Panetta, Clinton and Gutman — Israel tsuris for the Obama administration


There is a lot of anger all around in recent days over various remarks made by Obama administration officials.

The Anti-Defamation League is angry about Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s remarks at this year’s Saban Forum:

We are deeply troubled by the message sent by Secretary Panetta at precisely a moment when the region is so volatile and uncertain.  The Defense Secretary emphasized the shared U.S. and Israeli interest in deepened strategic cooperation and in countering the Iranian threat.  But he undermined the sense of assurance that this could have projected by using a prestigious public platform to focus disproportionate responsibility on Israel for the campaign of hostility against her.

Some Israeli Cabinet ministers are angry about Hillary Clinton’s reported remarks at the Saban Forum:


Several Israeli government ministers on Sunday sharply responded to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her critical comments on the status of women in Israel and Knesset bills that would restrict left-wing organizations.

Speaking to a closed forum in Washington on Saturday, Clinton criticized recent legislative attempts in Israel to restrict left-wing organizations and expressed shock over growing discrimination against Israeli women. She mentioned cases of IDF soldiers leaving during performances of female singers and the fact that females sit in the back of buses in certain places in Israel. Clinton said that some of these phenomena reminded her of Iran.

(The ADL, however, is angry about some of the same things that Clinton is angry about.)

And a bunch of folks are angry at the U.S. ambassador to Belgium over some remarks that he made regarding the link between Israel and anti-Semitism:

US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman on Sunday rejected claims that he “excused” certain types of anti-Semitism, arguing during a gathering in Brussels that comments he made Thursday were misunderstood.

Nonetheless, Jewish organizations felt the distinction the ambassador drew between traditional and new forms of anti-Semitism accepted bigotry against Jews that stemmed from the Israeli-Arab conflict.

“I strongly condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms,” said the Jewish diplomat, whose father was a Holocaust survivor, in a press release posted on the embassy’s website.

“I deeply regret if my comments were taken the wrong way. My own personal history and that of my family is testimony to the salience of this issue and my continued commitment to combating anti-Semitism.”

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