Photo Credit: Gili Yaari / Flash 90
Opposition leader and Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog, 2015

Is the Obama administration tampering with Israel’s electoral process? Top U.S. officials met on Saturday in Munich with opposition leader and Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog, a candidate in the upcoming election.

U.S. President Barack Obama and senior White House staff repeatedly have claimed the upcoming Israeli national elections were too close to allow American administration officials to meet with Israeli candidates, including the prime minister.

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Just a matter of policy, after all.

So how does that fit with a meeting between Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Isaac Herzog? Of course, the meeting was not “formally” scheduled and there were no photo ops.

The two American leaders both have said they will skip Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress on March 3 specifically because the date runs too close to Israel’s elections.

Herzog also managed to squeeze in meetings with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on the sidelines of the security conference.

Following the talks in Munich, Herzog told Israel’s Channel 10 news that Netanyahu “won’t get to meet with a single American official on this visit – not from the National Security Agency, not from the White House, not from the State Department. It’s a complete boycott. Even if that’s not stated, that’s the story.”

And what a story it is. A complete endorsement of Labor party candidate Isaac Herzog, for whom the White House is clearly campaigning, along with the European Union.

One might be tempted to think that U.S. President Barack Obama is fiddling with Israeli politics. Tampering, even, with help from the European Union.

But isn’t that illegal?

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Rachel Levy is a freelance journalist who has written for Jewish publications in New York, New Jersey and Israel.

54 COMMENTS

  1. The Obama campaign rooting for Herzog to become prime minister, that to me is blatant interference, by an outside country. That says that Bibi is doing something that they don’t like, but Bibi works the the good of ISRAEL, something they don’t want. Too bad, Bibi you have our support

  2. This should read Top Obama Leaders and not place all our leaders in this group. Our Speaker of the House invited Israels Prime Minister to speak and this is what upset Obama. I can not call him president because of his vindictiveness. This is how Obama treats our best allies.

  3. This should read Top Obama Leaders and not place all our leaders in this group. Our Speaker of the House invited Israels Prime Minister to speak and this is what upset Obama. I can not call him president because of his vindictiveness. This is how Obama treats our best allies.

  4. not to worry jews idf got your back and the quisling jews will have a military coup if they sell out their homeland re-elect bibi a modern day little david against goliath and his antisemitic pals. the jewish supporters of the democrazy party should not vote in 2016 for cowardly leaders dems or gop or they will be as stupid as the blacks browns gays and women who get out of their overwhelming support of the big tent democrazies who get elected carter and obama have shown americans what they are about by unleashing beheadists and baby ers on the free world canada egypt and jordan are not buckling under and following bibi’s courage more countries will follow the trend once the community organizer leaves office

  5. not to worry jews idf got your back and the quisling jews will have a military coup if they sell out their homeland re-elect bibi a modern day little david against goliath and his antisemitic pals. the jewish supporters of the democrazy party should not vote in 2016 for cowardly leaders dems or gop or they will be as stupid as the blacks browns gays and women who get out of their overwhelming support of the big tent democrazies who get elected carter and obama have shown americans what they are about by unleashing beheadists and baby ers on the free world canada egypt and jordan are not buckling under and following bibi’s courage more countries will follow the trend once the community organizer leaves office

  6. This is total nonsense . You can’t say you won’t visit with netanyahu because it’s too close to an election then meet with herzog.This is too important because I feel Netanyahu is one of the few people left to express a voice against this deal . I heard from Jewish press that Iran will get 80% of what they want and could be weeks closer to getting a bomb .

  7. This is total nonsense . You can’t say you won’t visit with netanyahu because it’s too close to an election then meet with herzog.This is too important because I feel Netanyahu is one of the few people left to express a voice against this deal . I heard from Jewish press that Iran will get 80% of what they want and could be weeks closer to getting a bomb .

  8. While I agree there may be some discord between the current President and the Prime Minister, the article is misleading. The policy is not to meet the final two weeks before any foreign election. The meetings discussed in this article were more than 5 weeks before the election.
    Not suggesting supporting Netanyahu or Herzog, just think the full story should be told.

  9. WH shouldtry to do do the right thing: dealing with Putin and Iran…; instead they are just running away of that and scolding the best ally the may have in the ME.Is that because there too many anti-Semite in the White House…or is just Obama's personality disliking Netanyahu?…he should do the best for the West and not for his ego!

  10. It is so distressing to hear daily how increasingly despicable the entire Obama and the Democratic Party is. Obama just dictates and all his little sheep in the Administration and Communist Party just wag their tails and obey like good little servants.

    Boehner must obey, McConnell must obey, Netanyahu must obey! The people of the U.S. elected a Muslim that is hell bent on
    DEGRADING and DESTROYING the U.S. & Israel. Just give the mindless masses more goodies and they can all keep their jobs and steamroll over the people they should be honorably serving.

  11. I hope Israelis will not be cowered into voting for the opposition to PM Netanyahu because of Sheik Hussein I of Obama's bullying. The Antisemite, Jihadist, Israel Hater, Islamist and Golfer in Chief is a Neville Chamberlain and wants a Judenrat Israeli PM who will wag his/her tail, bow to the Imperial Dictator of America and march his people into the crematoria or sea. Sheik Hussein I wants to hand Iran nuclear weapons. Your lives are at stake Israelis and along with you, the rest of the world. Vote Likud and for PM Netanyahu. Its not a moral stand, but a matter of life and death.

  12. Obama is trying to get Netanyahu to loose he wants a puppet in ofice to do what Obama wants , Israel u better vote 4 Netanyahu because Obama is againest Netanyahu because he want give in to Obama , palestine , Hamas , Iran ,Syria and Obama knows Netanyahu looks out 4 Israel and the jewish people safety ,Obama wants palestine to get there way a 2 states if palestine get 2 states that will be the end of Israel u can count on it ,Obama has got the muslim brotherhood in the white house and has muslims working 4 him in security issues ,Christians in America donn ‘t trust Obama any more 4 the way he has treated Israel he is 4 muslims because he is one i believe that more everyday because the way he sticks up 4 muslims even the radical one , in my book all muslims are evil of the devil ,U jews better no loose Netanyahu he is the one keeping Israel safe as he can ,and he will do something about Iran Nuclear that Obama is letting them get it ,A spokeperson 4 Iran got on facebook and said they were going to keep there nuclear and would never give it up 4 no one ,

  13. I hope Israel doesn't allow Obama cronies to tamper with their election. If they do it will be as though they were siding with the enemy. Without PM Netanyahu, I believe Israel would be selling their souls. PM Netanyahu has a heart for the good of Israel. Herzog…not so much.

  14. I would THINK it’s illegal & I HOPE Israel does something about it. I also hope Israelis’ will NOT let other nations influence them & that they will vote for Netanyahu in a landslide election! Israel has got to know by now that majority of Americans & our new Congress are FOR Bibi, & Obama will be gone in the next election.

  15. The hatred and incitement are so engrained in Palestinians’ very being, that everything is permissible, including butchering innocent children. Everything is justified, including using one’s own children and civilians as live shields. It is the duty of each believing Muslim to engage in a holy war against the Zionists who defile the Arab land called Palestine.

    This culture of death is so infected that there is only one pill to rid the affected body of it. What is done to administer that pill? Who will administer it?

    One would expect Israel, whose body is ailing, to attempt to take care of itself. Alas, Israel and the Jewish communities around the world are embroiled in a culture of constant debate on behalf of the Palestinians, completely oblivious to any damage they thus cause to themselves.

    Expecting the world to be aware of their position on the Palestinian problems has been, and will continue to be, a costly mistake. The Palestinians are not interested to engage in a peace process, nor will they recognize the Jewish State’s right to exist. The world ignores this reality and Israel fails to present its case.

    Israel behaves like a woman and the world is a man. A woman who expects a man to read her thoughts and anticipate her every need without clearly and directing stating it aloud, is in a constant state of frustration and loss. The world able to read Israel’s mind, are you kidding me?

    The fact there is no cohesive plan and message with regard to the United Nations fiasco about to occur in September is a disgrace to diplomacy and a deadly mistake. The best defense is a good offense. It is time for Israel to go on the offensive in a big way.

    There should already be a long and sustained outcry from Prime Minister Netanyahu regularly against the danger of usurping Israeli lands and their rightful capital. He should make quite clear to the world what will happen if any such attempts to take such lands proceed.

    Standing by and waiting for the world to chime in and read Israel’s mind about this egregious plan has never worked in the past, and with the advent of a pro Palestinian government in Washington it is a deadly miscalculation.

    The world has never stood up for the Jewish people until it affected them directly. The U.S. refused to enter World War II until it was no longer possible to refrain from combat.

    What makes Israel believe it will be any different this time?

    Israel’s enemies know the value of repeating lies and untruths over and over until the world accepts them as true. Yet, Jewish leaders stand idly by watching as the world’s opinion turns against the Jewish State.

    There must be a continual response to these lies. Our enemy’s words only resonate because we allow them to do so.

    The words No, No, No, that is a lie and here is why, should be Israel’s battle cry going forward. No propaganda can go unanswered. No historical rewrites can be allowed to stand in for the truth.

    Until Israel gets its message together and stops worrying about what the world thinks, it will be seen as a weak and tiresome country. No one will defend someone who will not defend himself. No one respects a wimp, and as we are all told continually, “the world loves a winner.” Until Israel acts like a winner, it continues to be the loser.

    Lack of communication is creating untold problems for the State of Israel.

    We need strong voices in unison to combat the lies and agenda of destruction or we are doomed. It is time the Jewish people spoke in one long and loud voice to save their country and their homeland.

  16. Not short of covert attempt of final solution for Jews; Obama recruited to Hitler's solution using Arabs as surrogates, Iran as executioner ; I rather die in a massive nuclear cloud than burn in a cage, decapitated or in a gas chamber. Samson all over again

  17. There does not appear to be any end to hypocrisy and manipulative politics in Obama's world. Further people of the Jewish faith should not fear that speaking out will invite a backlash since fear in this case reduces to resigned acceptance.

  18. Very well said! The above quoted words by Hertzog, combined with his interview on Channel 2 last week, where he happily boasted of speaking regularly to the President (Obama) on the red telephone are actually an INDITEMENT OF HERTZOG and his weak, meddling politics, building himself up at the COST OF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY OF HIS NATION, which is the issue on the table at Congress. And I agree with Bibi that this is the biggest issue with regards to the safety of Israel and then USA and Europe. Seeing, they will not see, and hearing, they will not hear. But Bibi does, and is being punished for his CLEAR VISION AND STRONG BACK.

    ISRAEL HAS FALLEN BEFORE THROUGH DIVISION, AND UNHEALTHY COLLABORATION WITH FOREIGN POWERS. HERTZOG AND LIVNI ARE THE HELLENISTS OF THE MODERN ERA. I'd SAY THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO USE THE TITLE "THE ZIONIST CAMP." Why, o Why is LIkud allowing this title to be claimed by them, and batted by the media without question? They are anything but the Zionist camp. They are the collaborationist camp.

    When you read past struggles, like the Bar-Kochva revolt, where do you sympathies lie? With the Collaborators?? Mine do not! Cheers to you Bibi, imperfect but strong, and loving your country! And DOWN WITH THE COLLABORATORS! They will cut up Jerusalem and give away "the territories." with a smile and with pride. And Israel's back will be exposed!

    Look up in Torah : They divided my land etc. Joel 3 etc. etc. SEE!

  19. I understood that the meeting took place yesterday, Sunday. And last week Bugie Herzog boasted on Channel 2 that he talks regularly with The President in the red phone. In his weak and collaborative innocence he has himself admitted that BHO is meddling directly in Israeli politics just before the election. I don;t recall witnessing such a DIRTY CAMPAIGN as this tasteless one against Bibi. Making issues about a few recycled bottles, I ask you! And ignoring the Iran issue and with Isis, Hezbollah (Iran proxy) and Hamas (also Iran supported) right on Israel's back.

    SHAME ON THE COLLABORATORS AGAINST THEIR NATION!

  20. " Some discord " Phil Priesman is a matter of life and death for Israel How many holocausts do you think Israel can endure ?
    Don't you take the threats of Iranian mullahs seriously ? Well Israel does If they say Israel should be annihilated and they proceed to acquire nuclear weapons , do you say Israel must just accept without a murmur ? Netanyahu realises the issues in speaking but the alternative is so compelling ,he dare not remain silent
    And why in America to the joint houses ? Because that is the closest to where the final fatal decisions will be made

  21. The message to Congress has to come from all of Israel
    http://www.madisdead.blogspot.co.il/2015/02/the-message-to-congress-has-to-come.html

    When on May 10, 1940 Winston Churchill became PM, to fight the Nazis he formed a national government which was a coalition of all major political parties. This coalition lasted until May of 1945 when after the defeat of Germany Clement Attlee decided to dissolve it.

    All Israeli political parties, except perhaps the Arab ones, understand that if Iran gets the bomb it will be an existential threat to Israel and the US. This crucial message has to be conveyed to Congress and the American people. Congress must hear the truth for itself else it will be committing an act of abdication of duty without parallel.

    To remove any accusation of electioneering, all political parties must send their representative to Congress to deliver the message in unison and demonstrate that they stand by the PM at this most decisive of moments in Israel's history.

  22. I can understand why the "Ethics of our Fathers" admonishes us to stay away from politics and politicians. Herzog has no problem throwing Israel under the bus or should that read "Throwing Israel under the Obama Administration?". I guess his justification is the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

  23. Yesterday, I wrote Biden and told him that his and his henchman boss's actions were disgraceful. For those who think Netanyahu should cancel the speech, I couldn't disagree more. This would be playing right into Obama's hands. Netanyahu should not only deliver the speech, he should also mention that if Obama would have involved Israel on an issue they directly impacts their survival, there would be no reason for the speech. But, since Obama did everything in his power to exclude Israel, Israel needs to stand up for their rights and will continue to ring the bell loud and clear. While he is at it, I would be sure to mention that Obamas distain and bias against Israel is unprecedented. It's time for Israel to address the debacle that is the Obama and his administration. There will be who side with Obama. I ask that every that goes along with Obama's anti Israel agenda should be immediately disqualified as a candidate. Remember, if we look back on history we will see the disastrous results of appeasement. Did anyone remember Neville Chamberlain? People thought Churchill was an old crackpot. But, look at how the world would be if we didn't have Churchill. Being right isn't always going to be popular but morality must supersede consensus.

  24. HERZOGS MEETING WITH THESE "LEADERS" WERE NOT SANCTIONED BY THE KENNESST AND AS SUCH HE SHOULD BE BARRED FOR RUNNING FROM OFFICE FOR DISRESPECTING GOVERNMENT PROTOCOL. LIKE LIVINI, CAN ANYONE MEET AND SET COUNTRY POLICY AND NOT THE ELECTED LEADERS? STOP IT!!!

  25. Ever wonder why so many countries hate the US? Perhaps its because the US is so powerful in making global decisions that other countries have no voice in making? Here, the greatest ally of the US is experiencing the same: The US President decides what's good enough for Israel's security. And if he's wrong, no problem he'll be leaving office soon enough. Clearly this administration believes that the true path to peace is offered only by JStreet, and he wants an Israeli leader who agrees with him. But the excuse of refraining contact prior to an election is so much bull… hypocracy, that it begs being made into an American election issue. Leaving Iran with any nuclear capability is dangerous to the survival of the Jewish People and Obama demonstrates he really doesn't give a hoot about that.

  26. Hypocrisy or hatred? None, simply Obama wants to keep the lies about Iran that he will not allow them to have nuclear weapons ongoing! Netanyahu will show the world the liar Obama is; Herzog abets Obama's agenda and thus he is the enemy of EVERY Israeli.

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