Netanyahu`s brother-in-law calls Obama anti-Semite?
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 17, 2010, 21:51
Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's brother-in-law Hagai Ben-Artzi has termed US President Barack Obama as an "anti-Semite", a remark which could further strain the relationship between the two nations.

"It's not that Obama doesn't like Bibi," Ben-Artzi said, using Netanyahu's nickname, and added: "He doesn't like the nation of Israel".

"When there is an anti-Semitic (anti Jews) President in the US, it is a test for us and we have to say: We will not concede. We are a nation dating back to 4,000 years, and you in a year or two will be long forgotten. Who will remember you? But Jerusalem will dwell on forever," he said in an interview to Army Radio.

The Prime Minister's brother-in-law also claimed that Obama's anti-Semitism stems from years of indoctrination by controversial preacher Rev Jeremiah Wright, from whom he distanced himself?during the election campaign.

His remarks came at a time when Israel-US ties seem to have hit rock bottom and efforts are being made to bring it back on track.

The 'crisis' in ties began after Israel announced new settlements in occupied East Jerusalem at a time US Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country. The Israeli announcement was condemned by world leaders and the US termed it as an "insult" to its leader.

However, Netanyahu was quick to distance himself from Ben-Artzi's remarks, saying he completely disagrees with him.

The Israeli Prime Minister in his response said he has a deep appreciation for Obama's commitment to Israel's security, which he has expressed many times, and also for the deep ties between the two countries.

The hawkish Israeli leader's close relative told the Radio?that Netanyahu is aware of his views, but declined to say what the two discuss in private conversations.

A group of far-right activists yesterday announced their plan to hang hundreds of posters across the country depicting Obama under the headline "agent of the PLO" (Palestine Liberation Organisation).

The banner is already on display in the office of right-wing National Union party's lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari.

Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last year stirred tension in Israel and the?US regarding the President's new policy towards the Middle East, and created the impression that he was biased towards Arab countries.

Netanyahu's coalition government is overwhelmingly dependent on its right-wing?partners and it is felt that any concession on Jerusalem would lead to its collapse.


First Published: Wednesday, March 17, 2010, 21:51

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