By Jonathan Greenberg, Originally published in The Hill
The talking point on Tuesday night and again Wednesday from the American media and political left is that Israelis reelected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because they’re a bunch of nasty racists. The evidence for this is this 30-second Facebook video, released on election day, in which the Prime Minister implores his voters to get to the polls to counter Arab voters “coming out in droves” who are being taken to the polls in buses funded by left-wing organizations and foreign governments.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour noted the dismay of “Arab-Israeli parliamentarians” who, she said, were “incredibly upset” by the video. Amanpour claimed she spoke to one member of the Joint List – a coalition of three parties who will, almost assuredly, splinter in the near future – who said that the Prime Minister was “scaremongering.”
At the New York Times, Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner claimed that Netanyahu had “railed against Israeli Arabs – because they had gone out to vote.”
Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall noted that “the big news of the day is a final day series of racist invocations from Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Likud campaign begging right-wing voters to turn out.” The headline, subtly, claiming “Netanyahu closes hard right and racist.”
Meanwhile, in an email sent to supporters, left-wing lobby J-Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami found Netanyahu’s remarks to be merely “tinged with racism.” Ben-Ami went on to write of Netanyahu’s victory that, “we fear that the cost to Israel in the long-run will be steep in terms of support here in the United States and internationally.”