Thursday, March 18, 2010

Netanyahu camp (predictably) plays (tired) anti-Semitism card against Obama; Bibi plays coy

Benjamin Netanyahu's brother-in-law calls Barack Obama anti-Semitic
(Telegraph) --

The rhetoric highlighted a week-long spat Israel touched off with the Obama administration when it announced during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden that it planned to build 1,600 more homes for Jews near East Jerusalem, angering Palestinians.

During what is seen as one of the most tense periods in US-Israeli ties, Mr Netanyahu had to distance himself from comments by his brother-in-law, an ultranationalist, who called the president an anti-Semite in a radio interview.

"I have a deep appreciation for President Obama's commitment to Israel's security, which he has expressed many times," Mr Netanyahu said in a statement, and also disavowed himself from all comments made by Hagai Ben-Artzi, his wife's brother.

Despite the rebuke, Ben-Artzi repeated the insult in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 television, telling a reporter who asked if he really thought the US leader was an anti-Semite: "I have thought this for a long time."

"I had no doubt someone who could sit 20 years with an anti-Semitic minister, who preaches the destruction of Israel, had absorbed something," Ben-Artzi said of Reverend Jeremiah Wright once a mentor of Obama's, who Obama has since denounced.

"I had expected an outburst (from Obama) and here it was," Ben-Artzi said of Washington's objections to Israel's plans for new housing in territory it captured in a 1967 war and annexed...MORE...LINK

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