A senior administration official calling Israel’s prime minister a word for fowl excrement was “inappropriate and counter-productive,” the White House said early Wednesday, Justin Sink at The Hill explained on Wednesday, Oct. 29.
“Certainly, that’s not the administration’s view, and we think such comments are inappropriate and counter-productive,” National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said.
“Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and the president have forged an effective partnership, and consult closely and frequently, including earlier this month when the president hosted the prime minister in the Oval Office.”
Baskey was referring to the…well…excrement storm touched off by a lengthy article in The Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg.
Throughout that article Goldberg quotes various unnamed senior administration officials using schoolyard taunts aimed at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The name-calling article also served to deliver Goldberg’s own view – that a Palestinian State must be carved out of the hide of the tiny Jewish one - and that Netanyahu is a “coward” for refusing to take orders from this administration and perform vivisection on his own nation.
Of course, the juvenile name-calling is of a piece with Goldberg’s own analysis which fails to conclude that the creation of a Palestinian State now or at any time in the near future would simply and quickly create yet another official haven for terrorism. This was already proved conclusively when Israel removed every Jew, living and dead, from the Gaza Strip, birthing Gazastan. And this new hoped-for haven would have a clear shot at Ben Gurion Airport, among many other strategic points in Israel.
The response by many Israelis to the crude verbal attack was anger, but there were also a sizable minority who simply laughed at the idea that anyone working in this U.S. administration, for this president, could call someone a coward who served in an elite combat unit in the Israel Defense Force.
There was one sliver of a silver lining, however, in Goldberg’s article.
Evidence that Netanyahu is a coward, one administration official offered according to Goldberg, is that Netanyahu had not made war against Iran, and “now it is too late.”
“The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. ‘It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late,’” Goldberg wrote.
And both the quoted official and Goldberg himself acknowledged that it was the Obama administration’s threats that prevented Netanyahu from launching the strikes against Iran.
Listen to what I say or I’ll ridicule you for listening to what I say or I’ll carry out my threats against you if you don’t listen to what I say. It’s a no-win game. So maybe it makes more sense just not to listen?
For those who wonder whether Goldberg was just quoting a few malcontents, several former high level insiders emphatically suggest otherwise.
Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush, tweeted that “As ex WH staffer, I can safely say staff wouldn’t publicly call someone “chickensh*t” if POTUS hadn’t privately said something similar 1st.”
And as a former state department lawyer told The Jewish Press, “The way politics is practiced in America, it’s standard operating procedure to release such quotes and then pretend to talk away from them; it’s like a pitcher throwing an inside ball to brush a batter back from the plate. Their statements today do not in any way mean that they didn’t officially release this tripe yesterday, or mean to do it.”