APN condemns what can no longer be dismissed as anything other than reckless statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that inject Israel into the American presidential race.
APN welcomes the stern message that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sent to Netanyahu yesterday, urging him not to thrust politics into the efforts that the United States and Israel are jointly making - together with their international allies - to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
In the early stages of the current election campaign, APN launched our "Responsibility over Rhetoric" project, an effort to educate candidates about issues relating to Israel, and to dissuade them from turning Israel and its security challenges into a political football on the way to November 6th. Never did we imagine that we would face statements by an Israeli politician - Israel's prime minister, no less - which do just that.
While the "Responsibility over Rhetoric" campaign was designed to address American politicians, we today find ourselves in the unhappy position of having to direct it at Israel's leader, urging him to cease playing this reckless, damaging game.
Less than two months before presidential elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu chose this week to publicly lash out at the White House over Iran policy differences, sought to embarrass President Obama over allegedly refusing to meet with him, and yesterday fanned the flames by saying that Israeli leaders are tested at times of differences with Israel's closest allies, implying that standing up to Israel's chief ally was a badge of honor.
In the Israeli media, commentators sharply criticized Netanyahu for what they interpret as a clear attempt to intervene in the race for the White House, while sacrificing what may be Israel's chief national security asset: Its relationship with the U.S. government. Two former chiefs of staff of the Israeli military, Shaul Mofaz and Gabi Ashkenazi, chastised Netanyahu for jeopardizing Israel's relationship with the U.S.
Differences between allies are legitimate and even natural. There will inevitably be daylight between Jerusalem and Washington. But Israeli politicians should not abuse that daylight to play politics on America's electoral field, as the presidential race reaches its final weeks.