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When Is a Victory a “Rebuke”?

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If an incumbent wins easy re-election but with reduced levels of support, is that a sign of public “rebuke”?

For American media, it depends on that incumbent’s political correctness. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cruised to re-election with his party winning nearly double the support of his closest rival. But most reports in the U.S. depicted his victory as a damaging setback because right wing parties control 4 fewer seats in Parliament.

The New York Times headline proclaimed “Israeli Voters Rebuke Netanyahu,” but when Barack Obama won with 4.5 million fewer popular votes, and 33 fewer electoral votes than four years ago, the prestige press hailed his sweeping victory and resounding mandate.

And for Obama, overall turnout fell sharply from 2008, while Israeli turnout reached its highest point in 14 years.

Bibi deserves credit for his own solid mandate.

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