Israel’s election commission was very clear about not wanting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress to be political in nature. Just weeks before the vote, they made networks in Israel broadcast the DC speech on a five minute tape delay in case the PM did any illegal campaigning mid-speech.
He got through the speech, but fading in most recent polls, Netanyahu is now trying to politicize his visit to the US, making his new campaign ad center around his visit, and the approval he received from the US Congress.
The ad attacks his primary rival, Isaac Herzog, bragging about his own success in getting sanctions imposed on Iran, and claiming credit for the US bankrolling Israel’s missile defense.
That Netanyahu is using the speech as a campaign prop is unsurprising, as the polls are making him more desperate in the home stretch, but does seem to support President Obama’s refusal to meet with him on the grounds that he didn’t want the visit to turn into a campaigning opportunity, and risk skewing the Israeli vote.
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