Much was said recently of the armchair psychology employed by MK and former Israeli ambassador to Washington Michael Oren in his analysis of the motivations of US President Barack Obama.
However, amateur psychoanalysis of leaders’ daddy issues — Oren hypothesized in his book that Obama’s empathy towards the Muslim world may have been informed by his rejection by two Muslim father figures — appears to be a two-way street where Israel and the US are concerned.
In a newly declassified 2010 email from former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s private account, a confidant of the secretary postulates that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is motivated in his actions by a desperate attempt to live up to his father’s expectations — an analysis Clinton appears to agree with.
The email was sent by close adviser Sidney Blumenthal immediately after the May 2010 Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Turkish ship Mavi Maramara, in which nine activists were killed. In it, Blumenthal, whose relationship with Clinton was informal, offers several observations on Israel’s actions.
He calls the operation “Bibi’s Entebbe in reverse.” Noting that Netanyahu’s brother Yoni was “heroically killed” in the 1976 hostage rescue mission, he says the brothers’ father Benzion “adored” Yoni, while the younger Benjamin has always lived in his brother’s shadow.
“Bibi desperately seeks his father’s approbation and can never equal his dead brother…(he) has never measured up,” Blumenthal proposes.
Benzion, a hardline rightist, “has constantly criticized (his son) in public for his deviations from the doctrine of Greater Israel,” he explains.
“The raid on the ship to Gaza resembles the raid on Entebbe,” Blumenthal adds, “except that there are no hostages, no guns (on the Turkish ship), it’s not in Africa, and it’s a fiasco; otherwise, it’s Entebbe.”
Turning his attention to another Israeli leader, he adds that then-defense minister Ehud Barak may be seeking to relive “his youth as a raider killing Palestinians in Lebanon.”
Blumenthal notes that the raid will likely be “the death of the peace
process, such as it is, on the very eve of Bibi’s scheduled visit to Obama.” This, he says, “would have been, under any circumstance, in light of the raid, profoundly humiliating for the president. Or are the Israelis bone stupid? I don’t think so.”
Clinton, for her part, forwards Blumenthal’s email to adviser Jake Sullivan with the note: “fyi, and itys,” internet slang for “For Your Information, and I Told You So.”
Blumenthal, a former journalist, is a controversial figure within Clinton’s inner circle known for his provocative positions and blunt language.
His journalist son, Max, is a self-described anti-Zionist who has extensively criticized Israel’s policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians both in statements and in his writings. Many of Blumenthal’s emails, which feature prominently in the trove released Tuesday, include him imploring Clinton to read his son’s work.
Nine Turks and one Turkish-American were killed and several other pro-Palestinian activists were wounded when Israeli commandos intercepted the ship on May 31, 2010, as it attempted to bust Israel’s naval blockade on the Hamas-ruled Strip.
The Israel Defense Forces said its soldiers acted in self-defense after they were attacked with lethal weapons. Several soldiers were seriously wounded in the clash.