Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out on Thursday night that he would review Ran Baratz’s appointment as his latest media chief in the wake of his comments about Obama being a“modern anti-Semitic” and that secretary John Kerry had the mind frame of a teenager.
“I did not say that I would reconsider the appointment of Dr. Ran Baratz, but rather I said that I would attend to the matter when I returned to Israel,” Netanyahu wrote in the Hebrew language twitter account of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Netanyahu stated that he had no knowledge regarding Baratz’s comments before announcing his appointment as his new head of public diplomacy and media.
“Those posts are totally unacceptable and in no way reflect my positions or the policies of the government of Israel,” the prime minister said.
Baratz a 42-year, residing in Kfar Adumim settlement in the West Bank, has a doctorate in philosophy from the Hebrew University. He has also served in the Israel Air Force intelligence and has a background in hi-tech. He was very well known for his pointed commentary on Israeli politicians, diplomats, and current events both on his Facebook page and in the column he writes for the online Hebrew-language journal MIDA, which he founded.
Netanyahu pointed out that he had come across Mr. Baratz’s online postings belatedly and released a statement saying they were “totally unacceptable and in no way reflect my positions or the policies of the government of Israel.”
Baratz, wrote regarding Obama’s reaction to Netanyahu’s March speech to the U.S. Congress that “this is what modern anti-Semitism looks like in Western liberal countries. And of course, it comes with a lot of tolerance and understanding toward Islamic anti-Semitism. So much tolerance and understanding, until they are even willing to give them nukes.”
In October 2014, he also wrote regarding a speech in which Kerry correlated Israel with the Islamic State that “after his term as secretary of state he is certain to have a flourishing career in one of the stand-up comedy clubs in Kansas City, Mosul, or the Holot detention facility.” He reportedly said Kerry had “the mental age of a 12-year-old.”
The US government, according to State Department spokesman John Kirby has found the comments “troubling and offensive.”His comments about US officials, including the president and Secretary Kerry, we believe were troubling and offensive,” Kirby said. “We obviously expect government officials from any country, especially our closest allies, to speak respectfully and truthfully about senior US government officials.”
This disconcerting incident emerged at an unpromising time for Mr. Netanyahu, who is scheduled to meet with Mr. Obama on Monday for the first time in more than a year. He is expected to ask for an arms package from the United States worth tens of billions of dollars. The meeting is intended to reset their rocky relationship after it plunged to new depths.
Baratz has since apologized “for the hurtful remarks,” saying that “these postings were written hastily and sometimes humorously, in a manner appropriate for a private person writing on the Internet. It is clear to me that in a government position one must act and express oneself differently.”