Thursday, March 18, 2010

Netanyahu's brother-in-law: Obama is an anti-Semite

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's brother-in-law Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi on Wednesday called U.S. President Barack Obama an anti-Semite in an interview with Army Radio.

"It's not that Obama doesn't like Bibi," he referring to Netanyahu using his nickname. "He doesn't like the nation of Israel."

Netanyahu was quick to distance himself from Ben-Artzi's remarks, saying he completely disagrees with his brother-in-law.

Netanyahu said he has a deep appreciation for President Obama's commitment to Israel's security, which he has expressed many times, and also for the deep ties between the two countries.

Ben-Artzi was interviewed on Army Radio to provide background on the prime minister. He told the interview, "Look how symbolic it is that your son took part in and won a Bible quiz, whose theme this year is Jerusalem and its connection to Israel, and you, his father, are being tested and asked to prove the strength of the nation of Israel's ties to Jerusalem."

He went on to say that Obama's anti-Semitism stems from years of indoctrination by controversial preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom Obama distanced himself from during the election campaign.

"When there is an anti-Semitic president in the United States, it is a test for us and we have to say: We will not concede. We are a nation dating back 4,000 years, and you in a year or two will be long forgotten. Who will remember you? But Jerusalem will dwell on forever."

Ben-Artzi added that Netanyahu is aware of his views, but declined to say what the two discuss in private conversations.

On Tuesday a group of far-right activists announced their plan to hang hundreds of posters across the country depicting Obama under the headline "agent of the PLO." The banner is already on display in the office of National Union MK Michael Ben Ari.

Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last year stirred tension in Israel and the U.S. regarding the president's new policy towards the Middle East, and created the impression that he was biased towards Arab countries, as he began with the Arab saying "salaam alaykum."