Netanyahu, Barak Feud Over US

Defense minister using Netanyahu's prickly relations with Obama against him
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2012 10:45 AM CDT
Benjamin Netanyahu, second right, and Ehud Barak, second left, listen to Gen. Tal Russo, commander of the IDF Southern Comman, center, Aug. 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
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(Newser) – Mitt Romney isn't the only one making political hay out of the rift between Barack Obama and Israel. People loyal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say his defense minister—and longtime political rival—Ehud Barak intentionally exacerbated that rift during their recent trip to New York to make Netanyahu look bad, the New York Times reports. Until now, Barak and Netanyahu have presented a united front on all things Iran, but that's all changed now that Netanyahu is threatening to hold early elections.

Barak "wants to separate himself from Netanyahu," one analyst says. "What is his claim to fame? That he has good relations with Washington." Netanyahu hasn't been able to say the same lately, and Barak's supporters say the prime minister is trying to shift the blame for that. "Barak was trying to calm the waters while Netanyahu was making statements that raised the temperature," says one political scientist, saying that Barak is fostering an image as "the responsible adult." (Read more Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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