Israel Blames Emanuel for Mideast Policy

Push against settlements seen as betrayal by 'native son'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2009 2:03 PM CDT
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel looks on as President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the Oval Office, May 18, 2009,   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Israelis are none too pleased with the pressure the Obama administration is putting on them to halt the expansion of their West Bank settlements, but it’s not Obama they’re mad at; it’s Rahm Emanuel. The chief of staff has extensive personal ties to the country—“Israel” is literally his middle name—and many assumed he’d protect its interests. Now they feel betrayed by a native son, Politico reports.

Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly characterized both Emanuel and David Axelrod as “self-hating Jews.” The left-leaning Haaretz paper, meanwhile, ran a cartoon depicting Emanuel as a whip-wielding lion tamer, directing the US, a cowardly lion, to bite Netanyahu. “In Israel they jump down his throat,” says Emanuel’s father. “My children are Zionists, they came to Israel every year, and I don't know why they're attacking Rahm.”