Likud Lawmaker Mocks Obama: Your Criticism Will Boost Netanyahu's Popularity

Danny Danon, a senior member of the ruling Likud Party, says that administration's interference in Israeli politics will improve the prime minister's chances of reelection.

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MK Danny Danon.
MK Danny Danon.

A senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party has taken the Obama administration to task for its criticism of Israel's housing policies as they affect the Palestinians, a media report says.

Specifically, reported, MK Danny Danon told a New York radio program that the administration's criticism – effectively, Danon said, an effort to influence the Israeli elections set for March – could backfire and strengthen Israel's current government.

The MK said that "a few people in the administration sometimes want to get involved" and "[whenever] somebody tries to get involved in our politics, they actually are achieving" the opposite of what they are trying to do.

For example, Danon told New York's 970 AM-radio, "when President [Bill] Clinton was trying to get involved in the elections in Israel, he was supporting the Likud party. The same for today... The more pressure we see that comes from the U.S., it makes my party, the Likud Party, stronger.”

What makes this discussion particularly interesting is that prior to the primary elections, Danon viewed himself as Netanyahu's main rival for head of the Likud.

When Danon said that he would challenge Netanyahu to head the party, he addressed Netanyahu directly, saying, "you abandoned the Likud’s path long ago. I’m here to return the movement to its historic path.

“The prime minister has been making right-wing noises in recent days. Friends, it’s a fake. It’s a quest for votes, not for a direction.”

In the recent Likud primary, the premier won the top spot on the Likud list of candidates for the Knesset. Danon won the ninth spot.

Danon ran a particularly high-profile effort to win the party leadership, turning out a politically pointed, campaign video.

The animated video put up Danon as a U.S. old-line western sheriff, roughing up and arresting outlaw caricatures of the Israeli Arab MK Haneen Zoabi, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and the ex-Israeli Arab MK Azmi Bishara, who is on the run from an Israeli legal case.

The video's background music is the American folk classic "Oh, Susanna," given new lyrics as "Oh, Zoabi." The chorus makes clear that Danon is "the real right wing."

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