WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Orrin Hatch sent a letter to President Obama Friday condemning the comments made by senior administration officials regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and calling for the dismissal of those responsible.
According to an article in “The Atlantic” titled “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here,” Obama administration officials described Netanyahu as “recalcitrant,” “myopic,” “reactionary,” “obtuse,” “blustering,” “pompous,” and “Aspergery.” The article also recounts a senior official referring to Netanyahu as a “chickens***” and a “coward.”
“These comments are flagrantly offensive and wholly inaccurate,” Hatch wrote. “Throughout his life and tenure in office, Prime Minister Netanyahu has conducted himself with honor, dignity, and the highest distinction. He has proven himself both a capable defender of the State of Israel and a willing partner for peace, as well as a true and loyal friend of the United States.”
Hatch noted the comments are deeply harmful to the U.S.’s vitally important relationship with Israel and called Israel America’s most reliable partner and friend in the Middle East.
He also called on the president to identify and fire those senior members of his administration that had made such remarks.
Hatch’s full letter to the president
Dear Mr. President,
I write to you today out of concern arising from comments made by members of your Administration that appeared in Jeffrey Goldberg’s October 28, 2014 article in ‘The Atlantic’ entitled, ‘The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here.’ The article quotes ‘Obama administration officials’ describing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as ‘recalcitrant,’ ‘myopic,’ ‘reactionary,’ ‘obtuse,’ ‘blustering,’ ‘pompous,’ and ‘Aspergery.’ The last term, employed as a pejorative, presumably refers to Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder affecting an estimated 600,000 Americans. The article also recounts a senior official referring to Prime Minister Netanyahu as a ‘chickens***’ and a ‘coward.’
These comments are flagrantly offensive and wholly inaccurate. Throughout his life and tenure in office, Prime Minister Netanyahu has conducted himself with honor, dignity, and the highest distinction. He has proven himself both a capable defender of the State of Israel and a willing partner for peace, as well as a true and loyal friend of the United States.
Beyond their offensiveness and inaccuracy, these comments are deeply harmful to our vitally important relationship with Israel and its duly elected leader. As a nation, the United States has long shared a unique bond with Israel that each of your predecessors since President Truman has sought to preserve and strengthen. The American people expect you to follow in this important tradition of friendship with Israel—a critical legacy that has been endangered by these despicable remarks.
I applaud Secretary of State Kerry for condemning these remarks for what they are: unacceptable. On behalf of my fellow Americans, I ask that you order a complete and thorough investigation to determine the identity of these senior members of your administration and, once identified, terminate these officials’ service. No less than immediate dismissal can demonstrate that such remarks do not in any way represent the policy or attitude of your administration or of the United States government. At this time of enormous challenges in the Middle East, we cannot afford any attenuation in America’s relationship with our most reliable partner and friend in the region.
Thank you for your prompt consideration. I look forward to the speedy resolution of this matter.
Orrin G. Hatch United States Senator
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