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Who running for president is not ‘friends’ with Benjamin Netanyahu?

US Politics
on 20 Comments

The retirement of Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), must have been almost as emotional for Benjamin Netanyahu as it was for the even more verklempt than usual Speaker of the House himself. Theirs was a bromance for the ages. And like so many forbidden trysts, #BibiBoehnerGate was full of secrecy and intrigue, backstabbing and a refusal to bow to convention. When Boehner snuck behind President Obama’s back to Invite the Israeli Prime Minister to address Congress, the speaker went against precedent, and, some have argued, the constitution.

And the question on the lips of so many Jews is, of course, is this “good or bad for the Jews?” (Because why is this night different from any other night?) But Bibi’s protectors have nothing to worry about. Because Boehner isn’t the only one who treats Bibi courts Bibi like the Belle of the Ball he most certainly is! Among most U.S. elected officials and politicians, pursuing Netanyahu’s friendship– and bragging about their Bibi-buddy-bonafidas– is extremely trendy. So, for the sake of brevity, let’s focus on the people who are seeking their party’s nomination for the presidential election of 2016.

1. John Boehner: A friendship based deception, Islamophobia and other shared values.

Of course, Boehner is exiting his role as speaker, not attempting to get into the White House. But he’s the Bibi-BFF by which all other aspiring Bibi-buddies must be measured. In March, following Nethanyahu’s race-bating victory, then Speaker used a press conference to show off his friendship with the Prime Minister: “Let me congratulate my friend, Benjamin Netanyahu on his party’s victory this week.” For Boehner and Bibi, it’s the shared values of Islamophobia and hawkishness that unites them: “The prime minister recognizes the grave threats that we face from radical Islam and from Iran,” boasted Boehner about his buddy.

2. Carly Fiorina: Phone buddies.

During the GOP debate in September, Carly Fiorina, stated: “On day one in the Oval office I will make two phone calls the first to my good friend Bibi Netanyahu to assure him we will stand with the state of Israel. The second to the Supreme leader to tell him that unless and until he opens every nuclear facility to real anytime inspections by our people not his, we the United States of America will make it as difficult as possible to move money around the global financial system.” It’s hard to know if she’s telling the truth or if she’s being truthy the way she is about Planned Parenthood, and… well… basically everything else she talks about… ever.

3. Mike Huckabee: A rapturous romance.

Fresh off a stumping trip in Israel, where he warned that the Iran deal would bring the end times (which I thought was supposed to be a good thing for someone like Huck), Christian Zionist and former Arkanas Governor Mike Huckabee tweeted the following:

Huckabee has a reputation for being a friendly guy, but it really says something about his character that Bibi is willing to look past the fact that Huck’s dreams (which happen to be for Armageddon) require that Netanyahu and all other Jews either accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior or, you know,  burn in hell for all of eternity. Most of us only dream of finding that kind of connection with someone.

4. Rick Santorum: With leaders like Bibi, who needs the Pope?

Rick Santorum may be Roman Catholic, but he crushes on the leader of Israel way more than he does on the leader of his own actual church, AKA god’s infallible rep on earth, AKA Pope Francis. Here’s what Santorum had to say about the Pope’s radical idea that climate change is, like, a thing, and should be taken seriously: “The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science. And I think that we are probably better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.” There’s a lot to unpack here. First of all, scientists agree with what the Pope is saying, so if we leave science to the scientists, then acknowledge the overwhelming consensus among scientists that climate change is real and affected by human activity. The other thing that is kinda awkward is that the Pope actually studied science and worked as a chemist. But anyway… Santorum was quick to congratulate Bibi on his victory in March and congratulate himself for being able to call the Prime Minister his friend: “Congratulations to my friend, Prime Minister Netanyahu, on his re-election. The Prime Minister has been a true friend to the United States and I join millions of my fellow Americans in congratulating this man of courage, candor, and strength.”

5. Donald Trump: They both love developing real estate.

Trump may be partial to luxury hotels, while Bibi prefers settlement-chic construction, but they are both passionate about expanding their real estate empires. In one of his funnier video commercials (and that’s saying a lot, because have you seen ads for Trump steaks?), The Donald actually endorses Netanyahu, saying, “Vote for Benjamin, terrific guy, terrific leader, great for Israel.” When Hugh Hewitt asked Trump if he would “unequivocally stand by the action of the Netanyahu government” if it  acted “unilaterally against Iran because they view this deal as so bad” the mogul responded, “Of course, I will. In fact, he’s a friend of mine. I did commercials for his reelection. And according to what he said, I’m the only celebrity, he’s used the word celebrity, this was a while ago, that did commercials, that he asked to do commercials. But he’s a good man, and I would absolutely stand with him.”

6. Joe Biden: Nothing gets between Biden and Bibi!

During the vice-presidential debate with Paul Ryan in 2012, Biden nearly screamed, “Now, with regard to Bibi, he’s been my friend for 39 years!” In 2014, brought up the friendship once again, during a speech he gave to the Jewish Federations of North America: “I signed a picture for Bibi a long time ago… He’s been a friend for over 30 years. I said ‘Bibi I don’t agree with a damn thing you say but I love you.'” Like Mary Matalin and James Carville, Bibi and Biden share a love that transcends their differences. Except their relationship is long distance, and they see and marry other people.

7. Hillary Clinton: Tough Love Frenemies.

Hillary almost didn’t make the cut, since her declarations of friendship are less of a humble brag and more of a begrudging gesture. And she certainly doesn’t name drop the way others do. In fact, it’s unclear whether Clinton considers Bibi a friend or just finds it politically expedient to treat him like one: “I learned that Bibi would fight if he felt he was being cornered, but if you connected with him as a friend, there was a chance you could get something done together,” Clinton wrote in her memoirs Hard Choices. She also said, in the same book, that, “Despite our policy differences, Netanyahu and I worked together as partners and friends. We argued frequently, often during phone calls that would go on for over an hour, sometimes two. But even when we disagreed, we maintained an unshakable commitment to the alliance between our countries.” But like high school students who can only withstand peer pressure for so long, Hillary started doing what all the cool kids have been doing, and bragged about just how close she was with Netanyahu. She told Fareed Zakaria, “I’ve known Bibi a long time and I have a very good relationship with him, in part because we can yell at each other, and we do. And I was often the designated yeller.” I guess Bibi likes to be yelled at.

About Katie Halper

Born, raised and still living in New York City, Katie Halper is a writer, comedian, filmmaker and occasional History teacher. Her writing, videos and commentaries have appeared on MSNBC, Fox News Radio, Sirius, HuffPost Live, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Salon, The Nation, The American Prospect, Vice, Comedy Central, Jezebel, Gawker, TPM and Alternet. Katie also has a weekly column at Feministing and a daily column at Raw Story.

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20 Responses

  1. Citizen
    September 30, 2015, 12:26 pm

    I don’t know of any POTUS candidate that doesn’t belong to Bibi Fan Club except Jill Stein.

    • ckg
      September 30, 2015, 1:24 pm

      In fact, Stein called Netanyahu a ‘war criminal’.

    • echinococcus
      September 30, 2015, 3:30 pm

      In all justice, Mr Sanders, aka BS, is not an official Yahoo fan either, even though he is an ex-kibbutznik and a hysterical Zionist of the “Labour” variety, cheering for the massacre in Gaza and the Zionist dream.
      Looks like he’s some 30 years out of fashion in everything.

      • The Dirty Democrat
        The Dirty Democrat
        October 1, 2015, 1:24 pm

        Senator Bernie Sanders “is no friend of PM Netanyahu…” This was said when the latest tally of murdered and wounded men women and children in the Gaza slaughter. He raged in Congress about the lack of compassion as well.

      • echinococcus
        October 4, 2015, 12:11 am

        Zionists are not all friends of Netanyahoo. Some are “labour”, for example Bernie Sanders.
        Also have a look at his hysterical performance trying to defend “Israel’s right to defend itself” on You Tube, speaking of the slaughter in Gaza.

  2. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    September 30, 2015, 12:41 pm


  3. eljay
    September 30, 2015, 1:52 pm

    If they don’t ease up on all this Bibi-fellating, the donkey will get jealous!

  4. italian ex-pat
    italian ex-pat
    September 30, 2015, 1:57 pm

    I wasn’t surprised to learn, from the credit, that Katie Halper is, among other things, a comedian.
    Thank you for a good chuckle, Katie.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    September 30, 2015, 6:08 pm

    When I first looked at that top photo of Huck & Yuck, I thought it was a photo of John Goodman and Janeane Garofalo; but when I checked some photos Garofalo, I decided she is far more attractive than Netanyahu (although the hair is somewhat similar).

  6. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    September 30, 2015, 6:28 pm

    “I’ve known Bibi a long time and I have a very good relationship with him, in part because we can yell at each other, and we do. And I was often the designated yeller.”

    Considering that his wife, Sara, is a mean drunk he’s probably used to a woman yelling at him.

  7. JWalters
    September 30, 2015, 6:28 pm

    “I did commercials for his reelection.” – Trump on Bibi

    Now all these candidates have lucrative gigs doing commercials for Israel. Instead of merely hiring a crowd of people at a rally, Israel has hired a bunch of candidates for a presidential campaign. The gig does require “candidates” to lie a lot, and generally be okay with working for criminals. Appalling ignorance is acceptable. It probably pays fairly well, since it requires them to make asses of themselves in front of the entire nation, and shred the remnants of their reputations.

  8. JLewisDickerson
    September 30, 2015, 6:37 pm

    RE: “Hillary almost didn’t make the cut, since her declarations of friendship are less of a humble brag and more of a begrudging gesture. And she certainly doesn’t name drop the way others do. In fact, it’s unclear whether Clinton considers Bibi a friend or just finds it politically expedient to treat him like one . . .” ~ Katie Halper

    NOTE – “Claim: Israelis tried to blackmail Bill Clinton with Lewinsky tapes to force spy release” | By Benjamin Weingarten | | July 21, 2014
    In October 1998 in a bid to gain the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli team led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to blackmail President Bill Clinton with tapes of Clinton and then-intern Monica Lewinsky. When Clinton brought Israel’s request for Pollard’s release to CIA Director George Tenet, Tenet threatened to resign on the spot should Clinton cave and release Pollard. Clinton ultimately declined the Israeli request, though he would consider it once again before the end of his term.
    LINK –

    P.S. – In 1996, Bill Clinton remarked privately after his first meeting with Netanyahu, “Who the f��k does he think he is? Who’s the f��king superpower here?”

  9. JLewisDickerson
    September 30, 2015, 6:54 pm

    RE: Hillary started doing what all the cool kids have been doing, and bragged about just how close she was with Netanyahu. She told Fareed Zakaria, “I’ve known Bibi a long time and I have a very good relationship with him, in part because we can yell at each other, and we do. And I was often the designated yeller.” I guess Bibi likes to be yelled at. ~ Katie Halper

    MY COMMENT: Perhaps Netanyahu likes being yelled at. At any rate, he’s undoubtedly used to being yelled at.*

    * SEE: “Prime minister’s wife accused in court of abusing staff” | By Lisa Goldman | | September 21, 2015

    [EXCERPT] Sara Netanyahu, the wife of the prime minister, is an alcoholic who drinks champagne from morning to night, terrorizes her employees with verbal and physical abuse and has her husband, the prime minister, so terrified of her rages that he does not dare utter a word that might appear to contradict her. This is according to testimony heard on Sunday in a Jerusalem court from former employees at the prime minister’s residence. Guy Eliahu, a former maintenance man at the official residence, is suing the Netanyahus for what he says is Sara’s abusive, inappropriate and inhumane treatment.

    According to a report published by Ynet, the Israeli digital media site, on Sunday a former cook, Etti Haim, who took the witness stand reluctantly after she was subpoenaed, described several shocking incidents.

    In one case, testified Haim, Sara Netanyahu went ballistic upon discovering that the patio awning had been rolled up after the al fresco dinner table had been fully set for dinner, including an array of prepared salads. Just before Sara Netanyahu appeared for the meal, the prime minister had asked Guy Eliahu, the maintenance man, to roll up the awning over the table. Upon seeing this Mrs. Netanyahu berated Eliahu, insisting the dinner table was now contaminated by dust. Haim said the prime minister did not intervene but sat silently on a bench near the table, avoiding eye contact with Eliahu. Mrs. Netanyahu ordered that the table be entirely cleared of dishes and food and re-set. When her son Avner said that his food was fine and should not be cleared away, Sara Netanyahu angrily accused him of taking the side of the servants. The prime minister’s wife then trashed the dinner table. . .


    • NickJOCW
      October 1, 2015, 7:22 am

      Hen pecked husbands with authority outside the home often take it out on others. I wonder if Joshua was the same.

  10. just
    September 30, 2015, 8:05 pm

    Thanks, Katie. Well done!

    While Lil’ Deb is not running for President, did anyone else see this very good piece from Peter Beinart?

    “Why Is the Chair of the Democratic Party Accusing Marco Rubio of anti-Semitism?

    Because she won’t challenge his policies toward Israel.

    If you want to understand what’s wrong with the way the Democratic Party treats Jews and Israel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, is a good place to start.

    On September 22, a Dallas plutocrat named Harlan Crow held a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio. Crow collects historical artifacts. He owns a helmet worn by Dwight Eisenhower, a silver mug designed by Paul Revere, a copy of the first U.S. census signed by Thomas Jefferson, a cannonball from the Battle of Gettysburg, statues of various deposed communist dictators and lots of other expensive historical stuff. He also owns two paintings by Adolf Hitler, some of the Fuhrer’s tableware and a signed copy of Mein Kampf. Wasserman Schultz pounced. “Today,” she declared, “as the sun is setting for Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement and the most holy day on the Jewish calendar – Senator Marco Rubio will hold a fundraiser in a home that features two paintings by Adolf Hitler, a signed copy of Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf, and a cabinet full of place settings and linens used by the Nazi leader… An event at a home with items like these is appalling at any time of the year. Adding insult to injury, Rubio is holding this event on the eve of the holiest day of the Jewish calendar… There’s really no excuse for such a gross act of disrespect.” 

    There’s really no excuse for such a brain-dead slander. No one, including Wasserman Schultz, has offered any evidence that Crow is an anti-Semite. He’s a rich guy who buys historical objects, some of them associated with famous good guys and some with notorious bad guys. And what’s wrong with owning Mein Kampf anyway? If Wasserman Schultz hasn’t read it, she should. It’s a good case study in how individuals, and whole societies, can descend into racist madness. 

    As for Wasserman Schultz’s suggestion that Rubio compounded the offense by attending the fundraiser on Yom Kippur, it’s absurd. Rubio didn’t do anything anti-Semitic. …

    Why is Wasserman Schultz uttering such idiocies? To fill the void left by what she won’t say. Rubio has declared that as president, he would not be bound by the Iran deal. He’s also said he would not try to create a Palestinian state. He’s called U.S. President Barack Obama’s criticism of Israeli settlement construction “deplorable.” This is hardly surprising given that his most important home-state patron is a man who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the settlement of Ariel.  

    If Wasserman Schultz wants to convince Jews to vote for Democrats, and not Rubio, she should explain why Rubio’s views are bad for America and Israel. But she hasn’t. In fact, when it comes to Mideast policy, Wasserman Schultz generally hews to the safest, most clichéd, most AIPAC-friendly talking points possible. This June, when the Palestinian Authority sued Israel at the International Criminal Court, she said, “this kind of unilateral action further undermines efforts to reignite direct negotiations” and could lead to the “suspension of all economic aid to the PA.”

    But what’s “unilateral” about appealing to the ICC, an international body with 123 member nations?  In fact, the only reason the Palestinians joined the ICC was because the General Assembly of the United Nations voted to make them a non-member observer state by a vote of 138 to 9. That’s a lot less unilateral than Israel’s ongoing subsidies for settlement construction in the West Bank. Yet Wasserman Schultz has never suggested suspending aid to Israel in response to that? Nor, as far as I’m aware, has she suggested that anything Israel has done – even putting diplomacy with the Palestinians in the hands of a man who opposes a Palestinian state – might undermine “direct negotiations.”

    On Iran, Wasserman Schultz is almost as timid. Last year, she refused to support a House resolution urging Obama to “give diplomacy” with Iran “a chance.” In August, she reportedly blocked the Democratic National Committee from considering a resolution endorsing the Iran deal. In September, she finally came out for the deal — as head of the DNC, it would have been virtually impossible not to — but only once it was clear the agreement would pass.

    Some other Jewish Democrats – Senator Diane Feinstein, for instance, and Congressman Sander Levin – argued early, and forcefully, for the agreement. But despite having been chosen as DNC head in part to help Obama woo Jews, Wasserman Schultz almost never forcefully defends his Middle East policies. To the contrary, she generally minimizes her party’s differences with the GOP on Middle East policy while slamming Republicans on domestic issues. And she looks for opportunities to cry anti-Semitism. Politico even reported that when Obama aides considered dumping her as party chair in 2013, Wasserman Schultz threatened to call the White House anti-Semitic. 

    Rubio is an articulate spokesperson for the view that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deserves complete freedom of action, backed by American weaponry, money and diplomatic cover, and that the Palestinians don’t deserve basic rights. Democrats deserve spokespeople able, and willing, to explain why he’s wrong. They need spokespeople willing to say that being pro-Israel doesn’t mean being pro-Ariel, and that the party of Lyndon Johnson and John Lewis believes Palestinians deserve civil rights too. 

    Instead, as party chair the Democrats have Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who thinks that when it comes to Jews, Marco Rubio’s problem is that he raised money at the house of a guy who owns Hitler’s napkins. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.”

    read more:

    She needs to be “dumped”, y’all.

  11. SonofDaffyDuck
    October 1, 2015, 8:16 am

    Who in Congress is not a $Bibibuddy$ ?
    It reminds me a lot of the Mickey Mouse Club…although I haven’t figured out how to replace M-I-C-K-E-Y with B-E-N-J-A-M-I-N and still keep the sense of matching the lyrics to the Melody.

    So much about the Lyrics and the Melody in this relation produces disharmony and just doesn’t sound right.

    • eljay
      October 1, 2015, 8:45 am

      || SonofDaffyDuck: … It reminds me a lot of the Mickey Mouse Club…although I haven’t figured out how to replace M-I-C-K-E-Y with B-E-N-J-A-M-I-N and still keep the sense of matching the lyrics to the Melody. … ||

      Who’s the guy we love the most
      Let’s get down on our knees
      B-E-N-JAM-I-N’s who we want to please
      Oi there! You’ll go far there
      When his lemon you do squeeze
      B-E-N-JAM-I-N’s who we want to please

      • SonofDaffyDuck
        October 1, 2015, 10:03 am

        vulgar but brilliant.
        just need a chorus and orchestra for recording

      • Boo
        October 1, 2015, 1:12 pm

        I’d suggest changing the “M” in “M-O-U-S-E” to an “S”. Not necessarily to commemmorate S(p)ouse Sara, nor Bibi’s bibbing proclivities…

        but Just Because.

        “Bibi Souse”. Scans nicely, doesn’t it?

  12. Boomer
    October 1, 2015, 6:34 pm

    Don’t forget our current president, and his predecessor, and the one before, et al.

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