Don’t mess with Israel.
H/T: Brian of London: This article seems to explain what happened here. But Kerry is not just any fool; he’s a uniquely clueless diplomat with little understanding of the ins and outs of Israeli coalition politics and no interest in learning from his mistakes.
How Bibi Outfoxed Kerry. Again.
They never learn, do they? Though it almost never works, American leaders have been trying to intervene in Israeli politics for decades. Presidents and secretaries of state always think that if they put the right amount of pressure on Jerusalem or push various politicians to do what they want, somehow it will result in an Israeli government that will be more willing to do the bidding of the White House and the State Department. According to Haaretz, that was the behind-the-scenes story of the coalition negotiations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog during the last week. The goal was to transform Israel’s government from a narrow right-wing coalition into a centrist unity government with Herzog as foreign minister. Reportedly, the impetus for the talks was an effort by Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomatic Quartet representative Tony Blair, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to push Herzog into Netanyahu’s arms.
But, like so many other ham-handed U.S.-led attempts to game Israel’s democratic system, it didn’t merely fail. It actually led to an even worse outcome from the point of view of State Department peace processors. Rather than a unity government with a pliable foreign minister, Netanyahu used Herzog for leverage in talks with another party. The result was that Herzog was humiliated. Instead of a narrow right-wing government with only a one-vote edge in the Knesset, Netanyahu was able to lure Avigdor Lieberman and his right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party into the coalition. That gave him a more stable seven-vote majority while also getting rid of a defense minister who was proving to be a problem.
That was game, set, and match for Netanyahu and another hard lesson for the arrogant Kerry and his boss Obama, who should have learned in the last seven-plus years that the prime minister is always able to run rings around them when it comes to this sort of thing.