The Americans have become rather adept at dishing it out when it comes to dissing Israel and Israeli politicians. But it seems that they cannot take it when the roles are reversed.
Not so very long ago, former President of France Nicholas Sarkozy called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “a liar”. President Barack Obama very undiplomatically replied ““You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day.”.
That wasn’t the only time that Obama disrespected Netanyahu. In 2010 Obama refused to pose for official photos with Netanyahu during a visit to the White House, and then walked out on him while he went to a private dinner, leaving Netanyahu to “consult with advisers and “let me know if there is anything new”, a U.S. congressman, who spoke to the Prime Minister, said.”
This week we learned that former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates tried to have Netanyahu – the Prime Minister of America’s closest Middle East ally – banned from the White House!
In recent days we have also heard that Secretary of State John Kerry is behind the EU drive to boycott Israeli settlements. This is the same John Kerry who is supposed to be a neutral broker in the “peace” negotiations with the Palestinians:
Israeli diplomatic sources say US Secretary of State John Kerry is behind the recent wave of European threats to boycott settlement products, and intends to use these threats against Israel should the current series of peace talks fail, it was reported on Tuesday.
Kerry, according to sources cited in an Army Radio report, has encouraged various European countries behind the scenes in their efforts to initiate bans on the import of products originating in the West Bank settlements, but has taken pains to ensure that such actions remain “a threat” only.
If the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations fail, the sources said, Kerry will “release the restraints” and the initiatives will be allowed to “go into effect.”
Finally, yesterday, someone in Israel decided to push back against this revolting American delegitimization and undermining of Israel’s sovereignty. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon became the diplomatic equivalent of the little boy who called out that the King has no clothes:
While the United States is pushing hard for a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has expressed his great skepticism of these efforts, both in private conversations in Israel and in the US. In particular, Ya’alon has harsh words to say about Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) is alive and well thanks to us,” Ya’alon said. “The moment we leave Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) he is finished. In reality, there have been no negotiations between us and the Palestinians for all these months – but rather between us and the Americans. The only thing that can ‘save us’ is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace.”
Ya’alon, who was IDF chief of staff from 2002-2005, at the height of the second intifada, also has little regard for the US-devised security provisions for a post-peace region.
“The American security plan presented to us is not worth the paper it’s written on,” Ya’alon said. “It contains no peace and no security. Only our continued presence in Judea and Samaria and the River Jordan will endure that Ben-Gurion Airport and Netanya don’t become targets for rockets from every direction. American Secretary of State John Kerry, who turned up here determined and acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor, cannot teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians.”
Did the Americans sit quietly by and absorb this undiplomatic but perfectly accurate comment from Yaalon? By golly they did not! They went into immediate melt-down mode, demanding an apology from Israel:
In a rare public rebuke of an Israeli official, White House and State Department spokespeople took Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to task on Tuesday evening for calling US Secretary of State John Kerry “messianic” and “obsessive” over the latter’s pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
The American administration has also demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explicitly disavow Ya’alon’s comments and affirm his commitment to the peace talks, according to several Israeli media outlets.
“To question Secretary Kerry’s motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday, echoing comments earlier in the day from State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki.
“The remarks of the Defense Minister [Ya’alon], if accurate, are offensive and inappropriate especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel’s security needs, and will continue to do,” Psaki said in a brief statement in Rome, according to Reuters.
“Secretary Kerry and his team, including General [John] Allen, have been working day and night to try to promote a secure peace for Israel because of the Secretary’s deep concern for Israel’s future,” she added. “To question his motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally.”
The American rebukes came several hours after a gentler reprimand of Ya’alon from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a speech before the Knesset marking the Israeli parliament’s 65th birthday.
Unfortunately, Yaalon folded in the face of these rebukes and issued an apology:
In a statement published in English and Hebrew, the defense minister’s bureau said Israel greatly appreciates Kerry’s efforts and that Ya’alon “did not intend to insult the secretary and he apologizes if the secretary was hurt by the remarks attributed to the defense minister.”
This was not enough for the wussy Americans who demanded an even bigger apology:
Senior Obama administration officials were not satisfied with Netanyahu’s comments, and reportedly asked the prime minister to explicitly affirm his government’s commitment to the US-led peace talks with the Palestinian, and distance himself from Ya’alon’s comments.
This demand for an official disavowal from Netanyahu sounds positively Soviet, reminiscent of the threats of “re-education camps” in the Gulag.
If the Americans can’t take a mild insult which was barely ad-hominem, but rather mostly directed at their Middle East foreign policy, then they have no business being involved in these bitter negotiations. Breitbart remarks that Obama is remarkably thin-skinned, and this is evident in the American over-reaction to Yaalon’s words.
I wonder if the Americans have ever asked for an apology from the Palestinians when they insulted America. Or if they ever offered an apology to Binyamin Netanyahu for Obama’s disgraceful behaviour.
Food for thought, however, for Israel’s foreign policy boffins, is that we should be emulating the Americans’ behaviour. Israel should not stand for any more insults, disrespecting or offence against it. We must learn to stand up for our rights and for our national pride. No one thinks the better of us for waiving our national dignity, and no one else will stand up for us if we don’t do so ourselves.