A former U.S. ambassador to Israel and campaign adviser to Barack Obama says an Israeli government led by Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu that also include Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman would be a "bad combination for American interests." Haaretz’s Natasha Mozgavaya reports:
"It would be much more difficult for the right-wing even with determined American leadership to advance the peace process," Kurtzer said. "Not impossible, but very difficult."
The U.S. official position is that it looks forward to "working with any government," but in back-channel messages the Obama administration has made it clear it would like to see a Likud-Kadima unity government in Jerusalem over a narrow right-wing government which would in all likelihood result in a freeze in peace talks with the Palestinians.
The former envoy added that the Obama administration would find it politically risky to embrace a government that included Lieberman, who has voiced controversial views about Arabs.
"There will be an image problem for an American administration to support a government that includes a politician who was defined as racist," Kurtzer said during an appearance at Georgetown University. "But the Israeli system doesn’t respond well to perceptions of outside parties," he said.
Kurtzer served as a surrogate for the Obama campaign in the Jewish community last year, and was rumored as a possible choice for special envoy to the Middle East or another foreign policy position in the Obama administration. But his name has seemed to fall off the radar screen in recent weeks.