Picture the scene. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is off to Washington to see Barack Obama next week for the first time in more than a year. Their last major dealings were in March, when Netanyahu travelled to the US to speak to Congress in a bid to undermine a key plank of the US president’s foreign policy – reaching a nuclear deal with Iran.
This time Netanyahu wants a favour. He hopes to squeeze from Obama billions more of US taxpayers’ hard-earnt dollars in “aid” so that he can buy yet more weapons to use against the Palestinians.
How is Netanyahu preparing for this important visit? He has appointed a new head of public diplomacy, Ran Baratz.
And how will Baratz help Netanyahu repair relations with Obama? It seems he won’t. Last March, as Netanyahu went behind Obama’s back to try to stymie the Iran deal in Congress, Baratz posted his views of Obama on Facebook. He called the US president an “anti-semite” for criticising Netanyahu’s behaviour.
Here’s what he wrote:
Obama’s reference to Netanyahu’s speech – this is what modern anti-Semitism looks like in Western and liberal countries. And it comes, of course, alongside much tolerance and understanding toward Islamic anti-Semitism.
By the way, to give you a flavour of quite how unhinged Netanyahu has become in appointing someone like Baratz as his new spokesman, Baratz has also argued that the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem should be replaced by a third Jewish temple and Muslims denied the right to pray at the site unless they recognise its holiness to Jews. Almost as crazy as accusing the Palestinians of persuading Hitler to carry out the Holocaust.
Will this cause Netanyahu any harm in Washington or prompt Obama to refuse to subsidise Israel’s belligerent and illegal occupation? Don’t hold your breath. It seems there is no insult Obama and the US political elites won’t swallow when it comes from their “ally” Israel.