one Facebook status about Bibi Netanyahu being the Israeli Churchill — and I immediately began hearing from my Democratic friends who were against Bibi and for the Lionist Party. Uh-oh, I thought … Bibi must be the equivalent of the Republicans in Israel while the Lionist candidate must be the equivalent of the Democrats.

Some people may be saying duh but I had never looked at Israeli politics in that way before this election. All I knew was throughout the years Netanyahu had taken a strong stand for his country against terrorism. National defense is my number one political issue in America so I was with him on that one. If we have bombs dropping on our heads, nothing else matters.

Obama’s treatment of Netanyahu had always puzzled me. Okay, I admit … as much as I like politics, I just didn’t understand Israeli politics that well. Now I’m seeing something far more ugly than I ever wanted to envision.

Rubin wrote:

The president’s former political operative Jeremy Bird, who formed the nonprofit  One Voice, had gone to Israel (who knew he had such a keen interest in Israeli politics?) for precisely this purpose, to hike Arab turnout and therefore help unseat the Israeli prime minister. “We are doing an amazing job at getting out the vote with over 15,000 volunteers and more than 40 tents set up throughout Israel,” a spokesman for the left-wing V15 political action group, allied with One Voice, bragged, although he denied specifically busing voters to the polls.

Netanyahu was not marginalizing the Arab vote; to the contrary, he was recognizing what anti-Netanyahu activists, including Bird, already knew: The greater the Joint List turnout, the more members of parliament there would be who were overtly in favor of dissolution of the Jewish state and the greater chance Netanyahu would fall from power.

After letting that sink in, I read more:

Former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams (“Obama Buries the Hatchet — in Netanyahu’s Head” certainly is the most eye-catching headline in mounds of election coverage) points out that the administration initiated its “racism” campaign when White House spokesman Josh Earnest, without provocation, plunged into the topic:

“[N]o reporter asked Earnest about this subject. So at the end of the questioning he simply went out of his way to criticize a statement Netanyahu had made about getting out Likud voters, to counteract what he said were massive left-wing efforts to get out the left-wing Jewish and Arab vote. The issue isn’t whether that Netanyahu statement was awful or admirable, but the conduct of the White House. The leader of a close ally wins a democratic election. President Obama takes the occasion to hit him again.” Earnest’s accusation hid behind the skirts of news reports, hissing that “there has been a lot of coverage in the media about some of the rhetoric that emerged yesterday that was propagated by the Likud Party to encourage turnout of their supporters that sought to, frankly, marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens,”

This is false. Turnout was known to be historically high, for unlike in most every Arab state surrounding it, Arabs in Israel are free to vote, do so in large numbers and can seat members of parliament who are free to defame the state. “The United States and this administration is deeply concerned by divisive rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens,” Earnest sneered.

Unfortunately, no reporter had the nerve to ask whether the president approved the campaign to use Arab voters against the prime minister.

After  reports that Netanyahu was sinking in the polls and in danger of losing, it now seems that his historic speech before Congress a little over two weeks ago in addition to his continued hard stand leading up to and including election day brought in the landslide that put him back in for a third term. And Obama must be none too happy.

Be sure to watch out the Netanyahu TV ad video (above).

UPDATE: The Hill reported that Obama called Netanyahu Thursday afternoon to offer congratulations on his win (see Obama calls to congratulate Netanyahu) but notes that the call was not completely congratulatory:

The call was not entirely congratulatory.
President Obama told Netanyahu the U.S. “will need to re-assess our options following the Prime Minister’s new positions and comments regarding the two state solution,” according to a White House official.
Both leaders also “discussed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments about Israeli Arabs,” the official said.
Would that be a backhanded congrats?
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