Israel: ‘Ben Rhodes is an Expert at Fiction’Posted: December 27, 2016
Patrick Goodenough reports: Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. on Monday contemptuously dismissed White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes’ denials that the Obama administration played a key behind-the-scenes role in getting a resolution condemning Israel through the U.N. Security Council, describing him as an “expert at fiction.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government says it has “iron-clad” information indicating that the Obama administration had a role in the crafting and passage of the resolution that passed Friday in the absence of a U.S. veto.
Ambassador Ron Dermer told MSNBC the Israeli government had proof that it would share that evidence with the incoming Trump administration – which “can decide whether they want to share that with the American people.”
“We’re obviously not going to share it with this [Obama] administration because this administration is behind it,” he charged.
Asked about Rhodes’ denial of an administration role, Dermer replied, “Ben Rhodes is an expert of fiction
“Let’s just wait until all the evidence is presented to the new administration and they will decide,” he said.
And then you can invite me back on your show and you can see whether I’m telling you the truth,” he added. “When the prime minister of Israel makes such an allegation, that is backed up by 100 percent evidence. You can take that to the bank.”
(Dermer’s barb directed at Rhodes may allude both to his educational background – he has a master’s degree in fiction writing from New York University – and to last summer’s controversy surrounding his reported boasting at having “created an echo chamber” of experts and journalists to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the U.S. people and lawmakers.)
Dermer said criticism of the incoming administration taking a stance on the matter was a distraction; the real issue was an outgoing administration shifting policy towards Israel so fundamentally in its waning days, a step he called “an attempt to handcuff” the Trump administration.
Resolution 2334 states that areas of land disputed between Israel and the Palestinians – including the holiest site in Judaism – is “Palestinian territory” and declares Israeli presence there to be “a flagrant violation under international law.”
The administration’s decision to abstain rather than veto the measure has drawn strong criticism from U.S. lawmakers from both parties. It was welcomed by Palestinian factions, including U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations, the bloc of Islamic states, and supporters of Palestinian statehood around the world.
Administration officials have denied having a role in the lead-up to the vote, saying President Obama only made the final decision to abstain once the administration knew what the wording was on Friday – and because that wording reflected its position on Israeli settlements in areas claimed by the Palestinians….(read more)