Obama Feuds with 'Republican' Netanyahu

Former adviser to Bill Clinton tells Arutz Sheva about the ins and outs of relations between Israeli and American leaders.

Uzi Baruch, New York ,

Hank Sheinkopf
Hank Sheinkopf

Hank Sheinkopf, former adviser to former US President Bill Clinton during his election campaign from 1995 to 1996, spoke with Arutz Sheva about the complicated political relations between Israeli and American leaders.

Speaking about the tense relations between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, Sheinkopf remarked that while how the world feels about Netanyahu is not important to Israelis, it is very important to American Jews who directly deal with public perceptions of the Jewish state. 

As far as Netanyahu and Obama not getting along, he opined it "is no different than Clinton and Netanyahu not getting along," noting an "ideological inconsistency" behind the tensions.

"American presidents are used to dealing with Jews who are Democrats and liberals, and here (that) is not the case with Netanyahu," explained Sheinkopf, claiming Netanyahu is more along the lines of a Republican.

When asked about his apparent criticism of Obama, even though he and Clinton are both Democrats and Sheinkopf worked with Clinton, he explained "Clinton is a very different fellow" to Obama.

Clinton "admired us (Jews) and he had very strong feelings about us; that was a generation ago," said Sheinkopf.

While it is not necessarily the case that Obama doesn't admire Jews, he noted that the current president "has decided that he is going to reshape the world and America's foreign policy in a way that he believes will help the United States," saying his relationship with the Jewish people is not the same as Clinton's.

On a different topic, Sheinkopf spoke about Israel's difficulties in presenting its case to the world.

"Jewish people invented the public relations business...Jews have been dominant in it...so it's astounding that we can't figure out how to deal with our public relations issues," he stated. 

According to Sheinkopf one of the issues is anti-Semitism, which is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the world, and also the fact that Israel is perceived to be "telling an old story" about the horrors of the Holocaust and what Jews have built in Israel. According to him, the "world doesn't care anymore."

Israel, instead of telling a "victim's story," should tout its medical breakthroughs, he said, promoting how Jews are the "people of the book, people of the brain."