Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chickenshit-gate: Obama-Israel Feud Heats Up

Rabbi Marvin Hier

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has called on President Barack Obama to “name, apologize for, and repudiate” the anonymous official who was quoted, in an Atlantic Magazine article by Jeffrey Goldberg, describing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “chickenshit.”

In a telephone call with The Algemeiner from his Los Angeles office, an incensed Rabbi Hier declared: “It is rather ironic that a senior American official is prepared to curse his friends, yet when it comes to the mortal enemies of the United States – as the Iranians discovered during the recent nuclear negotiation – praise is heaped on them.”

Another senior official, Goldberg wrote, “agreed that Netanyahu is a ‘chickenshit’ on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a ‘coward’ on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat.”

Commenting on the remarks of this second official, Hier asserted: “He said Netanyahu is a coward for not taking pre-emptive action against Iran, but I suppose this anonymous official who is hiding behind his desk is very brave.”

Asked whether he thought Obama should fire the officials who made these comments, Hier said “that’s up to the president.” However, he added, “a senior American official who doesn’t name himself and then hurls curse words at one of our strongest allies should be repudiated by the president. President Obama needs to make it clear that these officials don’t speak for him. Most of all, an apology is in order: That is not the way a senior American official should speak to the Prime Minister of Israel, that is not the way to conduct foreign policy.”

Hier noted that similar sentiments were not forthcoming from the administration about Qatar, a putative American ally that nevertheless backs Hamas and has allegedly been a conduit for funding the Islamic State terrorist organization. “There are no curse words on or off the record about the emir of Qatar for supporting Hamas and supporting Islamic State,” Hier noted. “The emir of Qatar is being rewarded for supporting Hamas and Islamic State. He is certainly not being treated in the way that Netanyahu is now.”
[The Algemeiner]

Cursing Israel’s prime minister - Jennifer Rubin

The [anonymous official's] statement is ignorant or an intentionally false accusation on so many different levels it is hard to know where to begin.

Netanyahu has confirmed Israel will pursue a two-state solution, voluntarily entered into a housing freeze and has been willing to negotiate without precondition. Moreover, it is not simply the far right but the large majority of Israelis who now see the Oslo process as a failure. From the Labor Party to Likud, the political spectrum in Israel on this issue is in sync. And finally, Israel is getting along fine with the Sunni states, better than the latter are with the Obama administration, since both understand the threat posed by Iran and its surrogates.

The immature and deplorable insult is nothing all that new. Whether it is former negotiator Martin Indyk accusing Israel of killing the peace process or the president off-mike complaining about having to deal with Netanyahu constantly, the administration’s animosity is never far from the surface. That such a senior official could feel so confident in his slur says volumes about the environment at the White House. Even more telling, a White House spokesman would only say that the comments were “inappropriate and counterproductive,” not false or unfair or outrageous.

This is yet one more reason to rebuke the president, his foreign policy and his staff. If the president were truly upset about the speech, he would find the staff member who made the remarks and fire that person. By the White House’s initial statement, however, it seems like business as usual around there.
[Washington Post]

Netanyahu is a 'chickensh*t'? - Rabbi Abraham Cooper

A top, unnamed Obama administration official calls an important leader, a “chickensh*t.”

Was this a hard-nosed warning aimed at the Ayatollah Khamenei to pressure Iran to destroy those 23,000 centrifuges before next month’s nuclear negotiating deadline?

Or just maybe, a well-deserved barb at our Turkish “ally” Erdoğan to stop acting like a regional bully and more like the eastern guardian of NATO?

Of course not. No one in this White House or State Department would ever deign to insult America’s enemies. Unfortunately, and all too often such special treatment has been dished out against our only reliable friend and ally in a region that is rapidly self-destructing—Israel.
[Fox News]



Obama is seeking a confrontation with Israel - Isi Leibler

In an interview with American journalist Jeffery Goldberg published in The Atlantic, a senior US official referred to Prime Minister Netanyahu as “chickenshit” and described him as “the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most.” More than Assad, Erdogan, the Iranian ayatollah, Putin and the “peace loving” Abbas?

This is just the latest in a series of vindictive acts by the Obama administration because Israel has dared to reject its diktats. Nothing illustrates President Obama’s contemptuous attitude toward Israel more than his directive to withhold arms to Israel during wartime because Israel had rejected Kerry’s initiative to engage Qatar as the mediator to end the Gaza hostilities.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas humiliated the US administration by merging with Hamas without prior consultation. But the US failed to criticize this move, has not responded to Abbas’ stated policy of ethnic cleansing, nor condemned him for executing any Palestinian found selling land to an Israeli.

The US did not reprimand him for failing to denounce the act of terror in which a baby and a young woman were killed last week in Jerusalem. Yet when an Arab teenager was shot to death while hurling potentially lethal firebombs at Israeli automobiles, the US immediately conveyed its condolences to the family and urged Israelis to initiate an investigation.

Israel, the principal regional ally of the US, is the only country consistently facing criticism and has become the punching bag for the inept Obama administration, even being denunciated for opposing a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Only recently, Kerry again conveyed to an Arab audience the absurd allegation that the Arab-Israel conflict fanned IS and Islamic extremism.

Netanyahu should be commended for his extraordinary diplomatic balancing act in withstanding the unreasonable pressure from Obama and Kerry, avoiding outright confrontations and in so doing, retaining the support of American public opinion and Congress.
[Jerusalem Post]

Chickenshit-gate; Insulting Netanyahu: Spontaneous combustion or intelligent design?
- Herb Keinon

[One] option for those who see that there was an invisible hand behind these insulting comments is that they were tied to Iran.

According to this school of thought, adhered to by some senior Israeli officials, these comments indicate that the US is on the verge of signing a nuclear deal with Iran, and is trying to preempt what is certain to be Netanyahu’s withering criticism by “discrediting the messenger” and saying in advance that he had his chance to act on Iran but blew it because he is a coward.

[Jerusalem Post]

The perils of allying with America - Michael Rubin

Here's the rub: back in 2010 and 2011, Netanyahu did not launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure and weapons laboratories in large part because the Obama administration had asked him repeatedly not to do so. So, first Obama makes a request of Netanyahu. Netanyahu acquiesces against his better judgment because Obama and his emissaries swear that the United States will never let Iran get nuclear weapons. Then, Obama seeks to strike a deal that effective reneges on that promise and has the audacity to have his senior aides ridicule Netanyahu for being a good ally and listening to Obama in the first place.
[American Enterprise Institute]

Jewish Democrats Disapointed in Obama Administration - Press Release

The National Jewish Democratic Council expresses surprise and disappointment at the profane and inappropriate language attributed to a senior administration official in describing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

The personal frustration that is reflected in the anonymous source’s ad hominem attack should be channeled to constructive engagement rather than rhetorical flourishes.
[National Jewish Democratic Council]


U.S. Policy, Viewed from the Middle East - Elliott Abrams

The damage done by administration officials who savaged Prime Minister Netanyahu is deep, including among Arab leaders. That's not because they like Netanyahu, but because it suggests that administration officials are undisciplined and untrustworthy.

After all, those remarks were made with the intention that they be published; they were not off the record. The speakers obviously thought that trashing allied leaders in the press is fine. The officials who made those remarks did serious damage to U.S. credibility, and not just in Israel.

(Council on Foreign Relations)

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