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In ‘Time,’ Erdogan, and Cantor on Netanyahu

‘Time 100’ suggests closer Turkish-Qatari, GOP-Bibi ties

Marc Tracy
April 18, 2012
Rep. Eric Cantor and Prime Minister Netanyahu last year.(Amos Ben Gershom GPO via Getty Images)
Rep. Eric Cantor and Prime Minister Netanyahu last year.(Amos Ben Gershom GPO via Getty Images)

The annual Time 100—the magazine’s list of the “most influential people” in the world, made interesting and fun by the novelty of having these famous and notable people’s blurbs written by other famous or notable people (e.g., Barack Obama on Warren Buffett)—has dropped. Two of particular interest: Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani; and Rep. Eric Cantor on Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Erdogan sees Qatar, which Tablet Magazine columnist Lee Smith noted has become a major regional power player of late, as having aligned interests: “I am also pleased by the momentum gained in Turkish-Qatari relations and by the fact that my close friend and I share the same vision when it comes to international affairs,” he writes. The most obvious place where this is the case is Syria, which shares a long border with Turkey and where Qatar has been at the forefront of marshaling Arab support against the Assad regime. But more interestingly, it suggests that Turkey might share Qatar’s strong enmity toward Iran, an issue on which at times Turkey has appeared to try to play both sides.

The substance of Cantor on Bibi is less news-y (“At this perilous moment, Prime Minister Netanyahu is the right leader for Israel—and the right partner for America”). But it’s notable that the chosen and in many ways appropriate author of the tribute to Netanyahu is not an official in the administration, but rather a high-ranking (and, of course, Jewish) congressman—in the legislative house that deals less with foreign policy—who is a prominent opponent of the current chief executive. It’s a sign of the way that, when it comes to Israel, foreign policy has also become local politics.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.