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‘New Republic’ says Obama ‘detests’ Netanyahu and treats him shabbily

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Yossi Klein Halevi has a piece up at The New Republic on Obama’s detestation of Netanyahu and how it skews his policy against Israel. Writes a friend:

Many falsehoods. That the settlement freeze fell through because of Palestinian recalcitrance; that Iranian dissidents in 2009 chanted en masse “Obama, are you with us or against us?” No dissident quoted in the U.S. ever said such a thing, but leaders of the dissidents did say that Obama’s stance was correct; that nothing but harm could come of American posturing and denunciation, given our history with Iran.

Most symptomatic is this paragraph:

Still, in recalling his record, Obama omitted some crucial details. Israelis still recall with disbelief how Obama refused to honor Bush’s written commitment to Ariel Sharon—that the U.S. would support settlement blocs being incorporated into Israel proper. And never has an American president treated an Israeli prime minister with such shabbiness as Obama has treated Netanyahu. Indeed one gets the impression that of all the world’s leaders, Obama most detests the prime minister of Israel.

It is completely ad hominem: a reading-in that implies Obama’s resentment toward a “strong” Jewish leader–borne out by none of the facts. Also note the first-person turn, away from logic and policy (therapeutically seeking reassurance), in the final two paragraphs.

For me to trust Obama on Israel’s ultimate security threat, I need him to speak directly to Iran, not to American Jews and the Israeli public. I need to know that he is as committed to a military solution as he is to a diplomatic solution, if the first option fails. I need to know what his red line is for determining when diplomacy has exhausted itself. …

Mr. President, I’m not reassured. On this one I need to watch my own back.           

What possible policy could answer such a fraternal plea? Answer: repeat after Netanyahu, “We are you, and you are us.”

We’re in for much more of this.

Update: An Iranian friend says that some Iranians did chant what Halevi says they chanted. “The Iranian words ‘oo ba ma’ means ‘he’s with us,’ which I heard was also chanted on its own. The Iranians depicted in this vid chanted: ‘Obama, Obama, ya ba oona  ya ba ma.’ That means, ‘Obama, Obama, either with them or with us.'” The author of my post points out that this activity never got wide circulation in the U.S. media.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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29 Responses

  1. radii on March 7, 2012, 4:06 pm

    when an over-indulged child is finally told no by a parent that has had enough that child often lashes out in a petty, pouty way – not wanting the discipline that is now imposed and hoping to undo it as quickly as possible … only through sustained discipline does that child get molded to conform to a new, better type of behavior … the israeli regime, the Likkudniks and their agents and sympathizers here are that crying little child in shocked disbelief that their outrageous conduct will no longer be tolerated

    • on March 7, 2012, 10:18 pm

      Hillary Mann Leverett is the parent of a 3-year old. She demonstrated exquisite “How to deal with a spoilt child” technique when she and John Mearsheimer double-teamed Larry Greenfield of JINSA.

      Leverett pinpoited 1992 as the acceleration point for the US-Israel relationship. Post-Cold War and post-Iraq I, Israel moved into the position as co-‘enabler’ of US hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East. She said that Obama came into office with the vision of changing the US’s militaristic world view, but was swiftly beat back by the people around him, not just Republicans but people in his own party and Administration; Leverett named Dennis Ross and Hillary Clinton as supporters of the Netanyahu posture, not Obama’s vision.

      It’s worth noting that 1992 is also the year that Ephraim Sneh settled on the nuclear issue as the battering ram with which to pummel Iran.

      Hillary Leverett got the last word in — Greenfield had been given the last word position by the Al Jazeera host and used it to mouth platitudes about US bringing freedom and democracy to the states in ME. Leverett said, Nope, didn’t happen. US has brought freedom to no one in the region.

      • American on March 8, 2012, 12:58 am

        You might want to read this. It was one of the first things I came across years ago. In 1992 the insiders knew what was up.

        The “Green Peril”: Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist – Similar
        You +1’d this publicly. Undo
        by LT Hadar – Cited by 17 – Related articles
        Aug 27, 1992 – There is a major difference between the Saddam-the- bogeyman caricature and the Green Peril. Notwithstanding the Saddam-is-Hitler rhetoric, …

        Policy Analysis.
        What Green Peril? | Foreign…/what-green-perilSimilar
        Like the Red Menace of the Cold War era, the Green Peril–green being the color of Islam–is described as a cancer spreading around the globe, undermining …

      • lysias on March 8, 2012, 2:19 pm

        In 1992, Israel was in a desperate situation. The Cold War had ended, and Israel seemed to have lost its strategic value for the U.S. Time to find a new enemy to share with the U.S.

        Up to then, Israel had had reasonably good relations (in secret) with the Islamic Republic of Iran — as Triti Parsi detailed in his Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States, and as Israel showed in particular in Iran-Contra. That would have to end. After all, people in the U.S. all hated Iran after the embassy hostages crisis.

    • marc b. on March 8, 2012, 9:11 am

      Mr. President, I’m not reassured. On this one I need to watch my own back.

      perfect. nice knowin’ ya. best of luck on your own. sorry it had end this way. it’s not you, it’s me. don’t let the door hit you on the way out. feel free to move ahead on this issue with iran on your own.

  2. Charon on March 7, 2012, 4:25 pm

    Netanyahu isn’t even popular in Israel. It’s difficult to gauge because I can’t find any recent approval ratings. Even the ‘right-wing’ news gives him crap these days and several haaretz journalists at least speak their mind on the guy. A nation’s leader is supposed to represent the nation. That doesn’t always mean the nation likes the leader. Bush’s approval ratings were average until 9/11 when they soared. Then they dropped to average again until the Iraq war when strangely the soared. Then they tanked to below average right after his first term all the way to historic lows where they remained. Obama’s have been pretty darn stable at average. I voted for the guy but I don’t care for the job he has done nor will I vote for him again. For the most part Americans are not unhappy with the job he claims to have been doing. He hasn’t had a 9/11 or an Iraq war thankfully, that’s a good thing.

    My point here is that Bush was detested by the American public for his entire second term and it would have happened earlier were it not for those events.

    I used to teach training classes for my company’s product and we had our international subsidiaries learning it for a month. Over some drinks, somebody brought up Bush and pretty much all of them said Bush was a laughing stock in all of Europe. I believed it.

    Netanyahu is the same thing. A laughing stock for rational Americans, most Europeans, and in Israel itself. Of course Obama hates him. The thing with Sarkozy comes to mind. Sarkozy is Jewish even. Netanyahu is more hated than Ariel Sharon. Menachem Begin. Any labor party leader actually. He’s irrational. He’s a pathological liar. He lies on an international stage. He’s a manipulative con-man. Anybody can see through this. No nation can ever take themselves seriously by electing such a con-man to such a position of leadership. In a way, I’m glad he is the Israel PM because as long as he remains in that position, the closer this whole thing comes to finally being resolved. In his attempt to extend the status quo, he is killing it. I am okay with this.

    • OlegR on March 8, 2012, 6:10 am

      /Netanyahu isn’t even popular in Israel./
      Nope he is quite popular among the majority of Israelis for the lack of a better alternative if for nothing else.
      The mass media detest him that’s true.That is where all the trash talk about him
      comes from.He has his flaws obviously but they are way exaggerated.
      Especially if you read Harretz that’s like judging the qualities of a democrat candidate to presidency by watching Fox news.

  3. justicewillprevail on March 7, 2012, 4:42 pm

    What about Yahoo’s condescending, arrogant, patronising, bullying treatment of Obama, and all of America? That goes way beyond ‘shabby’ into outright hostile, mobster-like attempts at intimidation and protection racket huckstering. There are plenty people in Israel who find the demagogue, the little tyrant, offensive, destructive and totally lacking in leadership. His legacy will be to have alienated the US and brought into the open for once the dependent aggressiveness of Israel towards the US, their sheer effrontery in always demanding, never giving, their constant attempts to run Congress and undermine American government decisions and their hysterical fear and war mongering to achieve ends which destabilise all attempts at peaceful co-existence. Their demonisation of anyone who crosses them, their constant lying and fake versions of history and politics, with scant respect for history or truth, will have finally brought Yahoo’s chickens home to roost – an unliked, hostile, friendless little troublemaking country whose greatest ‘friend’ wants cut loose from.

    • Charon on March 7, 2012, 8:28 pm

      “I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved”

      At the 4:07 mark. To be fair, I don’t speak Hebrew. I don’t know how to spell what he is saying and throw it in to Google translate and make sense of it. Some Hebrew speakers claim that is not what he is saying at all. Just like they claim Menachem Begin did not make the infamous master race comment. Hebrew is pretty much Aramaic and not easy to translate into an Indo-European languages spoken by the majority of the West. Therefore, Israeli politicians can say horrible things in Hebrew and Israelis can claim that the English translation is not what they said. They are technically correct yet wrong at the same time. The intent is what is important. This is the same guy who said he stopped the Oslo accords and that 9/11 was good for Israel.

      To get to know him a little more, if you haven’t already done so I suggest watching the Ben Netay debate video from some old show called ‘the advocate’

      Watch his facial movements and body language. He is a professional liar. A master of deception and rhetoric. A likely psychopath. IMHO, the younger version is much wittier than his modern self. Perhaps he rehearsed. Either that or when he speaks in English he dumbs himself down to the American audience which needs to hear things at an elementary level to understand it. No offense to my fellow Americans. You know what I mean :)

      • lysias on March 8, 2012, 2:25 pm

        I would still like to have a date for that clip of Bibi. When it first showed up here on MW, somebody said it came from shortly before 9/11. I would like to have that verified or refuted, if somebody could please do it.

  4. DICKERSON3870 on March 7, 2012, 6:38 pm

    RE: “It is completely ad hominem: a reading-in that implies Obama’s resentment toward a “strong” Jewish leader–borne out by none of the facts.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: The Dilemmas of Israeli Power, by Roger Cohen, New York Times Op-Ed, 2/13/12

    (excerpt). . . Some of the most fascinating pages of “The Crisis of Zionism” [by Peter Beinart] trace the ideological backdrop to the bitter clash between Obama and Netanyahu. Beinart demonstrates the strong liberal Zionist influence of Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf on Obama during his Chicago years. Wolf hated the idea of “an Israel besieged by anti-Semites;” his teaching was “interfaith” and “integrationist.” It cleaved to the liberal roots of American Zionism and the ethical teachings of the prophets who, as expressed in Exodus, commanded Jews not to oppress strangers “having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.”
    The contrast with Netanyahu — raised in the Jabotinsky strain of Zionism by a father who viewed Arabs as “semi-barbaric”* and rejected an “emasculating moralism” in favor of a new warrior breed of Jew — could scarcely be greater. . .


    * P.S. Bibi Netanyahu is a racist!
    Bibi Netanyahu’s father is a racist!
    Bibi Netanyahu’s son is a racist!
    SEE: Netanyahu Family’s Racist History: Like Father, Like Son, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 7/12/11
    LINK –

  5. DICKERSON3870 on March 7, 2012, 6:53 pm

    RE: “‘New Republic’ says Obama ‘detests’ Netanyahu and treats him shabbily” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Obama could slather Netanyahu with wet kisses from head to toe leaving ‘passion marks’ on top of ‘passion marks’; and the ‘New Republic’ would still say that Obama treats Netanyahu shabbily!

  6. Duscany on March 7, 2012, 7:36 pm

    Well I certainly hope Obama treats Netanyahu shabbily. Eisenhower would have beat Bibi with a whip for the things he says about America.

  7. wondering jew on March 7, 2012, 8:01 pm

    How many times has this web site “read in” that Obama detests Netanyahu? Do I have to go back and count? Is Mondoweiss so small potatoes that it is allowed to “read in” that Obama detests Netanyahu, but the TNR is such a big league magazine such that Yossi Klein Halevi is not allowed to “read in” the same thing?

    • piotr on March 8, 2012, 1:18 am

      Good point.

      Basically, most of folks here feels that Bibi deserves to be treated in a way that Founding Fathers of USA admonish to eschew, e.g. sitted on a ducking stool . Which he was not.

      Wiki: Francois Maximilian Misson, a French traveller and writer, recorded the method used in England in the early 18th century:[1]

      The way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough. They fasten an armchair to the end of two beams twelve or fifteen feet long, and parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair, which hangs between them by a sort of axle, by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which a chair should be, that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it down. They set up a post on the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay, almost in equilibrio, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs just over the water. They place the woman in this chair and so plunge her into the water as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat.

      “in order to cool his immoderate heat”, basically, it was a healing procedure, and definitely, in the case of Netanyahu, “pleasant enough”.

  8. Les on March 7, 2012, 8:16 pm

    ‘New Republic’ says Sarkozy ‘detests’ Netanyahu and treats him shabbily

  9. lareineblanche on March 7, 2012, 9:21 pm

    Worth reading :
    Israel push on Iran included a steady dose of media leaks :

    In the year after U.S. intelligence agencies published a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that downplayed the Iranian nuclear threat, an unprecedented number of leaks over Iran’s alleged progress on nuclear weapons was released to the press. They culminated in reports published in Israeli newspapers that Iran had secret uranium enrichment facilities. In 2009, world leaders caught up at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, where Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy revealed a yet-undisclosed facility at Qom.

    Israeli officials also said it was no coincidence that a flurry of reports on Israel’s imminent strike on Iran filled the press last fall just ahead of a report from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    Guzansky said the possible Israeli strike leaks to the media were “an important tool” for the government.

    “It is psychological warfare. You leak to get the enemy or your friend to think X or Y,” he said.

    What was that about Jeffrey Goldberg being “played like a violin”?

  10. Sin Nombre on March 8, 2012, 1:18 am

    Yossi Klein Halevi said:

    “For me to trust Obama on Israel’s ultimate security threat, I need him to speak directly to Iran, not to American Jews and the Israeli public. I need ….”

    Who cares about Halevi saying Obama hates Bibi, or indeed if Obama hates Bibi. To me instead what’s noteworthy is Halevi’s tone as in the above, demanding his “needs” from our President.

    Seems to me the appropriate response is … “Go screw yourself and your needs, Israeli.”

    Don’t the folks who share Halevi’s sort of sentiments have the least amount of shame constantly demanding we take care of them? (And constantly implying that we aren’t doing enough?)

    Unfreakingbelievable sense of entitlement. Unbelievable lack of appreciation for past help given. It’s like dealing with some different species.

    • OlegR on March 8, 2012, 6:20 am

      /It’s like dealing with some different species./

      So basically you are saying Israelis are not human.

      • dahoit on March 8, 2012, 9:51 am

        Ho ho;of course Jews are human,they breed with other humans and their offspring can breed also.It’s scientific.
        I think the problem is the opposite,that many Jews think they are gods,and we(goyim) are not.
        And what did Begin say?Verification.

      • Bumblebye on March 8, 2012, 11:01 am

        Does your response mean that you, from Russia, share Brooklynite Halevi’s view that Israel should have endless entitlement from US taxpayers as well as the right to have all political demands met by the US as your client state? Israel’s own personal Sugar Daddy?
        Or, Israel must be indulges as the US’s own little princess? Or she’ll stamp her foot and fling a few bombs around?

  11. Erasmus on March 8, 2012, 7:50 am

    The debate, better wild speculations whether or not Obama might personally hate the Israeli PM, is imho pretty useless.
    Obama has other problems at his hands than to invest political and psychic energies into such a person. What O.. surely must have concluded that Yahoo is not a person to trust. And who could argue this, given that Yahoo is a notorious lier, deceiptful, a cheap propagandist and “salesman” of FEAR, whether recalling the traumatic Holocaust memories of trying to inculcate the Fear of new Holocaust around the corner, at the hands of the Iranian fictional nuclear bomb.
    The POTUS has learnt his lesson, hopefully, that a l l he tried in terms of security assurances etc…. ( and he has “given” the Lobby and Israel indeed way toooooo much!!) has never been met with any reasonable response from Israel’s side, not to speak of the minutest inkling of appreciation or gratitude.
    In the contrary, the President of the United States has been humiliated not only by Yahoo, the AIPAC Lobby and other Israel Firsters in the USA and elswhere, but by the American Congress(wo)men and Senators. The latter even going so far as to publicly humiliating themselves as they so convincingly did by their 30 or so standing ovations in May 2011, cheering Netan-Yahoo like mad(wo)men as if he was one of theirs, respectively them his. What respect can the world give to such representatives of American democracy throwing voluntary the rest of any personal and institutional dignity into the litter box.
    It has been painful to see, very painful, for any decent anybody.

    Before such a background of warmongerers at home (Congress, Senate, and the mainstream mass media) and Israel Obama has stood his ground with quite some determination (at last).
    Yahoo failed in his attempt to push the USA into yet another war. Rather than for madness, it is time for REASON and continued efforts of diplomacy, if Israel shall have a future. Netanyahoo’s war mongering and advocacy for an Iran attack is a DEAD END STREET.
    That is what Israeli voters should be guided by, when they will elect a new Knesset soon.

    And that is what the American electorate must consider likewise.

  12. seafoid on March 8, 2012, 8:52 am

    “Israelis still recall with disbelief how Obama refused to honor Bush’s written commitment to Ariel Sharon—that the U.S. would support settlement blocs being incorporated into Israel proper. ”

    Israelis will one day be thankful for this.

    G-d punished both Sharon and Bush for the abomination. Sharon is now a vegetable and Bush got Lehman Bros. Prayer works, dudes.

  13. Xpat on March 8, 2012, 9:06 am

    Indeed one gets the impression that of all the world’s leaders, Obama most detests the prime minister of Israel.

    I don’t know how “one gets the impression” but I do agree that strong feelings are appropriate.
    If Vladimir Putin were to call on the White House with such regularity and behave so obnoxiously every single time, he might get into Obama’s rogue gallery too.
    Nine tête à têtes at the White House with Netanyahu! It’s bad enough that Obama had to clean up after George W. and personally take on all of America’s racism but, for this one, the President really deserves a medal.

  14. Sin Nombre on March 8, 2012, 9:51 am

    In response to my post OlegR said:

    “So basically you are saying Israelis are not human.”

    No, I’m categorically saying that about “folks who share Halevi’s sort of sentiments,” which is the exact verbiage I used and you pretended didn’t exist so as to try to undermine what I said, quite obviously because it is valid and you don’t like people hearing that, and yet you could not undermine it with either evidence or reason.

    And what I’ll add is that I think when someone just takes words out of context or twists them, much less blatantly pretending they don’t exist as you just did, it constitutes a sort of irrefutable proof of intellectual bad faith on their part.

    • justicewillprevail on March 8, 2012, 12:31 pm

      Israelis act like they are exempt from human norms of behaviour, and civil forms of rights and legal obligations. Then they whine about being treated differently. If you act differently, a law unto yourselves, hardly surprising you are perceived and treated differently. There is, however, a simple remedy.

      • Mooser on March 8, 2012, 3:41 pm

        Oleg is in way over his head here. I told him to quit while he was behind, but he’s gonna keep digging.

  15. piotr on March 8, 2012, 3:14 pm

    I mentioned “common scold, communis rixatrix” because a certain type of Israelis and their supporters have just to self-awareness how irritating they sound.

    Should normal American care if “Israel trusts our President”? As long as Israel is not using weapons purchased in USA and does not need to be protected by American vetoes in Security Council, Israel can do what it damn wishes. Stop whining and do your homework, or you will be grounded. More hysterics and I will re-think your allowance.

  16. lysias on March 9, 2012, 10:12 am

    The New Republic was just bought by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. I wonder if that will affect its editorial policies.

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