Israel's parliamentary election is on Sunday, but already the principal result is known: a step away from political liberalization and genuine democracy. In the weeks before the vote, more than 1,000 political activists have been rounded up by security forces, and many have been abused. Opposition media commentators have been forced off the air, television channels closed and restrictions placed on text messaging. Meanwhile, the government has issued strident statements rejecting the Obama administration's calls for international observers and severely limited the access of domestic monitoring groups...
...That's why what will matter most is not the results of the vote but how President Obama responds to them. The president and his secretary of state have brought up democracy and human rights in private conversations with Israeli leaders but shied away from them in public. They have failed to make any connection between Mr. Netanyahu's domestic repression and the more than $1 billion in U.S. aid Israel receives every year, much of it directed to the military. They have not supported efforts in Congress to pass legislation or even nonbinding resolutions linking bilateral relations to political reform.
But, it isn't Israel which is the country involved.