Ben-Artzi: This is our test
Photo: Ohad Zoigenberg
Obama with Reverend Wright
Hagai Ben-Artzi, the prime minister's brother-in-law, called US President Barack Obama an anti-Semite in a radio interview Wednesday.
"When an anti-Semitic president takes office in America – that is our test to say, 'We won't give up'," he told Israel Army Radio.
Ben-Artzi responded to US criticism of the construction in east Jerusalem and said Benjamin Netanyahu should learn from previous prime ministers. "Once the Americans tried to intervene in anything related to Jerusalem we told them one simple word: No," he said.
"Jerusalem is the Israeli people's capital and the capital of the State of Israel, and it is whole and united. For the first time in 2,000 years Jews can come freely to the Western Wall and the holy sites, and we will not concede even a millimeter. If you want to make a crisis over this, fine. This is not just Benjamin Netanyahu's guiding principle, but rather that of the seven prime ministers who came before him."
Ben-Artzi went on to explain why Obama disliked Israel. "Not only does he dislike the prime minister, he dislikes the people of Israel. For 20 years Obama sat with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who is anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, and anti-Jewish," he said.
Netanyahu's brother-in-law added that it was clear Obama agreed with Wright because he had remained in his congregation. "Think about it. If you had heard of someone who for 20 years sat in church and heard anti-Semitic sermons and didn't get up to leave after two weeks, wouldn't you think he identifies with it? As a politician running for presidency he had to hide it, but it comes out every time and I think we just have to say it plainly: There is an anti-Semitic president in America," he said.
"Unfortunately this creates a difficult situation for Israel, but we will never give up our deepest interests – Jerusalem and our ties with it."
Ben-Artzi concluded the interview by saying that Netanyahu knew of Obama's views. "What he tells him in private conversations, of course I will not reveal," he said. "This is a time of trial for us, not to bend and tell him that anti-Semitism will not win."