Benjamin Netanyahu hires anti-Joe Biden strategist (ICYMI)

One staff member may not be able to sway an election, but the wrong one in the wrong place can do great damage.

THEN-US vice president Joe Biden embraces Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in 2016. (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
THEN-US vice president Joe Biden embraces Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in 2016.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is either extremely confident US President Donald Trump will win reelection in November or extremely stupid.
That conclusion can be drawn from the prime minister’s decision to hire a “strategic adviser” who built a reputation on insulting and attacking former US president Barack Obama and his former vice president Joe Biden.
He is Aaron Klein, a former Breitbart News reporter and protégé of Trump strategist Steve Bannon. Bannon is the former executive chairman of Breitbart, the alt-right website that many liberals and some conservatives consider “misogynist, xenophobic and racist,” according to Wikipedia.
With Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden tied at the hip to his former boss, Obama, an attack on one is fairly considered an attack on the other.
It is no secret that the former president and the PM had a fraught relationship, getting off to a bad start when the newly elected Obama’s dream of restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in earnest was Netanyahu’s nightmare.
It doesn’t benefit Israel when the prime minister’s new communications consultant accuses the Obama-Biden administration of treating Israel “like it was a shithole,” according to The Jerusalem Post.
Klein, 41, was raised in Philadelphia, like Netanyahu. Both are said to still have signs of a Philadelphia accent and speak better English than the current and previous Republican presidents.
Klein wrote a book in 2010 entitled The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists. Reviewers for Media Matters for America and the New York Daily News charitably called it “ridiculous crap.”
Among his attacks on the first black president, Klein said the birther movement, which was embraced and promoted by Trump, raised “legitimate questions” about Obama’s eligibility for president.
Klein was also senior staff writer and Jerusalem bureau chief for the far-right Christian website WorldNetDaily, which Wikipedia said has a reputation for “promoting falsehoods and conspiracy theories,” including birtherism.
Netanyahu is on trial for several corruption charges and anxious to seal his legacy by annexing large portions of the West Bank before the American election. Trump has given him a green light to unilaterally take up to 30%, including the Jordan Valley, and the PM has promised his followers to take the first step by July 1. What and how much he will go for is still closely held, but what is apparent is that he feels time may be running out. Trump is unlikely to interfere because he is preoccupied with bigger problems, like his reelection campaign and the crises he faces, bungles and creates.
Biden has said he would not roll back Trump’s relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or recognition of Jerusalem as the nation’s capital.  He has repeatedly declared “my commitment to Israel is absolutely unshakable,” and vowed “I will not place conditions on security assistance given the serious threat Israelis face.”
BUT HE draws the line at annexation.
“I do not support annexation,” he told a group of Jewish supporters last month. It would “choke off any hope for peace” and as president “I will reverse Trump’s undercutting of peace.”
He also said he wants to repair US relations with the Palestinians broken by Trump. “They have to acknowledge flat out Israel’s right to exist. Period. As an independent Jewish state, and guarantee the borders,” he said.
The former vice president has clashed with Israeli leaders from Menachem Begin to Netanyahu over settlements, which he – correctly – considers intentional obstacles to peace.
That may help explain reports of frantic lobbying efforts by Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to rally support for annexation before November.
One staff member may not be able to sway an election, but the wrong one in the wrong place can do great damage. Trump has Stephen Miller, who has shaped his xenophobic, racist immigration policy and has become a symbol of the callous and combative tone of the administration.
Like Miller, Klein knows the way to the boss’ heart is through his ego. That starts with telling the great man – a legend in his own mind – that he is another Winston Churchill. “There is no one else like him and there never will be… Israel is lucky that he is leading the Jewish state,” the obsequious Klein has said.
Klein has warned Biden that he should worry about exposure of his role in what Klein has called the Russian collusion hoax. “If the very origins of this investigation are proven to be criminal, then Joe Biden has a lot to be concerned about,” he said in a radio interview with SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday, The Jerusalem Post reported.
With the latest polls showing Biden widening his lead over Trump and talk of another blue wave like the one in 2018 that swept away Republicans’ House majority, Netanyahu’s strategy of attacking the Democrats and their nominee may not be the wisest course for someone who prides himself on being Israel’s greatest expert on the US.
Relations between Israel and American Jewry have steadily deteriorated during the Netanyahu years as religious and nationalist extremists dominated Israel’s politics and pushed it in a direction alien to the majority of American Jews on issues such as religious pluralism and civil society.
The schism widened with Netanyahu’s alliance with right-wing religious, particularly evangelical, movements in the US that was on opposing sides from the vast majority of American Jews. Issues like Mideast peace, health care, the environment, education, social welfare, guns, taxes, workplace safety and so much more.  Trump’s base is largely on the other side of these issues from American Jewry, and Netanyahu has been more comfortable with them than with liberal Jews.
With the move toward annexation, that gap could see a quantum jump.
Siccing Netanyahu’s new attack dog on Biden may please Trump but it won’t help the PM or, most importantly, Israel and its alliance with American Jews, who are expected to give the former vice president 75% or more of their votes in November. It’s time to stop blowing up bridges.