A New Low in Israeli-American Relations?

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Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

In his address the Israeli leader is expected to speak about stalled US-led nuclear negotiations with Iran, and to urge lawmakers to slap Tehran with a new round of tougher sanctions in order to force it to comply with international demands. The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday went to the rare length of issuing a press statement to deny claims, cited by Kerry, that its chief Tamir Pardo had told visiting US politicians that he opposed further sanctions.

So the Republicans talk to Likud; Democrats to Israeli Labour?  Of course, before we get on our high horse about politics stopping at the waters’ edge (a principle I emphatically endorse), let’s not forget Speaker Pelosi’s trip to Damascus to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad back in 2007 shortly after the Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Once the genie is out of the bottle, it’s hard to put him back in.

Nevertheless, it is impolitic at best to be labeling the leader of one of our closest allies in the Middle East as “chickenshit” in the middle of perhaps some of the most intense negotiations to broker a Palestinian peace.

When most presidents seem to focus on foreign affairs in their second term, President Obama seems to be failing miserably to establish concrete results when in 2008, his campaign had set the standards so very high.  That’s unfortunate — because much more could and ought to be done… with less cowboy diplomacy, if one can borrow the term.

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