BINYAMIN NETANYAHU and his patron, Sheldon Adelson, bet on Mitt Romney, with the State of Israel as their chip.
For Adelson, the betting tycoon, that doesn't amount to much. Some you win, some you lose.
For Netanyahu, it's a different matter altogether. He grew up in the US (where he got to know Romney in 1976) and prides himself as a great expert on America. It was one of his strongest cards, since relations with the US are vital for Israel. Now he stands exposed as a know-nothing, together with his ambassador in Washington DC, who was recommended by Adelson.
Does this hurt Netanyahu's chances in the upcoming Israeli elections? Perhaps. But only if a credible counter-candidate is found, who could repair relations with Barack Obama.
Ehud Olmert is presenting himself as such, and may now join the fray. Some dream of Shimon Peres giving up the presidency to run as a candidate. Peres, who is two weeks older than I, has never won an election in his 50 years in politics. But there's always a first time, isn't there?
ISRAELIS ARE, of course, interested mainly in the Jewish vote. It is indeed revealing.
Netanyahu made no secret of supporting Romney to the hilt. US Jews were told that voting for the Republican candidate was voting for Israel. So did they? They did not.
I don't yet have the detailed statistics, but from results in Florida and other states it seems that the great majority of Jews supported the Democratic candidate, as they have always done.
What does that mean? It means that one of the most basic contentions of Netanyahu and Co. has been shown to be fallacious.
Netanyahu declares almost hourly that Israel is the "nation-state of the Jewish people." This means that Israel belongs to all the Jews in the world, and that all the Jews in the world belong to Israel. So he speaks not only for the six million Jewish citizens of Israel, but for all the 13 million or so Jews around the globe. (Assuming that no Jews are discovered on Mars.)
Again, this has been proven a fiction. American Jews (or, rather, Jewish Americans) voted as members of the American nation, not of the non-existent Jewish nation. Many of them are certainly sympathetic to Israel, but when it comes to voting, they vote as Americans. Israel plays a very minor role in their concerns. They may give a standing ovation to Netanyahu when he visits, as American Catholics would to the Pope, but they ignore his instruction to vote for a candidate.
This has great implications for the future. In any clash between vital American and Israeli interests, Jewish Americans are first of all Americans. In such a future situation, a similar miscalculation by Netanyahu or his successors may prove fatal.
FOR EXAMPLE, about the Iran war. Israeli hawks can kiss it goodbye.
I doubt that even Romney, had he been elected, would have allowed Netanyahu to attack. Campaign speeches would not have trumped the vital interests of the USA. He, too, would have taken one look at the map of the Strait of Hormuz and shuddered.