Mitt Romney is on record as saying he would put his good friend Bibi Netanyahu in charge of America’s Mideast policies, so it’s hardly a shock that Netanyahu is being used as a major swing state Romney campaign surrogate. This ad, put out by the hawkish C-4 group Secure America Now (Devon Cross, the sister of Frank Gaffney and a veteran neoconservative operative, is a key principal) begins to run today in southern Florida. It is meant to gin up votes against President Obama as an appeaser on Iran. It uses footage from a Netanyahu press conference earlier this month, where Bibi made a full monty appeal for a more belligerent American policy.
Readers may correct me, but I can’t think of a previous instance where a foreign leader has intervened, or has been deployed (and both are happening) so blatantly in an American election. The verdict is out on its likely effectiveness: as Peter Beinart has eloquently described, southern Florida is home to many geriatric Jews who contribute heavily to right-wing Zionist causes, but their sensibility is distinctly unrepresentative of American Jews in general. And national polls hardly show a groundswell for the war Netanyahu wants America to fight. To the contrary, 70 percent of American oppose an attack on Iran, and 59 percent oppose fighting on behalf of Israel if Israel starts a war. It would surprise me if Romney or his C-4 action committees ran warmongering Netanyahu ads in Ohio or Virginia.