Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused his major political rivals of coordinating with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in an effort to derail his re-election. Specifically, Netanyahu has pointed to reports that former justice minister Tzipi Livni asked Kerry to delay a key United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood until after Israel’s elections on March 17, for fear that the vote would energize the Israeli right and build a popular wave behind Netanyahu’s tough foreign policy.
Netanyahu’s office released a statement, according to the Times of Israel, saying in part that “the true faces of Tzipi and Boujie [Isaac Herzog] have been revealed. Immediately after the elections, they intend to retreat and allow the creation of a second Hamastan in Judea and Samaria.” Netanyahu’s likely coalition partner Naftali Bennett also slammed Livni, saying she had put party before country: “Behind the back of the sitting government she is managing activities that will hurt Israel.”
Livni does not deny speaking to Kerry about the UN vote, but said that she was acting in Israel’s national interests, not out of political motivations. “I didn’t ask for the event to be delayed, I asked that it not take place,” she said, according to the Times of Israel. Livnia and other Israeli opposition leaders are campaigning openly on the idea that Netanyahu has alienated the world, including the United States, and that the fact that they are more highly regarded abroad means they should govern.
On Saturday, Foreign Policy had reported Kerry’s remarks to European Union foreign ministers, urging that a Palestine vote be delayed until after Israel’s elections: “Kerry cautioned that any action by the U.N. Security Council would strengthen the hands of Israeli hardliners who oppose the peace process.” The U.S. has, in the past, played favorites in Israeli elections, according to Aaron David Miller of the Daily Beast, both under Republican and Democratic administrations.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak