Netanyahu 'loathes' Obama says Herzog

Our relations with Israel have not been this bad since the presidency of LBJ, and the political opposition is blaming Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Times of Israel:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “loathes” Barack Obama, and his hostile attitude to the US president constitutes a danger to Israel’s well-being, the head of the Israeli opposition charged on Friday night, in a highly unusual acknowledgement of the long-rumored strained personal ties between the two leaders.

In a bitter verbal assault on the prime minister, Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog slammed Netanyahu for failing to listen to the international community, failing to present peace proposals of his own for an accord with the Palestinians, and failing to work properly with Obama.

It was “a tragedy” that Netanyahu had not presented a peace plan, and was instead “dragged” into responding to other proposals, said Herzog. “The second tragedy, that endangers the security of Israel, is his loathing and hostility for Barack Obama,” Herzog went on, describing this as “one of Netanyahu’s gravest failures.

Herzog, who was minister of welfare under Netanyahu from 2009-2011, was speaking in an interview on Channel 2 news in the aftermath of this week’s formation of a new Hamas-backed Palestinian unity government. Netanyahu had called on the international community to stand up against what he described as a government backed by a terrorist organization, but instead the US led the world in making clear that it would work with the new Palestinian government, and the EU, the UN and much of the rest of the international community quickly followed suit.

Netanyahu and Obama have long been perceived as having a strained relationship, with policy differences emerging over how to stop Iran’s nuclear program, and the prime minister’s expansion of settlements, among other issues. Obama gave an interview which indicated criticism of some of Netanyahu’s key policies just as the prime minister was flying to meet him at the White House in March, and Netanyahu was seen by some in the US as having sought to bolster Mitt Romney’s prospects in the 2012 presidential elections.

Publicly, there is no breach. Both men insist they have a good working relationship. But Netanyahu made no bones about who he would rather have seen as president in 2012 and it wasn't the guy who won. Considering how vindictive this president is, that couldn't have helped smooth things over between them.

Does Herzog have a point? Is it Bibi's fault that US-Israel relations are at low ebb? Obama and Netanyahu are oil and water. The Israeli PM is passionate. Obama is something of a cold fish. Netanyahu sees the world in stark, even apocalyptic terms. Obama is a naive amatuer, suspicious of our friends and trusting of our enemies.

Perhaps it's because Israel lives with the prospect of annihilation every day and that Obama can't or won't understand that fundamental fact about Israel. Whatever the reason, the Israeli government will breathe a sigh of relief when Barack Obama leaves office.



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