Will Hillary save Netanyahu?

Bibi's minion turns to Hillary Clinton for support.

    Netanyahu is between a rock and a hard place, writes Bishara [AFP]
    Netanyahu is between a rock and a hard place, writes Bishara [AFP]

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is between a rock and a hard place. Locking horns with US President Barack Obama over his ill-timed speech to Congress, means he's likely to bruise regardless of whether he ends up delivering it or backs down.

    As tensions grow, you would expect Israel's man and the Clintons' supporter, Haim Saban, to approach Hillary to help rescue Bibi from his overreach. Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, Marwan Bishara, imagines it'll go along these lines:

    HS: Hello Hillary, how're grandma and grandpa?

    HC: Oh, wonderful Haim. Everything is a first with our grandchild; first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first Hanukkah. How's Cheryl?

    HS: Cheryl is redecorating, reorganising you know, taking charge; spending my money.

    HC: Good for her. And you need to stop repeating the same tired chauvinistic humour. 

    HS: I am telling you, she's the boss.

    HC: Here you go again! Anyway, what's up?

    HS: Bibi's up...

    HC: More like, he's down.

    HS: We need to stop this circus Hillary, it's hurting our special relationship.

    HC: Your guy has made a mess, big mess, terrible mess. Complicity with Boehner, really!?

    HS: It's not like that. It seems Boehner tricked [Ambassador] Dermer into thinking that it was the Speaker who was going to coordinate with the White House.

    HC: Oh, for God's sake - who are they kidding! He met with Secretary Kerry for hours and didn't say a word. That's duplicity not diplomacy. Chutzpah, as you would say.

    HS: That's a compliment in Israel. 

    Actually, it's he who needs to work with us over the next few years, if he holds onto his seat, and therefore must behave accordingly. He can't just barge in, bulldozing his way into Washington as if it's an occupied territory - this is America!


    HC: I rest my case.

    HS: Either way, we need to find a way out of this mess, before it hurts us all. Before it hurts you.

    HC: Why the heck would it hurt me? I certainly can't see him if he insists on making an appearance against the strong advice of the president. I can't and I won't oppose the president on this, Haim.

    HS: But you know how embarrassing this is? Remember, both of you will need to work with him in the coming years - there's no serious alternative to his leadership.

    HC: Actually, it's he who needs to work with us over the next few years, if he holds onto his seat, and therefore must behave accordingly. He can't just barge in, bulldozing his way into Washington as if it's an occupied territory - this is America! [whisper: Some reckon Congress is an Israeli occupied territory.]

    HS: I am not calling to argue, I am only asking for your help.

    HC: There's nothing I can do; he needs to back down. And between us, he needs to stop embarrassing himself and the rest of us who care deeply for Israel.

    HS: Even those among us in the Zionist tribe, who want him to cancel, can't just stand idly by if the Democrats humiliate him while the Republicans honour him. Many, and I mean many, including big donors, will turn against you and the party.

    HC: No, they won't. To be frank, lots of us are getting tired of his pretentions about knowing what's best for Iran. 

    HS: The organised Jewish community will stand by Israel, Hillary.

    HC: Look, from [the centrist Jewish lobby] J Street lobby to the mainstream Jewish establishment, there's consensus that he needs to cancel. Even [national director of the Anti-Defamation League] Foxman and [president of the Union for Reformed Judaism] Jacobs, have warned against the damage the speech will cause. 

    HS: That's true for now, but it will backfire if, or when, the Democratic leadership, especially by the vice president, boycotts him. 

    HC: I disagree. The Democrats won't switch sides over this. Every one of Israel's Jewish defenders [apologists] in America, from Jeff Greenberg to Tom Friedman, to Richard Cohen, to your own Sanchopanza - Martin Indyk - all are against the speech.

    HS: You know, I remember when I first came to America - how Jewish and non-Jewish Democrats turned against Jimmy Carter in droves after the Iran crisis. They were dubbed the 'Reagan Democrats'. It did happen.

    HC: Yeah, but my Bill [Clinton] recovered most of them in 1992 and gained many others. I know, I was there.

    HS: Yes, but only after Bush Senior put so much pressure on Prime Minister Shamir, just like Obama is doing to Netanyahu.

    HC: Bollocks. You know how we populated the administration with your people who are hyper sensitive when it comes to Israel; you know all too well that both Obama and I are supporters of Israel; no ifs, no buts.

    HS: But, but ... the perception, both here and in Israel, is that Obama is anything but friendly to Israel.

    Netanyahu: Israel to make its own decisions

    HC: And that perception is it's Netanyahu's fault. Obama has certain disagreements with the prime minister, as I do. We don't see eye to eye on Iran and the peace process. We let you be in Palestine and you need to let the president carry out his plan for Iran.

    HS: You know, I am a one issue guy, and that's Israel. I have one preoccupation, Iran.

    HC: Yeah, yeah, heard that before. And you also dreamt of being Sharon's spokesperson. How delightful.

    HS: My loyalty is to Israel and to America; they're not mutually exclusive.

    HC: Israel's super important to US, but our loyalty is to America. And in Israel, Netanyahu isn't exactly our favourite. Not after the headaches he caused us. I had to give him a dressing down myself when I was secretary of state. He's like an Israeli Republican fusion of McCain and [Republican senator from Texas Ted] Cruz.

    HS: But he's the only one that has a real chance to head the next government after the March elections.

    HC: So let him give us a break; I have tough elections to fight and can't afford his bulls***t right now.

    HS: And I am with you. Let's make it a win-win.

    HC: You sure don't sound like it; you're on Bibi's side.

    HS: Come on. I am with you all the way, and will support you all the way, just as I did before with Bill. You know me; I go all the way, and will bring many along. I've donated millions to your campaigns and to the party.

    HC: I know.

    HS: I will bring along hundreds of big donors that will put you on top, like the ones I got to donate to the Friends of the Israeli military after the Gaza war last summer. Even someone like Simon Cowell of American Idol donated in the six figures.

    HC: That's more like an Israeli Idol.

    HS: We need more people like him to support Israel.

    HC: See how wonderful and generous America is? What other country allows you to collect millions for the military of another country? A military that … oh, forget it … [that's a military of occupation, that's being sued in the ICC and is accused by human rights organisations of war crimes and of killing hundreds of children last summer]. 

    HS: That's not fair. You might also appreciate that I donated $5m to Bill's library and $5m more to his/your foundation.

    HC: Ok, stop. Haim, you became a billionaire from that FOX Family deal only after Bill made a phone call to the Brazilian president to release Brazilian rights. You remember, don't you?

    HS: Hillary, I work hard, and I donate because I care.

    HC: Now you're insulting my intelligence. How much political and financial clout did hosting me and Obama at your centre buy you the last couple of years? How much social status have you acquired thanks to Bill and I?

    HS: Hey, I am Israeli. Of course I'll get something in return for anything. 

    HC: You sure do.

    HS: I AM a businessman and this is America. Buying political influence is still kosher the last time I looked. You don't seem to mind very much either. 

    HC: But I am not an opportunist like some others.

    HS: Again, that's a compliment in Israel.

    HC: I don't. And at any rate, I have more potential donors than I can cash in; especially among our Israeli friends. It's these members of Congress who schmooze Bibi that are in dire need of donations. Our system is totally addicted to money and I'll be damned if I don't collect more than Jeb Bush.

    HS: Listen; I didn't call to discuss me, you or money. I am calling to say that if/when Bibi's visit backfires, we'll all get burnt.

    HC: It'll burn some more than others. Bibi and his friend Boehner would be the first to squirm.

    HS: Netanyahu is far more exposed.

    HC: Look, if Bibi is coming to Washington for the AIPAC conference any way, then he should make his public speech on Iran there, and meet with the Congressional leadership behind closed doors.

    HS: Would you meet with him in that case? It's more important for him to meet you than to see the president.

    HC: Oh, for God's sake, Haim. I don't think so. Perhaps, if the White House OKs it, I'll consider it.

    HS: I am sure Governors Bush and Christie will schedule meetings with him.

    HC: Oh, here you go again … bye.

    Next Call: Depends on what happens the next few days.

    Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.