Former NYT Magazine Editor Ed Klein Writes: With less than two months remaining in the presidential campaign, Obama was in no mood to be lectured in public by Netanyahu about America’s ineffectual approach to stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. But according to my sources in Jerusalem and Washington, the real reason Obama gave Netanyahu the brush off, was political, not diplomatic.
David Axelrod and his Chicago campaign team reckoned that if Obama agreed to meet with Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister would feel obliged to appear even-handed in the American presidential race and meet with Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. The last thing the Axelrod gang wanted to see were side-by-side front-page photos of Bibi’s chilly reception at the White House contrasted with his warm embrace by Romney. Netanyahu and Romney have a close relationship that dates back to their work together at the Boston Consulting Group in the mid-1970s. That friendship has been cemented by Romney’s trips to Israel, where he has dined with Netanyahu and his wife, and by the friends they have in common both in Israel and the United States.
The Obama campaign operation is convinced that Netanyahu is grossly interfering in the American presidential election. Netanyahu, according to their theory, wants Romney to win the election because he shares Netanyahu’s hawkish views on Iran. What’s more, the Israeli prime minister’s constant complaints about America’s approach to Iran are viewed by Axelrod & Co. as an effort to portray Obama as a weak leader.
Furthermore, the Axelrod operation believes that Netanyahu is somehow in cahoots with a major Republican effort to influence Jewish voters to abandon Obama and vote for Romney. The Chicago operatives point to the fact that the Republican Jewish Coalition is spending $6.5 million in advertisements to influence the Jewish vote in swing states like Florida.