Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Factor panel on Jpost: Checks and balances must be applied to the Israeli policies in GOP Congress

(SHMUEL ROSNER-The Factor on Jpost).Analysis on the morning after Election Day, the questions most relevant for analysis tell us three things:

1. Generally speaking, the panel believes that it is better for Israel that Republicans won the day. Some believe that the best combination for Israel would be if they could have won both houses, and some think it is better that only the House went Republican. Again, a word of caution is needed: This doesn’t necessarily mean that the panel thinks Republicans are better than Democrats on Israel (some do, others don’t). It means that they think that for Israel, it is better when there’s a US government that is split. Why? That’s quite obvious: Because it makes it more difficult for the administration to pursue policies without checks and balances.

At present, which combination will be better for Israel – rank the options (1 through 4):

2. Clearly, though, the panel believes that the more Republican is Congress, the more convenient it is for the Netanyahu government. Not all panelists are happy about this – some would want the checks and the balances to also be applied to the Israeli policies. Those panelists ranked differently the two questions on Congress.

3. As you can see in the numbers page, our panel is pretty balanced in the sense that there’s no clear preference for one of the parties among its members. Some panelists tend to prefer Democrats, other think Republicans are better for Israel – and the final outcome gives no party clear advantage over the other (the marks are the average of what all panelists say). In this sense, one wonders whether this panel is really representative of Israel’s general public opinion.

However, on one thing our Israeli experts seem clear: they are very suspicious of the Tea Party movement. I must say here, though, that not all panelists filled the rubric on the Tea Party – some felt it was too early for them to asses what the movement means for Israel. However, most of the panelists did answer the question, and were clearly feeling uncomfortable with the movement. The two I asked for explanation gave me similar answer: Fear of isolationist tendencies.From 1 (bad for Israel) to 10 (good for Israel): Generally speaking, please rate the following people and institutions:

One last point, related to the third conclusion. From the very wide field of prospective Republican candidates for 2012, our panel rated Ron Paul (the isolationist) the least favorable – and that isn’t surprising. But it had also rated the darling of the Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin, fairly low. Is it because the panelists think she also suffers from isolationist tendencies? I think not. It is because they believe Palin isn’t up to the job, and doesn’t have the ability to deal with the complicated world and the complicated region in which our panelists reside.