Yediot: Shift in US-Israel policy result of Jewish financial pressure on Democrats ahead of mid-terms
This morning’s Yediot expands on the PMO’s description of how ‘Netanyahu defeated Obama.’ The headline is a little misleading because the article itself describes Democratic fears of losing Jewish funding, not votes, ahead of the November mid-terms.
Itamar Eichner, Yediot, May 27 2010 [page 5; Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
After an entire year in which he gave him the cold shoulder, is it possible that President Obama has suddenly taken a liking to Prime Minister Netanyahu? Top Israeli officials believe that the change in attitude stems entirely from domestic American political considerations.
Midterm elections will be held in the United States in November for the entire House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate and some of the state governors. Those elections, in which the Jewish vote can be very influential, are of great concern at present to Obama and his supporters.
According to reports that reached Jerusalem, it is no coincidence that Obama and his staff have suddenly begun to speak warmly about Israel, to compliment it for the good will gestures it extended to the Palestinians and mainly to admit that they had erred by treating Israel unfairly in Obama’s first year. It appears that the Obama administration’s attack on Netanyahu after the publication of the tender to build 1,6000 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo backfired.
Information that was received by Israeli sources would seem to indicate that the principal reason for the change in approach to Israel is pressure from Democrat lawmakers who are running for election and are finding themselves hard put to enlist Jewish donors to their campaigns. There is a great deal of anger at Obama within the Jewish community and disappointment over his policy toward Israel. Officials in the Democratic Party are afraid that the Jews will take revenge in the midterm elections, which is the reason for the vigorous courting of Israel. In other words, the fear is that the Jewish vote will gravitate away from Democratic candidates to Republicans.
Furthermore, the Americans are afraid of a clash with Netanyahu as September draws near, which is when the settlement construction freeze that was declared by the Israeli government is to come to an end. A clash on that matter could be very damaging to the party. The hope is that Obama will be able to persuade Netanyahu to extend the construction freeze by means of a friendly request and thereby avoid a damaging confrontation.