Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said verbal attacks from the Obama administration — namely, being called “chickenshit” and a “coward” by an anonymous senior administration official in an article in The Atlantic — won’t dissuade him.
“Netanyahu will continue to uphold the security interests of Israel and the historical rights of the Jewish people in Jerusalem, and no amount of pressure will change that,” the prime minister’s office said, according to Haaretz.
Soon after, Netanyahu addressed the Knesset.
“When there are pressures on Israel to concede its security, the easiest thing to do is to concede. You get a round of applause, ceremonies on grassy knolls, and then come the missiles and the tunnels,” he said.
“I am not prepared to make concessions that will endanger our state,” Netanyahu continued. “Understand, our national interests, topped by security and the unity of Jerusalem, are not what top the interests of those anonymous forces attacking us, and me personally. I am under attack simply because I am defending the State of Israel. If I didn’t stand firm on our national interests, I would not be under attack.”
The prime minister added, “I respect and cherish the deep connection with the United States.”
“Since the establishment of the state, we’ve had our arguments and then some,” he said. “We have seen time after time, year and year, support rising among the American public. The strategic alliance between the stances is continuing and will continue.”
The founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center says President Obama needs to “name, apologize for, and repudiate” the anonymous official who said the insults.
“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,” Rabbi Marvin Hier told The Algemeiner.
“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.”
Whether or not the official is fired is “up to the president,” the rabbi said.
“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 continued.
“There are no curse words on or off the record about the emir of Qatar for supporting Hamas and supporting Islamic State,” he 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.”