Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:17 pm Ehud Barak's unprecedented criticism of President Obama and shameful absence from Shimon Peres' funeral
Ehud Barak's unprecedented criticism of President Obama and shameful absence from Shimon Peres' funeral
By Lior Ben-Ami
October 6, 2016
Last month, the Washington Post printed an opinion piece by former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak.
According to Barak, the agreement for security aid which was signed between the US and Israel, the highest amount ever granted by the US to any country ever, was not enough. According to him, Israel should have gotten much more aid from the US.
In his piece, Barak blames Israeli PM Netanyahu for this, since he chose to speak in the Congress against the agreement with Iran in a public way, damaging the ties with the US; now, as a result, according to Ehud Barak, president Obama is getting revenge on Israel by damaging the aid provided to the US’s close ally.
Barak blames Netanyahu for interfering with internal US affairs and this is an irony. During President Obama's first presidential campaign against John McCain, back in 2008, Ehud Barak, then Israel's defense Minister, escorted Obama when he visited Israel. Interfering with the US elections is way worse than accepting an invitation from both parties.
July 2008: Then Presidential nominee Barack Obama, escorted by then Israeli
Defense Minister Ehud Barak (left), is presented with a t-shirt by Sderot mayor Eli Moyal
Barak blames Netanyahu for hurting the Israel-US relations, but what is at the base of these accusation? Netanyahu received an invitation to speak at the Congress from both parties. Could Netanyahu have refused such an invitation, despite thinking that the Iran nuclear issue was critical for Israel’s security?
Netanyahu is the only non-American living leader who was invited to speak before the US Congress for a third time, second only to Winston Churchill. Hurting relations? Netanyahu was accepted at the Congress with bipartisan support and praise, as the Prime Minister of Israel. Friends can have arguments, even public ones.
And now we come to the main point: what is Barak’s claim exactly?
That because Obama was insulted by Netanyahu, he decided to hurt the security of Israel and its citizens and reduce the amount of security aid provided?
Is that what Ehud Barak really thinks? That Obama, the President of the United States, is an overgrown child who acts on caprice and whim? That President Obama doesn't really care about the state of Israel and its citizens' safety and security? That the US doesn’t have interests and strategic thinking? That everything depends on what Netanyahu will say or do?
Barak, shockingly, chose to publish his harshest insult to President Obama in the Washington Post. And he is criticizing Netanyahu's behavior towards the POTUS?
* * *
And then came Shimon Peres' funeral.
Leaders from all corners of the world arrived in Jerusalem, Israel, to pay respect for Israel's former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, an outstanding leader, visionary, dreamer and man of peace.
From far away countries, such as Australia, China and India; Brazil, Argentina, Canada and, of course, the United States. These world leaders, including President Obama, had to cancel important meetings and appointments, clean their schedule and fly for dozens of hours.
At the same time, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who does not hold any official position today, didn't find the time to come to Peres' funeral.
Barak, who served with Shimon Peres in the Israeli Labour party for many years, who Peres appointed to be Israel's Foreign Minister after Rabin was assassinated, unfortunately chose not to pay any last respects to Shimon Peres.
Last month, billboards calling for Ehud Barak to run for office appeared in the streets of Tel Aviv. The text: "Barak, you must run! Netanyahu is ruining the country." It remains unclear who put up the signs.
According to recent polls, Barak is one of the least popular politicians in Israel, with support from only 2% of the Israeli public.
His decision not to come to Peres' funeral won't give him any points, to say the least, and is just another proof that he is not suitable for leadership today.