Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Emperor has no Clothes

There are a couple of truly remarkable pieces about Netanyahu in my Twitter feed this morning.

First, Geoffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic has an article about Netanyahu frustrations expressed by unnamed Obama officials: "The Crisis in Israeli-U.S. Relations is Officially Here."  It relates the choice words a series of unnamed Obama administration officials have had about Netanyahu--Goldberg keeps a running tally--including the following gem: 
"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,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname. [...]
“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.”
Next, Peter Beinart piles on with the hashtag #chickenshit, with a link to Leah Rabin letters recently obtained by Haaretz.  What did Leah Rabin think of Bibi? "Leah Rabin, the late widow of assassinated premier Yitzhak Rabin, used words such as 'nightmare,' 'monstrosity,' 'corrupt' and 'liar' to describe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in letters she wrote over a decade ago that have recently been obtained by Haaretz," says Amir Oren in Haaretz. 

Here is the late (she died in 2000) Leah Rabin in her own words: 
"I hope, pray, that the days of this government are numbered. Benjamin Netanyahu is a corrupt individual, a contentious liar who is ruining everything that is good about our society. He is breaking it to bits, and in the future, we will have to rebuild it all over." 
Would it had been so.  

Beinart follows up with several blunt assessments made by past American (+Sarkozy) officials: "a liar" (Sarkozy); "ungrateful" (Robert Gates); "who the fuck does Bibi think he is" (Bill Clinton). Beinart points out that long before Obama barred Ya'alon (Israel Defense Minister) from the Whie House, James Baker did the same to Netanyahu. Finally, Beinart #chickenshit "Remember when Bibi went to a Jerry Falwell rally while Falwell was accusing Clinton of murder." The link is to a January 1998 article in the New York Times, hinting at the Clinton-Netanyahu-Arafat negotiations that would lead to the Wye River accords that October.

We know where that went.

And the assessment of damage done that was predicted by Leah Rabin--he will break it to bits and we will have to start all over--seems prescient.

The emperor has no clothes.



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