Israel’s illusion that it is at the center of the known universe is now shared by a lot of American commentators. The mood is even more intense because liberal Zionists sense a historic election in which Benjamin Netanyahu goes down and is replaced by the center-left. Haaretz’s Barak Ravid is mocking the prime minister’s statements about outside influence:
Netanyahu says “Scandinavia” is trying to topple him. Yes – you heard me – Scandinavia
Last refuge of the fading strongman: accuse outside agitators, foreign govts
Chemi Shalev of Haaretz chimes in:
more Bibi rant: “supported by tycoons from Israel and abroad and foreign governments.” [Sounds like Bibi is copying anti-Semitic tracts]
And Shalev reports this:
Netanyahu on Facebook: “Left wing and media elements here and abroad have banded together to bring Tzipi and Bouji to power illegitimately”
Yousef Munayyer cracks:
Netanyahu taking a page out of the Arab dictators playbook already blaming foreign plot to unseat him.
Ofer Neiman says the mood in parts of Israel is like an “Ukrainian Orange Revolution” in which a dictator is being toppled. He also points to foreign efforts, the anti-Netanyahu American initiative V15, led by a former Obama election expert who Wikipedia says is the son of Missouri Baptists and studied at Harvard Divinity School.
Here’s a V15 ad. Brilliant: all about the power of an individual to get rid of the tyrannical fearmonger. Notice the depiction of Netanyahu sliding his infamous UN bomb cartoon (:07 secs) out from under what appears to be a map of the settlements before packing up the family photos. It’s already gotten more than half a million views. A translation of the Hebrew title can be understood simultaneously as “Thank you, good bye”, “Thanks, peace”, or according to Neiman it can also be used “somewhat rudely to tell someone to go away.” The message we get from the final scene — Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!:
Zionist Camp has not opened up a big enough lead for its leaders to feel confident. Everyone in that camp is very cautious, Tal Schneider tells Peace Now. Netanyahu is reportedly avoiding all interviews, she writes here. And she promotes Labor:
Labor is hitting its stride. The Israeli voter, who famously votes on the issue of security, is as sick of hearing the word Iran and s/he is sick of hearing about Netanyahu’s personal melodrama—the wife, the never-ending lawsuits by former staffers, the endless excuses for Israel’s income chasm .Yithak Herzog, the Labor leader, who has always been branded something of a wimp, is now brandishing his geekishness like a flag. See? No bonkers wife! No extravagant use of public funds! Herzog, the son of a president and grandson of a Great Rabbi and thus something of a local Kennedy, lives in the (remodeled) home in which he was raised.
J Street has the latest poll results, now 25 to 21 Zionist Camp over Likud, with the Arab List coming in at 13. Gorenberg says that Isaac Herzog is campaigning in a Netanyahu stronghold, the city of Ashdod.
As for media abroad, the NYT has chimed in with a huge piece called “Netanyahu and the Settlements” that describes Netanyahu as the king of the settlement project, who has made the two-state solution “particularly problematic.” Yes Labor has also built settlements, but nothing like Netanyahu. The piece largely ignores East Jerusalem, site of frenetic settlement building that the NYT calls “neighborhoods” ala Jeffrey Goldberg, and focuses on the West Bank.
[O]ne place where there is a broad consensus that settlements will stay is the Etzion block, stretching south from Jerusalem along Route 60. There were Jewish communities there before Israel’s establishment in 1948, and Mr. Herzog of the center-left Zionist Union recently campaigned in the block, declaring that “it must be part of Israel for eternity.”
But in this area, too, Mr. Netanyahu’s initiatives have deepened the dilemma for peacemakers…
Yet over the past four years, tenders have been published for more than 1,100 new units in Efrat, and land cleared for a new neighborhood that would extend the settlement even further east.
The takeaway quote in the piece is this one, from a two-state-solution promoter:
“What you’re doing is actually affecting the delineation of the blocks, but unilaterally,” said Gilead Sher, who heads a group, Blue White Future, that is pushing to evacuate some settlements and shore up others. Of Mr. Netanyahu, he added, “He speaks about the two-state solution, but he does whatever there is in his capability to delegitimize the two-state solution.”
Says J Street: “This stunning New York Times feature on Netanyahu’s settlement policy is essential reading.”
Thanks to Annie Robbins.