Is Chickens**t Chopped Liver?
Amir Tibon and Tal Shalev, two renowned Israeli diplomatic journalists, just published a spectacular summary of the rocky marriage between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The story, dating back to 2007 when the two first met in a janitor’s office at Reagan National Airport, was published on the Huffington Post just a day after Netanyahu left DC – a trip described by all accounts cordial and productive.
The detailed write up provides a broader context and sequence of the U.S. – Israel relationship we’ve all been witnessing over the past seven years. Beginning with the first Oval Office meeting to Biden’s visit in 2010, all the way through the 2012 presidential election and the Prime Minister’s controversial speech to Congress in March, the authors highlight the never-ending struggle of surprises, lack of trust, and major policy disagreements.
If the Huffington Post piece is about Obama and Bibi’s ‘marriage’ then, in many ways, Jeffrey Goldberg has been the ‘therapist.’ One only needs to glance at The Atlantic National Correspondent’s archives over the past seven years to see why. It therefore seems quite puzzling that the story omits mention of Goldberg’s coverage, detailed interviews with both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, and, of course, the infamous chickens**t epithet.
On October 28, 2014, Goldberg broke the story based on a conversation he had with an Obama administration official. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickens**t,” this official was quoted as saying during a conversation about the frustration in the administration over the policies of the Netanyahu government.
“The reason these anecdotes were not mentioned in the story was because we wanted to focus on new materials. We didn’t mention chickens**t just like we didn’t mention the comments by Ran Baratz, the man Netanyhau wanted to appoint as his new official spokesperson, against Obama and Kerry – because both of these things have been extensively covered already,” Tibon and Shalev told Jewish Insider.
UPDATE: Shalev told Huff Post Live this afternoon that “Both sides have had their fare share of misdoings with respect to handling the relationship in the media. I think the most notable story about President Obama and the White House was when the White House leaked the ‘chickens**t’ comments to Jeffrey Goldberg which we didn’t mention in our piece but that was a very substantive and dramatic event.”