If you want a closer look inside the toxic relationship between Obama and Netanyahu than that provided by Jeffrey Goldberg, you’ll need a colonoscope.
The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit.”
A great word, one I use whenever I can, but not enlightening here. To my understanding (and Urban Dictionary’s), it has two distinct meanings: nonsense, but nonsense more trivial than its bovine cousin; and just plain chicken, as in cowardly.
The Obamagruppenfuhrers mean both:
The relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections. By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.
Netanyahu has told several people I’ve spoken to in recent days that he has “written off” the Obama administration, and plans to speak directly to Congress and to the American people should an Iran nuclear deal be reached. For their part, Obama administration officials express, in the words of one official, a “red-hot anger” at Netanyahu for pursuing settlement policies on the West Bank, and building policies in Jerusalem, that they believe have fatally undermined Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace process.
Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.) But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.”
“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”
Okay, they’ve made their case; now I’ll make mine.
Sharon would have regretted giving Gaza to Hamass terrorists if he had not had an all-but-fatal stroke shortly after he did so. He certainly would not have allowed their massive militarization to take place unchecked, leading to two wars with Hamass, and their countless rockets and missiles, in less than a decade. His fellow hawk, Yitzak Rabin, would also likely have considered his Oslo accords an abject failure. Begin had Sadat, an Egyptian president, not a Palestinian terrorist. And Sadat got a hell of a deal from Begin, one no other Israeli PM could ever hope to match: Sinai (all 23,500 square miles). Just for promising not to launch another war he would certainly lose (again).
Oh yes, and two of these four characters, Sadat and Rabin, were assassinated for their efforts. Try to keep your wishful thinking out of it, Barack.
I am a serial admirer of Prime Minister Netanyahu—I would swap our nations’ leaders faster than you could say “hand me a five iron”. But I am also open about his faults. Most of those have to do with asking how high when Obama says jump.
Which the Obamagruppenfuhrers acknowledge even as they poke needles into his effigy:
I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official 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. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
So, when he doesn’t do what you want, he’s a chicken[bleep]; and when he does do what you want (as above), he’s also a chicken[bleep].
Doesn’t that qualify as unadulterated bull[bleep]? It has to.
But then, this is their point of view, not mine. Certainly not Netanyahu’s.
Theirs and the author’s:
It is the Netanyahu government that appears to be disconnected from reality. Jerusalem is on the verge of exploding into a third Palestinian uprising. It is true that Jews have a moral right to live anywhere they want in Jerusalem, their holiest city. It is also true that a mature government understands that not all rights have to be exercised simultaneously.
Kind of Goldberg, presumably Jewish, to grant Jews the liberty to live (or not) in Jerusalem. Thousands of years late, but better late than never.
There’s so much more I could say, but the point is clear. This means war.