The Obama Administration on Sunday continued acting in a way that Israeli experts likened to a childish tantrum by taking personal offense at and demanding an apology for remarks made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.
Speaking at a closed-door event at Tel Aviv University last Monday, Yaalon said Israel could not rely on a “weak” United States to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.
The defense minister said the Obama Administration’s blunders in handling the Syria and Ukraine crises, as well as being clearly outclassed in nuclear negotiations by a wily Iranian regime, had severely diminished America’s image on the international stage.
The outcry from Washington was immediate and exaggerated.
US Secretary of State John Kerry personally phoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bellyache over his defense minister’s transgression. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki (pictured) later told reporters she was “confused” by what the White House is pretending is Yaalon’s earth-shattering position and his impertinence for stating it publicly.
Last Thursday, Yaalon phoned US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to clarify that he intended “no harm to the United States or our relationship with it.” But for Psaki, that wasn’t nearly good enough.
When asked on Friday about the status of this enormously dire situation, Psaki said that the Obama Administration had “clearly expressed our displeasure at [Yaalon’s] offensive comments and an apology would be a natural next step.”
A source in Israel’s Ministry of Defense told the Ynet news portal that Yaalon loves America and fully appreciates Israel’s relationship with it, but will never shy away from speaking his mind. The source charged that the Obama Administration is “out to get” Yaalon because it doesn’t like having to deal with Israeli officials who stand their ground.
Another Israeli political expert told The Times of Israel that Washington’s reaction to Yaalon’s remarks was nothing short of “childish.” He said the Obama Administration is already fully aware that Yaalon is a man who “doesn’t mince words,” and more often than not is saying exactly what most other Israelis, including Netanyahu, are thinking.