Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has written an autobiography titled Bibi: My Story. The Jerusalem Post highlights Netanyahu’s tense relationship with Barack Obama:
In their first meeting in the White House in 2009, US President Barack Obama threatened Netanyahu, the latter alleged.
“You know, people often read me wrong, but I come from Chicago,” Obama said as the meeting was about to end. “I know how to deal with tough rivals.”
Then Netanyahu said that Obama did something else “that deeply shocked me because it was so opposed to his restrained character. The message was clear and it was meant to strike fear in me.”
Netanyahu doesn’t say what Obama did, but a recently published biography of the former Prime Minister has this account:
[I]n a recently published biography of the prime minister called Cracking the Netanyahu Code, journalist Mazal Mualem said that Obama gestured as though he was slitting someone’s throat while saying he knows how to deal with Netanyahu.
I take that with a grain of salt. More, again from Netanyahu’s autobiography:
After Obama became president, Netanyahu wrote that he felt the tension between them was beyond the usual pressure from US presidents over the Palestinian issue, but was rather “something much deeper, ideologically and personally.”
Netanyahu also expressed frustration at being unable to swing the Obama administration to his side when it came to stopping the Iranian nuclear program.
Former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel “tied America’s ability to stop Iran’s advancements in the nuclear area to our advances on the Palestinian track,” the former prime minister lamented. “The equation he made was clear as day: the US had no possibility to advance in stopping Iran without getting something in return for the Palestinians.”
The linked Post article talks at length about Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, which the Obama administration bitterly opposed.
The autobiography apparently goes easy on Joe Biden, whom Netanyahu portrays as something of an ally in the generally hostile Obama administration. The Post comments:
Netanyahu, who hopes to return to the Prime Minister’s Office after the November 1 election, was very careful not to criticize US President Joe Biden, and portrayed him as a friend of Israel.
Compared with Barack Obama, that might be true.