Relations between America and Israel are getting increasingly tense as discussions over Iran’s nuclear program and peace talks regarding Palestine continue.
“The relationship between these two administrations … is the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections,” wrote Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic. “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.”
Goldberg discussed a conversation he had with a senior Obama administration official about Benjamin Netanyahu.
“‘The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chicken shit,’ this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister … by his nickname.”
“Over the years,” said Goldberg, “Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery.’ (These are verbatim descriptions; I (Goldberg) keep a running list.)”
This official said Netanyahu was afraid to launch a war, which was good, but “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.”
Within the Obama administration, Netanyahu is seen as making empty threats when he talks about strikes against Iran. “Another manifestation of his chicken-shittedness, in the view of [administration officials], is his near-pathological desire for career-preservation,” wrote Goldberg.
And similar to other close allies, America and Israel have disagreed in the past over issues, but Goldberg doesn’t “remember such a period of sustained and mutual contempt.” He said that the anger comes from “the Netanyahu government’s period explosions of anti-American condescension,” and “the unease felt by mainstream American Jewish leaders about recent Israeli government behavior.”
Goldberg says he would not be surprised, after November elections and Iranian nuclear program talks, “to see the Obama administration take a step Netanyahu is loath to see it take: a public, full lay-down of the administration’s vision for a two-state solution, including maps delineating Israel’s borders.”
“Netanyahu, and the even more hawkish ministers around him,” wrote Goldber, “seem to have decided that their short-term political futures rest on a platform that can be boiled down to this formula: ‘The whole world is against us. Only we can protect Israel from what’s coming.
And while that approach might have its appeal to Israelites terrified of the Arab world “sweep[ing] over them,” as far as remaining “an ally of the United States, “this formula is a disaster.”