Reprinted from Antiwar.com
Israel, Israel, Israel, Israel -- can we ever escape the endless kvetching of its partisans? In the media, in both houses of Congress, on the campuses and in the streets, Israel's fifth column in America is everywhere, making its presence felt. From Chuck Hagel's confirmation battle to the public relations campaign accompanying their latest Gaza massacre, the Jewish state's on-the-ground army of American flacks, publicists, and fanatic rank-and-filers mobilizes the moment someone looks cross-eyed at Bibi Netanyahu -- and the Chickenshit scandal has them screaming to high heaven.
The scandal was created, unsurprisingly, by Israel's semi-official flack-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, a former Israeli prison guard turned journalist, whose pronouncements carry the authority of someone with impeccable connections in both Tel Aviv and Washington. Writing in The Atlantic, he reports:
"The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. 'The thing about Bibi is, he's a chickenshit' this official said."
Goldberg has a carefully cultivated image as a moderate-to-liberal Obama sympathizer, and he goes into his familiar riff about how the rapidly fraying US-Israeli relationship is largely a function of Bibi's truculence. Yet it's clear Goldberg -- who surely knew what the response to his reporting would be, even inside the President's own party -- is appalled by this display of candor:
"'The good thing about Netanyahu is that he's scared to launch wars,' the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. '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 Lebanese and Gazans might quibble with the notion that Bibi's "scared to launch wars," but then again those weren't wars, they were massacres. And why should Bibi fight anyone who can possibly fight back when he has the United States to do his dirty work for him?