Israeli Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog let the cat fully out of the bag Friday night, charging that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “loathes” President Obama, according to the Times of Israel.
It’s been pretty clear that the two are not best of pals. But the suggestion by a fellow Israeli leader that the enmity goes very deep adds credibility to suspicions that the relationship is worse than the White House portrays.
According to the Israeli newspaper:
Formally Israeli and American leaders have generally insisted that the two work together professionally. Obama took pains to speak of “my friend Bibi,” using the prime minister’s nickname, when he visited Israel last year, and Netanyahu reciprocated by calling him “my friend Barack.”
For a figure as prominent as Herzog to use Israel’s most-watched news program to declare that the prime minister loathes the US president was unprecedented.
Netanyahu is said to be outraged by the recent U.S. announcement that it would maintain relations with the interim Palestinian unity government – and keep providing it funds – even though it includes Hamas, recognized the United States as a terrorist organization.
According to The Guardian:
Netanyahu, had asked Washington not to rush into recognizing the technocratic government, which is backed by two key Palestinian factions, Fatah and the Islamist group Hamas. He said on Tuesday he was “deeply troubled” by the decision.
Other ministers allied with Netanyahu described the announcement by US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki that the US “will work with this government” in far harsher terms.
“Unfortunately, American naivety has broken all records. Any collaboration with Hamas – which kills women and children – is unacceptable,” said the communications minister, Gilad Erdan, who is considered close to Netanyahu.
Of course, the Israelis are most concerned that Obama is on his way to laying the groundwork for an Iranian nuclear weapon. I think that’s what Erdan is talking about when he describes American “naivety.”
Would Obama ever go to war alongside Netanyahu is it came to that? I can’t imagine it. And probably neither can the Iranians.