Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Israel | Steve Malzberg Show | Elliott Abrams | Benjamin Netanyahu | Israel

Elliott Abrams: Obama Could Squash Democrats' Support of Israel

Friday, 27 Feb 2015 02:16 PM

President Barack Obama may be able to chip Democratic support for Israel as his icy relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu festers, says Elliott Abrams, former deputy national security adviser under President George W. Bush.

In an interview on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV, Abrams said the Obama administration is hoping Netanyahu will lose the upcoming Israel election on March 17.

"They don’t like Bibi at all because he’s right of center whereas this is a left wing administration," said Abrams, now a senior fellow at The Council on Foreign Relations.

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"The administration is really trying to make support for Israel, which has always been bipartisan, into more of a partisan issue where only Republicans support Netanyahu — and try to undermine the long-term bipartisan support for Israel.

"The Republican support in every opinion poll is much higher than the Democratic support. It’s fair to say the president can succeed to some extent."

Abrams believes Obama is attempting to "get people who are on the left, who are liberals, to choose — which is more important to you? Being on the left, being a liberal or being pro-Israel.

"And he will get some of them to kind of peel away from their support for Israel. Will he succeed in diminishing overall American support? I don’t think so, but he can undermine support in the Democratic Party."

Netanyahu is set to speak to Congress about the threat Israel faces from a nuclear-armed Iran next week following an invitation by House Speaker John Boehner — an invite that ruffled feathers in the Obama administration.

His visit comes on the eve of a pending U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran, one that Netanyahu warns would leave the Islamic Republic on the threshold of an atomic bomb.

But a critical Secretary of State John Kerry told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, "Anybody running around right now, jumping in to say, 'Well, we don't like the deal,' or this or that, doesn't know what the deal is."

Obama has already said he will not meet privately with Netanyahu and his national security adviser has said the visit could be "destructive" to toward U.S.-Israel relations.

Abrams doesn't believe the White House has any cause for alarm.

"I don’t think [what Netanyahu says is] going to be something new. In fact, when he’s done talking about the Iran that we all know, the Ayatollah that we know, a lot people are going to say, 'What was so terrible about his giving that speech, that was a good speech,'" Abrams said.

"And most Democrats in Congress will agree with 99 percent of what he’s going to say."

Abrams also warned that an erosion of support for Israel will help stir the flames of anti-Jewish sentiment.

"If the administration continues down this road, what you’re doing is you’re feeding people who are already anti-Semites and giving them a little more ammunition," he said.

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President Barack Obama may be able to chip Democratic support for Israel as his icy relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu festers, says Elliott Abrams, former deputy national security adviser under President George W. Bush.
Elliott Abrams, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Democrats, Republicans
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2015-16-27
Friday, 27 Feb 2015 02:16 PM
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