An anonymous senior Obama administration official was quoted on Tuesday calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a chickenshit.”
The quote appeared in an article from The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg, who described the relationship between America and Israel as “now the worst it’s ever been.”
Goldberg also wrote that Netanyahu told several people that he has “written off” the Obama administration and now sees the U.S. Congress as his main ally.
At one point, the official compares the prime minister unfavorably to other leaders in Israel’s recent history:
“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “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.”
Goldberg wrote that the quote was the latest in a long line of insults from U.S. officials, who in the past had called the Israeli leader pompous and “Aspergery,” among other terms.
Netanyahu responded to the report on Wednesday morning, Haaretz reported.
The prime minister said he is “under attack” by anonymous officials but that he continues to “respect and cherish” the U.S. as Israel’s primary ally.