WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — CBS News reports that U.S.-Israeli relations have reached a “new low” after a senior Obama administration official called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickens***” in a story for The Atlantic.
“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickens***,” an unnamed official told Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic.
The official also added: “The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars. The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”
CBS News’ Major Garrett reports that the comment “drove U.S.-Israeli relations to a new low” and the White House does not seem interested in finding the source.
“The White House did not quarrel with the reporting of Jeffrey Goldberg and showed no interest in identifying or punishing its source,” Garrett reported.
The administration went on the defensive following the comment, portraying that the relationship between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu have forged an “effective partnership.”
“The fact is comments like that do not reflect the administration’s view and we do believe they are counterproductive,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during Wednesday’s press briefing.
National Security Council spokesperson Alistair Baskey made similar comments to The Jerusalem Post.
“Certainly that’s not the administration’s view, and we think such comments are inappropriate and counterproductive,” Baskey said. “Prime Minister 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.”
Netanyahu fired back in a speech before the Knesset.
“I am being attacked because I am willing to defend the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said, according to The Post.
“The safety of Israel is not important to those who attack me anonymously and personally. They’re attacking me because I stand for our safety and our security interests.”
Despite the comment, the Israeli leader said that the Jewish state still has deep ties with the U.S.
“I laud the deep connection we have with the United States,” he said. “We have more support from the American people than ever, and our strategic ties continue.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also shot back at the Obama administration over the comment.
“When the president discusses Israel and Iran, it is sometimes hard to tell who he thinks is America’s friend and who he thinks is America’s enemy. The House of Representatives has no trouble drawing that distinction. Over the last several months, I have watched the administration insult ally after ally. I am tired of the administration’s apology tour. The president sets the tone for his administration. He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not. It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on.”