U.S. Official Calls Netanyahu a 'Chickenshit Prime Minister'

Obama administration official cited by Jeffrey Goldberg saying that Netanyahu frustrates the White House and State Department most.

Obama and Netanyahu during their meeting at the White House, September 30, 2013.
Bloomberg

As the ongoing crisis in U.S.-relations continues, a report by The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg cites a senior U.S. official as saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “a chickenshit prime minister,” who only cares about his political survival. 

“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” he was cited as saying. According to Goldberg, the Obama administration official said that Netanyahu frustrates the White House and the U.S. State Department the most. 

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said. “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.”

Another senior U.S. official told Goldberg that unlike the situation from 2010 to 2012, the White House no longer believes that Netanyahu will launch a preemptive strike on Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“It’s too late for him to do anything,” the official said. “Two, three years ago, this 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.”

According to the second official, “The feeling now is that Bibi’s bluffing,” adding that “he’s not Begin at Osirak” — referring to Israel’s strike on an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.

According to Goldberg, after the midterm Congressional elections on November 4 and ahead of the Palestinian move toward statehood at the United Nations, the Obama administration will no longer shield Israel at international organizations.

Goldberg added that even if Washington vetoes the resolution the Palestinians will try to advance, it will craft an alternative resolution about the settlements and bring it to a vote. Israel would remain completely isolated internationally.

Another possibility is for the Obama administration to present a detailed position on the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including maps with borders of the future Palestinian state, Goldberg said.