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
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.