The Obama administration is going all out to see that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is defeated, but the campaign of veiled threats and anonymous leaks is backfiring: Instead of sinking in the polls, Netanyahu is rising.And that's why it's begun to backfire. Senator Ted Cruz has already spoken about the case of the illegal campaign funding, and notes how V15 could be exploiting people's tax dollars to do it. He's also called for an investigation, and he's right that this should be inspected.
When Netanyahu accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress in support of new sanctions on Iran, the Obama administration began a full-scale press offensive with a clear message: Netanyahu was endangering Israel by playing politics with the country’s relationship with the United States. Secretary of State John F. Kerry warned (through an anonymous aide) that “playing politics with that relationship could blunt [Kerry’s] enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender” and revealed that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency had told him that new a sanctions bill would be “like throwing a grenade” into the negotiations with Iran. A senior administration official declared ominously to Haaretz that “President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.” A member of “Obama’s inner circle” launched an attack against Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer in the New York Times, accusing him of having “repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States.” The Times noted “Such officially authorized criticisms of diplomats from major allies are unusual.” The message to Israeli voters was unmistakable: If they reelect Netanyahu, Israel will pay a “price.”
While White House officials were threatening Israel, the news broke that Obama’s 2012 national field director, Jeremy Bird, was headed to Tel Aviv to manage a grass-roots campaign to oust Netanyahu. Bird would not be working to defeat Netanyahu if he thought Obama opposed it. Can you imagine Karl Rove going to London while George W. Bush was in office to help conservatives oust Prime Minister Tony Blair? It further emerged that the group behind Bird’s anti-Netanyahu effort has received State Department funding and lists the State Department as a “partner” on its Web site. Netanyahu’s Likud Party held a news conference to accuse its opponents of accepting foreign funds in violation of Israeli election laws, and Israeli newspapers published headlines on the “Obama-Labor link.”
In the context of the anonymous White House threats, having a top Obama campaign official in Israel actively working to defeat Netanyahu is naturally perceived as interference.
The lesson here is: when you openly interfere in a friendly country's internal politics, it's only bound to have the opposite results. And that's what's happening here now.