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Expert: Obama Victory Would Mean Tough Times for Israel

A second term for Obama could be bad news for Israel, according to U.S.-Israel relations expert Prof. Eytan Gilboa.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/5/2012, 4:13 AM

Obama and Netanyahu
Obama and Netanyahu
Flash 90

A second term for President Barack Obama could be bad news for Israel, according to Prof. Eytan Gilboa, Director of the Center for International Communication at Bar Ilan University and an expert on U.S.-Israel relations.

“I am concerned that if Obama and Netanyahu are both re-elected, Israeli -U.S. relations are expected to go through a difficult period, for at least the first year of Obama’s second term,” Gilboa told Arutz Sheva on Sunday.

He noted the bad blood been between Obama and Netanyahu during Obama’s first term and added that he believes that, given the fact that a second-term president has nothing to lose since he cannot run again, Obama will remember all the setbacks between him and Netanyahu. Gilboa added that Obama will particularly remember the feeling that exists today in the United States, according to which Netanyahu publicly endorsed Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Gilboa noted that it does not matter whether Netanyahu indeed supported Romney or not, since the main point is how things are interpreted in the U.S. The fact that Romney used Netanyahu as part of his campaign and the fact that they both have the same donors and supporters, such as Sheldon Adelson, strengthen the feeling that Netanyahu was on Romney’s side and not Obama's, he said.

"I spoke with some members of Obama’s staff they feel that Netanyahu, in all kinds of moves he made, showed more enthusiasm for Romney than for Obama,” he said. “They made the connections that Netanyahu was on Romney’s side, no matter the reality.”

Professor Gilboa played down interpretations by some that Obama is definitely headed towards victory, saying he analyzes the data from recent polls differently and believes that every outcome except is possible except for a decisive Obama victory.

At the same time, he noted that Obama’s essential tie with Romney is a real achievement for the president, who is entering election day with a low level of public confidence, with zero growth in the U.S. economy and unemployment at close to eight percent.

“In such a reality, the fact that he is shoulder to shoulder with Romney is considered an achievement,” said Gilboa, adding, “In any normal election Romney should win with ease. The fact that this is not happening shows Romney’s weakness.”

He noted that Romney is currently looking pale and dull compared to Obama, adding that “Obama was able to show that it is uncertain that Romney will know how to rejuvenate the economy, and the economy is the main story."

As for the effects of Hurricane Sandy, Professor Gilboa said he believes it "gave a boost to Obama" because the President was shown, in contrast to Romney's campaign, as someone who knows how to demonstrate leadership and who knows how to work with his political opponents.