Israeli Right-Wing to Rahm: Don’t Forget You’re Jewish

by Brien Jackson

I wrote last week about a report that Rahm Emaneul had essentially laid down the law, noting in the process that it’s not necessarily easy to trust foreign reports on American politics. Well one person who seems to have believed the report is Ya’acov Katz, leader of the extreme right-wing National Union party in Israel, and he had some, um, words for Rahm:

National Union chairman Ya’acov “Ketzele” Katz sent a letter to White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel last week admonishing him not to forget his Jewish and Israeli origins.

 Katz’s missive came in response to a reported verbal exchange between Emanuel and an unidentified American Jewish leader.

Katz claims that in a private meeting with the unnamed leader, Emanuel said, “In the next four years, there will be a peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it does not matter to us who is the prime minister.”

In the letter, a Hebrew version of which was provided to The Jerusalem Post by Katz’s parliamentary aide, Katz wrote: “For many Israelis, this report is a cause for worry because it reveals a condescending attitude toward our prime minister and Israeli public opinion. This is an attitude that Israel does not expect from a real friend such as the US, and all the more so from an Israeli Jew who has succeeded in being appointed White House chief-of-staff.”

Katz went on to compare Emanuel to the biblical Esther, who ended up at using her influence with Persian King Ahashverosh to intervene on behalf of the Jews of the Persian Empire.

Now, this should probably be taken with a grain of salt. National Union as an extremely right-wing party, so much so that Netanyahu and Likud went out of their way to keep them out of the governing coalition. Still, they’re not that far away from Likud’s basic ideological precepts, so it’s telling to note that the Israeli right-wing regards the responsibility of Jewish public officials in other countries, or at least the United States, to be protecting the interests of Israel, as opposed to those of the country they’re an official in.

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