Rahm Emanuel says Netanyahu has repeatedly betrayed US friendship and embarrassed Obama yet again

David Remnick reports from the Saban Center gala this weekend for the New Yorker, and says that Israel’s leadership is a rightwing trainwreck.

Olmert also violated the rules of the conference by dragging something that was off the record onto the record. He accurately, if generally, described how, earlier in the day, Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago and Obama’s former chief of staff, had spoken angrily and bluntly about the way Netanyahu has repeatedly betrayed the friendship of the United States, lecturing Obama in the Oval Office and now, after the U.S. had underwritten the Iron Dome anti-missile system, supported the operation in Gaza, and voted Israel’s way in the U.N., embarrassing the Obama Administration by taking punitive actions against the Palestinian Authority. After describing Emanuel’s remarks, Olmert went on to agree with them.

Olmert was unflinching in his criticism of Netanyahu. “This government is not dedicated to the cause of peace in a realistic way,” he said. “The most important thing for a prime minister,” he said, any Israeli prime minister, is to create two states for two peoples.

What was striking was that Israeli politics is now utterly dominated by Netanyahu, Lieberman, and an increasingly rightist coalition. And, demographically, the Israeli electorate is only getting more conservative.

Remnick also has a critical word for NPR’s Robert Siegel, serving as Avigdor Lieberman’s moderator:
 

A keen and intelligent interviewer, Siegel seemed uncharacteristically reluctant to press Lieberman very hard or bring up Lieberman’s history of indelicacies where Arabs are concerned. Lieberman speaks English with a distinct accent, but he is fluent—and he was especially fluent in the talking points of the Netanyahu government. “Settlements are not an obstacle to peace. The opposite is true.” “Israel has never interfered in the internal domestic politics of any country.” False, darkly comical, but not especially inflammatory, not by his standards, anyway. Later in his performance, Lieberman managed to amuse himself when he said that the main problem for the Palestinians was not Israel or occupation but rather the fact that for the Palestinians the average income does not approach ten thousand dollars a year and that there is scant acquaintance in Ramallah or Rafah with the works of Voltaire and Rousseau. That forty-five years of grinding occupation may play a role in the depressed economy of Gaza City or in the modest enthusiasm for “Candide” and “Emile” in Jenin seemed not to enter Lieberman’s smug analysis.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 17 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. amigo says:

    I bet he wont have that smug grin on his kisser when he is dragged handcuffed into the ICC to answer for his crimes.

    His bar room bouncing days will not serve him there.

  2. eGuard says:

    So Olmert criticizes Netanyahu in a political campaign. You seem to think that changing the government away from Netanyahu/Lieberman will change Israeli policy. As if Olmert has no record.

    • ritzl says:

      Yep. If Olmert had publicly reconsidered the (his) lost/destroyed opportunity of the lull before Cast Lead and that slaughter, he might be moving toward a certain credibility motivated by lessons learned that might have suggested an ability to recognize opportunities in the future.

      It doesn’t seem he’s willing to do so. Politiking it is…

  3. RE: “Settlements are not an obstacle to peace. The opposite is true.” ~ Avigdor Lieberman

    MY COMMENT: Where, oh where, have I heard that before?

    FROM ELLIOTT ABRAMS, The Washington (Neocon) Post, 04/08/09:

    [EXCERPT] . . . Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the 6 percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have
    resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state. . .

    SOURCE – link to washingtonpost.com

    P.S. Elliott Abrams has totally convinced me [by the sheer power of his (il)logic and his very impressive math skills] to wholeheartedly support the Israeli settlement project in the West Bank.
    As I understand it, the ‘Abrams Principle’ stands for the proposition that more Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank will result in a larger area for the Palestinian state. That’s why I say: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” with the settlement actvity; so as to result in the largest Palestinian state possible (from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River). Fiat justitia! ( “Let Justice Be Done!” )

  4. Good for Emanuel and Olmert. ‘Bout time the tabu against criticizing Israel gets nullified to the extent right wing lunatics are leading the asylum.

  5. The tone was so reverential that it resembled the sort of film that the Central Committee of the Communist Party might have produced for Leonid Brezhnev’s retirement party if Leonid Brezhnev would only have retired and the Soviets had been in possession of advanced video technology.

    can’t stop laughing, classic!

  6. pabelmont says:

    Good to hear someone as noteworthy as Rahm Emanuel saying all this. THIS is a crack in the Israeli armor.

    Are the settlements an impediment to peace? ONLY IF PERMANENT. With UK and France now openly telling Israel not to build the latest-announced 3000 units, we’re approaching the day when at least one (and after one, then two, three, many) countries demand that Israel REMOVE all the settlers and all the settlements and the wall (noting their illegality) (see ICJ July 2004 opinion & UNSC 465).

    Of course, that’d be a very big step for the nations to take, and they’ve been in no hurry.

    How is Las Vegas betting?

  7. Emile Habiby’s (anti-?)hero “Sayeed the Pessoptimist” reminded me very much of Voltaire’s Candide. I don’t know whether the resemblance is a coincidence.

    • Shmuel says:

      Emile Habiby’s (anti-?)hero “Sayeed the Pessoptimist” reminded me very much of Voltaire’s Candide.

      You must be mistaken. The “natives” are incapable of reading, let alone understanding Enlightenment and Reason, which are the exclusive province of the tolerant, civilised and humane white races (ask Eli Yishai). Habibi must have been inspired by “oriental fantasy”.

      Lieberman’s “kinship” with Rousseau and Voltaire reminds me of a guy I used to run into on the street from time to time. He would ask me for spare change, explaining that he was a Bulgarian and therefore a European just like me — not like “those filthy Jews who are the scourge of mankind”.

  8. Nevada Ned says:

    What Rahm Emanuel said is not really surprising. What is surprising is who said it: Rahm Emanuel’s middle name is Israel, after all. And he did serve in the IDF as a civilian volunteer (or so he say, anyway). To my mind, this demonstrates that while the US government is not going to criticize Israel in public, some important people are privately boiling mad at Netanyahu.

    In today’s paper, Israel’s latest land grab in E-1 was criticized by the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. I suspect that the Obama administration may have given tacit approval to the Europeans. This is just guesswork on my part, but the Obama administration may have said to the Europeans, “we can’t say anything against Israel in public, but you go right ahead.” Or maybe the US is just losing control – as the recent UN vote shows – over nearly every country on Earth.
    (In fact, the only recent UN vote more lopsided is the recent vote condemning the US blockade of Cuba, in which only 2 other countries voted with the US.)

    Of course Rahm Emanuel isn’t going to say anything critical in public. It reminds me of the (fictional) scene in The Godfather, in which a US Senator says in private to the Corleone family, I don’t like you people, I don’t like your kind (etc.) while in public he proclaims his deep respect and admiration for the Corleone family.

    One thing seems certain: if even Rahm Emanuel is fed up, Israel is getting more isolated diplomatically. And that’s a good thing!

  9. Avi_G. says:

    “indelicacies”

    The hypocrisy NEVER ceases to amaze me. Honestly. I’m …….wow.. is all I can say.

    Calling Lieberman’s outright racist and often fascist statements “indelicacies” is emblematic of the extremely special treatment Israel receives at the hands of the Zionist media in the United States.

  10. piotr says:

    In actuality, Soviet Union was not particularly diligent in the reverence of retired leaders with the notable exception of Lenin. From the description, it was more like a eulogy in the Onion magazine.

  11. VR says:

    “…Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago and Obama’s former chief of staff, had spoken angrily and bluntly about the way Netanyahu has repeatedly betrayed the friendship of the United States, lecturing Obama in the Oval Office and now, after the U.S. had underwritten the Iron Dome anti-missile system, supported the operation in Gaza, and voted Israel’s way in the U.N., embarrassing the Obama Administration by taking punitive actions against the Palestinian Authority. After describing Emanuel’s remarks, Olmert went on to agree with them.”

    Yes, after his private (RE) tour in the Golan…

  12. valency says:

    We must remind ourselves Rahm Emannuel’s angle in this is purely that the current leadership is creating too much of a shanda fur die goyim, not that the zionist enterprise itself is morally bankrupt. He wishes Israel would dispossess the Palestinians in a more subtle fashion.