'Don't count on Jewish Obama voters'

Netanyahu's brother says US must stay out of J'lem issue; PM disagrees.

March 17, 2010 11:16
3 minute read.
US President Barack Obama.

Obama serious 311. (photo credit: AP)

Dr. Hagi Ben-Artzi, the outspoken brother-in-law of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, accused US President Barack Obama on Wednesday of harboring anti-Semitism and the American Jews who voted for him of not being pro-Israel.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Ben-Artzi said it was no coincidence that the 78 percent of American Jews who voted for Obama was roughly the same percentage of Jews in the US who do not give their children a Jewish education.

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"It's sad for me to say that those 78% of American Jews who voted for Obama are disconnected from their heritage and from Israel," Ben-Artzi said. "They are indifferent to Israel and they want to be more American than American. Israel can't count on those Jews being pro-Israel."

Ben-Artzi, who like his brother-in-law has a close relationship with American Evangelical Christians, said he felt more comfortable with them than with most American Jewish groups.

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"We must face the reality that not only is the American government not with us but so are most of the Jews in America," Ben-Artzi said. "We can face this challenge because God is with us, and God gave us the Christian evangelists who we can really rely on to make up for the American Jews who are not friends of Israel. I think Bibi agrees with me on this."

Netanyahu's spokesman said a statement distancing Netanyahu from his brother-in-law that was released by the Prime Minister's Office after Ben-Artzi called Obama anti-Semitic on Army Radio Wednesday morning also applied to his comments to the Post about American Jews and Christians.

"I completely disagree with the statements of Hagi Ben-Artzi," Netanyahu said. "I have deep respect for the president's commitment to Israel's security."

Netanyahu's spokesman Nir Hefetz added: ?This isn?t the first time the prime minister totally disagrees with the remarks of Mr. Ben-Artzim which are often directed to Netanyhu himself."

In the past, Ben-Artzi has publicly called Netanyahu "a weak man and a puny politician," accused him of betraying his ideology and doing more damage to Israel than the Left, and called upon him to quit rather than agree to the release of terrorists in exchange for captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

In Wednesday's Army Radio interview, Ben-Artzi said his brother-in-law was well aware that Obama had anti-Semitic views.

"Unfortunately, there is an anti-Semitic president in America," he said. "As a politician who ran for president, he had to hide it, but from time to time, it bursts out from inside. It's creating a difficult situation for Israel, but we won?t even consider giving up on our deep interests."

Ben-Artzi went on to say that it wasn't that Obama wasn't a friend of Netanyahu, he just wasn't a friend of Israel.

"For 20 years he sat with the preacher Jeremiah Wright, who is anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli," he said. "When an anti-Semitic president comes to power in America, it is our test, and we must say: 'We will not give up. We are a 4,000-year-old people, while you will pass on and disappear in one or two years. Who will remember you?"

He called on Netanyahu to continue to follow the path of the seven prime ministers elected since the Six Day War.

"The moment the Americans tried to get involved with something connected to Jerusalem, we told them one simple word: No!," he said. "Jerusalem is the capital of the Israeli nation and the state of Israel, it's complete and united. We will not give up on even one millimeter, and if you want make a crisis over that ? then make a crisis."

Ben-Artzi said he had spoken to Netanyahu on Tuesday regarding the prime minister?s son?s victory in the National Bible Quiz for Youth, which he said was particularly symbolic.

"I told him, 'Look how symbolic it is that your son participates and wins the Bible quiz, the subject of which was Jerusalem and its connection to the Israeli people, when you, the father, are facing such a stern test and are required to prove the strength of this connection,'" he said.

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