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.
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?