It seems that American officials engage in their own armchair psychology when it comes to their Israeli counterparts, as newly declassified government emails reveal.
In a 2010 email from the private account of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, a Clinton confidant suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is desperate to live up to the expectations of his father, an assessment which Clinton seemed to agree with.
The email was sent by Sidney Blumenthal, a chief advisor to Clinton, following the May 2010 Mavi Maramara flotilla incident, in which several IDF soldiers were injured and 10 activists killed. In his observations to Clinton, Blumenthal calls the Israeli operation to stop the ship “Bibi’s Entebbe in reverse.”
He says that Netanyahu’s brother Yoni, who was “heroically killed” in the 1976 Entebbe operation, was “adored” by their father Benzion. Since Yoni’s death, younger brother Benjamin has lived his life in the shadow of his older brother.
“Bibi desperately seeks his father’s approbation and can never equal his dead brother…(he) has never measured up,” Blumenthal wrote.
“The raid on the ship to Gaza resembles the raid on Entebbe,” he continues, “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.”
Blumenthal added 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.” With the peace process no more, this, Blumenthal says, “would have been, under any circumstance, in light of the raid, profoundly humiliating for the president. Or at the Israelis bone stupid? I don’t think so.”
Clinton forwarded Blumenthal’s email to adviser Jake Sullivan one minute later with the message: “fyi, and itys,” which is an acronym for “For you information, and I told you so.”
Other declassified Blumenthal emails to Clinton regarding the flotilla incident calls for “tough love” on Israel and the forwarding of an article characterizing Israel as a “strategic liability.”