The New Yorker’s David Remnick explains why Benjamin Netanyahu’s “high-handed way” of dealing with US presidents serves neoconservative strategy:
…In his first term as Prime Minister, in the nineties, Netanyahu used to behave in such a high-handed way with White House officials that Bill Clinton left meetings with him bewildered and bemused, wondering who, in their relationship, was the leader of a superpower. But Netanyahu’s arrogance, in the guise of Churchillian prescience, has hardly receded over the years. Obama, in an attempt to cool the latest crisis, called Netanyahu last night and spent an hour talking with him.
Adding to the outrage is the fact that Netanyahu is performing not just for his allies on the Israeli right but for those he perceives as his allies on the American right, including those in the Jewish community. His performance is in the same neocon voice as the one adopted by the Romney campaign and in its opportunistic reaction to the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic outposts in Cairo and Benghazi, which left our Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other consular employees dead. Unbelievably, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, took to Twitter and wrote, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.” Romney himself accused Obama of sympathizing with the attackers in Libya.
The neocon strategy, in both Israel and the U.S., is to paint Obama as naïve in the extreme. In this, Netanyahu and Romney are united—and profoundly cynical.
Update: Ali Gharib writes in the Daily Beast that Netanyahu’s sabre-rattling is being met with push-back from Israeli and US politicians.