Photo: EPA
'We have never had a prime minister and defense minister with so much contempt towards US'
Photo: EPA
Shimon Shiffer

US is settling scores with Netanyahu through Ya'alon

Op-ed: Our leaders have yet to internalize the need for courtesy towards those who help secure Israel's existence to the tune of $3 billion a year.

Every inexperienced diplomat knows that there is no such thing as a free lunch in Washington. The American administration awards bonuses to those who benefit it, but makes sure to punish those who dare cause damage to national interests.



Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon has had firsthand experience with this mentality over the past week.


But Ya'alon's harsh criticism of the American policy in the past year is in fact a symptom of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's offensive and irresponsible attitude towards the American administration.


The White House has a score to settle with the Israeli prime minister: The administration is convinced that he tried to tarnish US President Barack Obama's image, nor have they forgotten how he meddled behind the scenes in favor of Obama's Republican rival, Mitt Romney, in the 2012 elections.


Obama and Netanyahu at the White House earlier this month. (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Obama and Netanyahu at the White House earlier this month. (Photo: AFP)


A clear indication of the growing rift between Netanyahu and Obama is the fact that as far as many administration officials are concerned, Israel doesn’t really have an ambassador in Washington today, not in practice anyway: Ambassador Ron Dermer, one of Netanyahu's closest associates, has become persona non grata since taking office, at least in Washington.


The attitude towards him is so hostile that the following joke has begun to circulate in the American capital: Not only are the president's advisors refusing to meet with Dermer, but even the White House switchboard won't take his calls.


It could have been funny if it were not so sad, not to mention dangerous. We have never had a prime minister and defense minister who have shown such deep contempt towards the American administration.


Their pretention to school Obama on how to run the world, and the repeated accusations emerging from their mouths about American "naivety" and "ignorance" on the Middle East, point to one very unfortunate mindset: Not only is Netanyahu not grateful to the United States for continuing to help Israel and defend it in international institutions, but he keeps talking back and provoking the US, intentionally and consciously.


There is no doubt that the American administration has made quite a few mistakes. Indeed, there have been many cases in which such an Israeli perception was justified. But Netanyahu and Ya'alon have yet to internalize what their predecessors never dared forget for one minute:

A state receiving more than $3 billion a year in security aid is committed to acting courteously, politely and with understanding towards those who provide it with the cash that helps secure its existence.


Many thought that Obama would wait until after the US midterm elections next month to settle scores with Netanyahu. They were wrong. Washington has decided to start settling the score with the Israeli government now. And we may all pay the price.


פרסום ראשון: 10.26.14, 09:58
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