Yesterday’s reveal that anonymous Obama administration officials have called Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickenshit” and other impolite words has raised eyebrows at home and abroad. President Obama — who is much too diplomatic to use those terms himself, even if he was really thinking them — has endured a day full of jabs about his loose-lipped underlings.
Although Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg quoted a number of names — including “Aspergery” and “recalcitrant” — “chickenshit” has attracted the most attention, in part because of the difficulty of translating it into other languages. (The authoritative Urban Dictionary definition defines it as “Coward … Cowardly … Wimp … Wimpy.”)
Not that Bibi will admit to those charges. “Our supreme interests, chiefly the security and unity of Jerusalem, are not the main concern of those anonymous officials who attack us and me personally, as the assault on me comes only because I defend the State of Israel,” he said on Wednesday. “Despite all of the attacks I suffer, I will continue to defend our country. I will continue to defend the citizens of Israel.”
Of course others, like House speaker John Boehner, just used the opportunity to bash Obama a bit more. “Over the last several months, I have watched the administration insult ally after ally,” Boehner whined. “I am tired of the administration’s apology tour.”
“The president sets the tone for his administration. He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not. It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on,” he said.
To which White House press secretary Josh Earnest’s response was spot-on: “It’s a little rich to have a lecture about profanity from the Speaker of the House.”