Via WaPo, enjoy Bibi struggling mightily to keep a straight face as he coughs up the requisite diplomatic niceties for his “friend” Barack on the morning after. As if the famously strained Obama/Netanyahu relationship didn’t make this awkward enough, note that that’s U.S. ambassador Dan Shapiro standing next to him. Remember him? The guy who had an “explosive confrontation” with Netanyahu over Iran’s nuclear program in front of House Intel Committee chair Mike Rogers just two months ago? Only Romney himself was less enthusiastic about congratulating The One than Netanyahu.
Here’s how bad it is:
Another Likud lawmaker said that “Obama is not good for Israel and we’re concerned that he will try to pressure Israel into making concessions because of his chilly relationship with Netanyahu.”
According to a senior Likud official, the Prime Minister’s Office was alarmed by the negative reactions to Obama’s re-election, which could intensify the cold relationship between the two leaders – and therefore decided to begin damage control and prevent uncoordinated responses.
On Wednesday afternoon, the ministers’ spokespersons and advisors received text messages from Netanyahu’s office, asking them not to comment about Obama’s re-election. The Likud spokespersons were requested to stick with the statements issued by Netanyahu’s office.
I assume that explains why Bibi’s office insisted on recording this otherwise banal, perfunctory moment for posterity and YouTubing it. It’s a small goodwill gesture, likely designed for a domestic audience more so than an American one in order to reassure Israelis that Netanyahu’s not jeopardizing their relationship with the U.S. That could be dangerous for him at home, especially with Obama occasionally signaling Israelis otherwise.
According to a poll published last week, Israeli Jews favored Romney over Obama — by 35 points.