Speed Reads


Obama official calls Netanyahu 'chickensh-t'

In an interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, a senior Obama official had some choice words for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The thing about Bibi is, he's a chickenshit," he said, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname. "The good thing about Netanyahu is that he's scared to launch wars," the official told Goldberg. "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."

The Obama administration is angry about Israel's settlement policies on the West Bank, according to Goldberg, who reports that Israel's government "openly expresses contempt for Obama's understanding of the Middle East" by undermining Secretary of State John Kerry's peace efforts. Relations between Obama and Netanyahu are at a record low, according to officials in both countries. It's not just Obama officials calling Israeli leaders names, either — according to Goldberg's sources, Netanyahu has "written off" the U.S. administration.

Goldberg believes remarks like these will lead to a "full-blown crisis" between the U.S. and Israel. Next year, the Palestinian Authority is reportedly seeking full recognition for Palestine from the U.N., and Goldberg speculates the Obama administration could "withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel." And Netanyahu has reportedly said that he would address the American people — rather than Obama — if an agreement about Iran's nuclear program is reached. Another official told Goldberg that Netanyahu has been a "coward" about Iran's nuclear threat, saying it is now "too late for him to do anything."

Read Goldberg's full article on U.S.-Israel relations at The Atlantic.