“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic writes that a “senior Obama administration official” told him about Israeli Prime Minister and former IDF member Benjamin Netanyahu. As Goldberg writes, just in time for the midterms — and possibly the rest of Obama’s lame duck administration — “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here:”
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.” I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former Administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)
Gee, if you’re a world leader being insulted by an administration staffed by the radical chic likes of John Kerry and Obama himself, where Joe Biden almost seems like the grown-up of the bunch, you’ve got to be doing something right. More from Goldberg:
This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. 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.
* * * * * * *
“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 Rabin, he’s not Sharon, he’s certainly no (Menachem) Begin. He’s got no guts.”
After graduating from high school in 1967, Netanyahu returned to Israel to enlist in the IDF. He trained as a combat soldier and became a team leader in an elite special forces unit of the IDF, Sayeret Matkal. He took part in numerous cross-border assault raids during the 1969–70 War of Attrition. He was involved in many other missions, including Operation Inferno (1968), and the rescue of the hijacked Sabena Flight 571 in May 1972 in which he was shot in the shoulder.
After his army service, Netanyahu returned to the United States in late 1972 to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He returned to Israel in October 1973 to serve in the Yom Kippur War for a 40-day period. While there, he fought in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, as well as leading a commando team deep into Syrian territory.
Or to put the above into visual terms alongside America’s commander-in-chief:
Israeli “media” is reporting that Obama/Kerry can’t stand Netanyahu. Another great reason to like Bibi!!! pic.twitter.com/hWGmtcQY6Z
— Zvi Lando (@zlando) October 26, 2014
Incidentally, this could add quite an interesting dynamic to the presidential race to come. Or as John Podhoretz asks, “So who’s going to ask Hillary whether she agrees Bibi is chickenshit?”
Update: “So, if this administration WERE Jew-hating, what exactly would they be doing differently?
Flashback: Here’s Jeffrey Goldberg helping Obama over the finish line in October of 2008 via accusations of conspiracy theories and (what else?) racism in 2008:
— John Tabin (@johntabin) October 28, 2014