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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mic? What mic?

Yesterday:
 Unaware that his remarks were also being transmitted to reporters outside, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the European Union in unusually harsh terms on Wednesday for its treatment of Israel, urging the leaders of four Central European countries to use their influence in the organization to ease its conditions for advancing bilateral ties.
“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he said in a closed-door meeting whose content was accidentally broadcast to journalists outside the room. “I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth — both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy towards Israel.”
During the meeting, Netanyahu also urged the leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland to close their borders to refugees from Africa and the Arab world, and praised the administration of US President Donald Trump for its “stronger” position on Iran and Syria.
The funny part is, there was no fallout. There was no difference between what Bibi said behind closed doors and what he says in public, if he was a little less diplomatic.

Some interesting analysis from Tal Shalev and Lahav Harkov:
[D]espite the obvious embarrassment, the incident is not necessarily bad for Bibi, as it proves he actually delivers the same messages both inside closed doors and outside as well.  His staunch defense of Israel will definitely earn him some points with his base, and prompted some speculation and theories that perhaps the hot mic wasn't unintended. 
I was wondering the same thing. His comments made him look good. Barely past what Israel has admitted in the past (like how many Hezbollah targets have been bombed in Syria) but altogether nothing embarrassing and in many ways it enhances his reputation.

I'm sure the EU has heard the exact same complaints by him in the past as well, and as of this writing there has been no reaction.

Interestingly, Arab media have emphasized one very small part of what he said about how Israel has good relations with Arab countries and that they speak to Israel about technology and other common interests. There are no protests at this information.

The dreaded "normalization" is practically here and no one really cares.




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