Lest people were wondering where oh where is the conglomeration of major American Jewish organizations and is it going to weigh in on ChickenExcrementGate, you need wonder no longer.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a three paragraph statement which, for the most part, can be summarized as: it’s not nice to call each other names. You know you must behave in public like good boys who are fond of each other, so get with the program.
What it actually said, amongst the “deeply concerned” and “inappropriate characterizations emanating from official sources” not to mention the “real extraordinary cooperation” on “so many levels,” was there’s seriously bad stuff happening in the world right now fellas, so cut it out and focus please.
The statement was released under the names of the current chairman, Robert G. Sugarman, and the executive vice chairman, Malcolm Hoenlein.
There were two substantive points made in the release. One was praise expressed for the statement, made by an administration official, that the “recent comments” made in The Atlantic interview were “inappropriate and counterproductive.” The second was asking that “the person responsible be held to account and the appropriate steps by taken by the Administration.”
A little elaboration is in order.
First, the administration official who referred to the name-calling as “inappropriate and counterproductive” limited that criticism to referring to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as “chicken****.” The other insults were left unmentioned, so, presumably, they were not considered by the administration to be either “inappropriate” or “counterproductive.”
Secondly, there was not merely one Obama administration official who was quoted in the interview calling Netanyahu names, there were several, as Goldberg made clear. Not only that, there was a relatively long list of nasty adjectives, including, incredibly, referring to the Israeli prime minister as someone who suffers from a particular form of mental disability. Does the administration find it acceptable for a senior official to use such a term as a way of insulting someone?
Are we back in the world of former secretary of the interior James Watt? He infamously referred to the diversity in his department as great because “I have a black, I have a woman, two Jews and a cripple.” That remark led then-president Ronald Reagan to dump Watt.
So far it looks as though this dust-up is beginning to fade away, especially, as COPMAJO rightly points out, there is so much seriously bad stuff happening that demands serious attention.
It must be harder than herding cats to have the heads of dozens of Jewish organizations agree on anything, especially a written statement chiding – even if ever so slightly – a sitting U.S. president. It’s good to see the outrageous insults directed at the head of the Jewish State did not pass unremarked upon by COPMAJO.
The entire statement follows:
“We are deeply concerned by a number of recent public and private criticisms, personal insults and inappropriate characterizations emanating from official sources. These often anonymous, but no less harmful, declarations undermine the common interests of the United States and Israel on the critical issues which face both countries and the real extraordinary cooperation on the security, intelligence, political and other levels. It is the common efforts of these two great democratic allies to address the threat of Iran becoming a threshold nuclear state, the rise of ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups, the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Libya, and the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge, among other issues of vital significance to both countries, that is of primary importance. It is only natural that there may be disagreements on issues, but we believe those should be discussed privately between the leaders of both countries and there should be no place for personal attacks which undermine mutual confidence and support so essential to advancing the interests of both the United States and Israel.
“We welcomed the statement of the Administration describing the recent comments made by an unnamed US official in an interview in The Atlantic as ‘inappropriate’ and ‘counterproductive’ and noted the frequent visits and exchanges between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. We ask that the person responsible be held to account and the appropriate steps be taken by the Administration.
“We call on officials, media and others in the public arena to consider the consequences of the words and deeds. Apologies do not undo the damage and every manifestation of division between these two allies is exploited by the enemies of both,” said Sugarman and Hoenlein.