An anonymous U.S. official caused a dustup when he called the Israeli prime minister “chickenshit.” Others might have said worse

Adil E. Shamoo and Peter Certo
November 11, 2014
Antiwar.com

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Last month, an anonymous US official stirred a tempest in a teapot when he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a chickenshit” in comments to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. The insinuation was that while Netanyahu will happily rile up his right-wing base on issues related to Palestine or Iran, he lacks the political courage to take meaningful steps to resolve either conflict.

State Department officials scurried to disavow themselves of the remark. But the incident revealed an increasingly common conclusion in Washington: Netanyahu’s foot-dragging on Middle East peace is not only frustrating for the United States – it’s dangerous.

Once a taboo subject in Washington, the value of the U.S.-Israeli alliance has increasingly come under scrutiny among even leading members of the foreign policy establishment.

As Anthony Cordesman – a Mideast expert at the center-right Center for Strategic and International Studies – observed, “It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel, and that it become far more careful about the extent to which it test the limits of US patience and exploits the support of American Jews.”

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