Benjamin NetanyahuChicken label

Someone who is not brave or willing to take risks?

By now most everybody knows that an anonymous senior Obama administration official called Netanyahu chickensh*t†. Another unnamed official agreed.

Bloggers rejoiced. Never had they had a more appropriate occasion to inject toilet humour into political analysis. What did these high-ranking pen pushers mean and what are the implications of the word? When are you going to spill the beans Jeffrey Goldberg and name them? 
(War)Horse sh*t

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,”
“he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat”
“It’s too late for him to do anything,” the official said. “Two, three years ago, this (sic. Israel independently launching an attack on Iran) was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

Have I heard correctly? Netanyahu is a coward for not resisting American pressure not to go to war against Iran or even stage an Osirak style raid? Is Mr. Anonymous saying at the same time as Obama was playing footsie with the mullahs the United States administration really wanted Israel to lead from the front?  Did anyone suspect that from the Nobel Peace Prize winner?

The first source didn’t actually say Iran. If not Iran, Gaza is a reasonable interpretation. Where and when else? Was he saying that Netanyahu lacked the required guts because he delayed so long before clobbering Hamas and then withdrawing the IDF from Gaza with Hamas still in power? Many Israelis say exactly that but, as with Iran, American pressure probably played a large part in the decision-making. Talk about mixed messages.

Jerusalem emblemLion sh*t

“a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency”.
“lacks political courage”
“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.”
“near-pathological desire for career-preservation”

One thing is clear Mr. Anonymous is an appointed official working for a boss who can never again be reelected as President. Who else would be so cavalier about a politician not destroying his future?

So, if we are to understand correctly, cowardice is a politician unwilling to abandon his political base by taking steps which he doesn’t believe in at all. In the process he should ‘bravely’ have risked the lives of the citizens he has sworn to serve, who anyway massively disapprove of recognising a Palestinian State, at least under Abbas’ conditions. What part of the responsibilities of a democratically elected leader don’t they understand.

It is one thing to risk your political future for something you believe is right but to risk it for something you believe is wrong? That’s logic through the Looking Glass. When has Obama taken a similar risk?

Lincoln sh*t

Take a listen to Todd Brewster on HUFF POST LIVE talking about the The Forgotten ‘Cowardice’ Of Abraham Lincoln. The US President who led the United States in a successful war against the Confederacy and freed the slaves may well have been Netanyahu style chickensh*t.

There’s a disclaimer here. In my thirty plus years in Israel I have never voted Likud nor directly for Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu. Israel is a liberal democracy and I have plenty of other choices (some say too many). So it should be clear I am not comparing Netanyahu with Lincoln. However President Obama arguably has compared himself with Lincoln so the discussion of a warrior leader making difficult and sometimes conflicted choices and being accused of cowardice because of it, appears very pertinent.

5MFI’s own sh*t

My answer to my own questions.  Like so much other demonisation of Israel such as the labels of genocide, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, etc. one is not supposed to actually examine whether the charge is correct. Associating the state with something negative even if few actually understand it is enough.

So too with the chickensh*t smear of the Prime Minister.

This is really Netanyahu Derangement Syndrome‡ gone wild.

Extra credit

Five Minutes for Israel’s policy is to alter words that might cause the post or the website to be blocked by social media or nanny software, etc.
‡ A post on NDS – Netanyahu Derangement Syndrome is to follow.

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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