Jewish Groups Blast Ya'alon’s 'Absurd and Over the Top' Attack on Obama Administration

Israeli defense minister 'clearly crossed a line' with remarks on U.S's foreign policy, says director of National Jewish Democratic Council.

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Two moderate American Jewish groups have spoken out against what they describe as Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon’s “absurd” attack on the Obama Administration.

In the harsher of the two, Rabbi Jack Moline of The National Jewish Democratic Council, the main Jewish group affiliated with the Democratic Party, said that “Ya'alon has clearly crossed a line with these absurd and over-the-top attacks against Israel’s strongest ally. His remarks are simply inappropriate for someone of Ya'alon’s stature, and we condemn these counterproductive and damaging statements.”

“We at the NJDC have consistently applauded the Obama administration for supporting and strengthening the iron-clad relationship between Israel and the United States, and we reject any intimation that there is a lack of support from the United States or President Obama. Despite his tepid apology, we expect better from Ya'alon in the future.”

The Jewish group's statements came in response to harsh criticism leveled by Ya'alon at the Obama administration in an address at Tel Aviv University, reported in Haaretz on Tuesday. Ya'alon said the United States “shows weakness” in various arenas around the world – including Ukraine – and that its allies in the Middle East are disappointed. Ya'alon said that because it is “sitting at home," America is opening itself up to terror attacks “and the United States will suffer.”

The The Israeli Policy Forum, a pro-peace group with close ties to the Obama Administration, said in a statement that it “condemns recent statements by Ya'alon that insulted the Obama administration and harshly criticized American foreign policy in the Middle East and around the world.”

“We believe that Ya'alon’s criticisms of President Obama’s diplomatic efforts with Iran were unwarranted and unconstructive. His statements demonstrate a pattern of behavior which is not appropriate for the proper conduct of Israel’s diplomacy.”

“Ya'alon is compromising American-Israeli relations at a time when the United States is convening a process in which his government is a key participant,” said Israel Policy Forum chairman Peter Joseph. “Instead, his obstructionist outbursts simply support a view that Israel is not negotiating in good faith and better serves its critics and those opposed to a lasting peace.”

Ya'alon's statements sparked anger throughout official Washington, including the State Department and the White House. Following a telephone call between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a personal talk with the prime minister, Ya'alon apologized to his American counterpart Chuck Hagel.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.Credit: Ariel Harmoni / Ministry of Defense

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