Robert Gates Says Israel Is an Ungrateful Ally

September 6th 2011

Robert Gates Says Israel Is an Ungrateful Ally

Jeffrey Goldberg At

It was an extraordinary scene: President Barack Obama, sitting impassively in the Oval Office in May as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lectured him, at considerable length and at times condescendingly, on Jewish history, Arab perfidy and the existential challenges facing his country.

What was extraordinary wasn’t the message — it was not an untypical Netanyahu sermon. What was notable was that Netanyahu was lecturing the president live on television, during a photo opportunity staged so that the two leaders could issue platitudes about the enduring bonds between their nations.

That display of impudence left the president and his team feeling unusually angry. Shortly afterward, Obama’s chief of staff, William Daley, called the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, to communicate the displeasure of the White House in a reportedly heated way. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who watched her husband battle Netanyahu in the late 1990s, also expressed anger and frustration about the prime minister within the administration.

Nothing in Return
But it was Robert M. Gates, the now-retired secretary of defense, who seemed most upset with Netanyahu. In a meeting of the National Security Council Principals Committee held not long before his retirement this summer, Gates coldly laid out the many steps the administration has taken to guarantee Israel’s security — access to top- quality weapons, assistance developing missile-defense systems, high-level intelligence sharing — and then stated bluntly that the U.S. has received nothing in return, particularly with regard to the peace process.

Senior administration officials told me that Gates argued to the president directly that Netanyahu is not only ungrateful, but also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank. According to these sources, Gates’s analysis met with no resistance from other members of the committee.

Frustration and Resentment
Gates has expressed his frustration with Netanyahu’s government before. Last year, when Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel was marred by an announcement of plans to build new housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem, Gates told several people that if he had been Biden, he would have returned to Washington immediately and told the prime minister to call Obama when he was serious about negotiations.

Gates’s frustration also stems from squabbling with Netanyahu over U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies. In an encounter in Israel in March, according to U.S. and Israeli sources, Netanyahu lectured Gates at length on the possible dangers posed to Israel by such sales, as well as by Turkey and other regional U.S. allies. Gates, a veteran intelligence officer, resented Netanyahu’s tone, and reminded him that the sales were organized in consultation with Israel and pro-Israel members of Congress.

Palestinian State
The reason the administration’s hard feelings toward Netanyahu matter now — and the reason several officials spoke to me on this subject last week — is that the U.S. is once again going to the mat for Israel at the United Nations, where Palestinians intend to seek recognition of an independent state in September.

The White House plans to contest this resolution in the General Assembly (where the move already has majority support), and the U.S. would most likely veto it in the Security Council. The Obama administration is right to oppose this ploy, which would undermine the chances of reconciliation and could lead to an explosion of violence on the West Bank. But they’ll oppose it in spite of Netanyahu, not to help him.

Dislike of Netanyahu has deepened in a way that could ultimately be dangerous for Israel. Time after time, the White House has taken Israel’s side in international disputes — over the UN’s Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza; over Israel’s confrontation with the pro-Hamas Turkish “flotilla,” in which nine people were killed; and on many other issues.

Yet the Netanyahu government does little to dispel the notion among its right-wing supporters that the Obama administration is at best a wavering friend. This is self- evidently foolish, especially at a time when Israel faces an existential threat from its menacing neighbor Iran.

A Blunt Articulation
Gates’s feelings about Netanyahu are particularly consequential, in part because he’s not considered hostile to Israel, and in part because he’s a well-regarded figure who articulated bluntly what so many people in the administration seem to believe. Gates declined to comment for this column through his former spokesman, Geoff Morrell. But Morrell told me that Gates “worked extremely hard throughout his four and half years as secretary of defense to address Israel’s security concerns.”

A Pentagon spokesman, George Little, said that Gates’s successor, Leon Panetta, “agrees with what President Obama and former Secretary Gates have both said, which is that our defense relationship with Israel is stronger than ever.”

When I asked Oren, the Israeli ambassador, about Gates’s often-expressed feelings toward Netanyahu, he said, “We have nothing but the highest regard for Secretary Gates, and as allies, we don’t exchange accusations, we have communications. Israel deeply appreciates the excellent security relationship we have with the Obama administration.”

Netanyahu’s alienation of the White House has not gone unnoticed in Israel. Tzipi Livni, the head of the Kadima Party, said in a recent interview with me and Atlantic editor James Bennet that the average Israeli is more attuned to the importance of maintaining good relations with the U.S. president than is the current prime minister.

“For Israelis,” she said, “when they wake up in the morning and ask themselves, what is the general situation today, the litmus test for them is the health of the relationship between Israel and the United States.”

Jeffrey Goldberg is a Bloomberg View columnist and a national correspondent for the Atlantic. The opinions expressed are his own.

33 Comments for “Robert Gates Says Israel Is an Ungrateful Ally”Mary
September 6, 2011 – 1:00 pm
Why is Jeffry Goldberg’s article relevant?

Reply Audry
September 6, 2011 – 1:34 pm
Mr. Gates, Sir, …. they think they own America, and you and the President and others are merely “Staff” who report to Israel, its FED and London. Your only response to them should be “is there anything else you need?”

And they think they have the muscle to back it up.

If you had some real gumption you would say what’s really on your mind. Is There, Anything else Sir?

We await your reply, or repeated submission ( remember to bend at the knees, it will put less strain on your back). And don’t dare say you couldn’t see this coming. If this is what they expect of you SIR, how do you think they view us ordinary Americans?

Debbie Menon
September 6, 2011 – 2:10 pm
Audry, don’t expect anything other than continued subservience from any of them. The knees of all of their trousers have holes in them from decades of genuflection and crawling before their Israeli Lobbyists to get to where they are today. Shameful!

Reply Audry
September 6, 2011 – 1:43 pm
Oh, and I forgot, and for all you guys, (with not much care for your country or its citizens or even your families) going to the games, football and baseball (playoff’s coming soon).

These same people ( who humiliated our President and Gates among others) will be designing new cooking classes for your wife and kids in the meantime. The only thing is they will be part of the recipe.

Enjoy the games!

Reply Vox
September 6, 2011 – 2:52 pm
Maybe the turncoat Brad Pitt could be paid to make a new movie about Israel and the jews called:


Reply John
September 6, 2011 – 3:41 pm
What about the USS Liberty?
What about Furkan Dogan?
What about Rachel Corrie?
What about Jonathan Pollard?

Gordon Duff
September 6, 2011 – 4:44 pm
You could never say Gates didn’t have tunnel vision.

Reply Jupiter
September 6, 2011 – 4:14 pm
Vox, good suggestion. I never lowered myself to see that filthy Inglorious Basterds piece of rotten celluloid!

Oh how wonderful to be Jewish in 2011! Got Obama under heel. Closer to the Dream of a Greater Israel!

May Netanyahoo drown in a bowl of his own vomit.

Reply DaveE
September 6, 2011 – 4:45 pm
Not that I believe it, but if, as Goldberg says, the Israelis measure their “progress” by how well America is swallowing their, eh, refuse, they’re effed. Everyone I know is about ready to fight the bastards in the sewer, if they have to and it looks like that may be the only option we’re given.

Reply Sam
September 6, 2011 – 4:51 pm
Vox! It’s sam. Say hi to DWC for me. Where’s he hanging out these days?

Anyway, I hope you’re well.

September 6, 2011 – 7:19 pm


No one’s heard from DWC since the Hasbarats at Incogman killed him (figuratively).

AT&T has blocked my access to Incogman’s comments section so I can no longer post there. What they did was flush out all DNS records so that you can get to the main site but the comments section is no longer able to gotten to from AT&T. See if you can get a message to him about it!

September 6, 2011 – 8:06 pm
Wow. It might be good for DWC to take a little time away from the whole thing. I hope he starts his own site.

I haven’t been able to read or post on incogman either for a couple days, not that I post there much anyway.

I also don’t have ATT, so maybe the bastards are working on shutting him down 24/7. I’ll pass along the info to incogman, if I can. Maybe I can try from a cafe.
Good to hear from you.

Reply Gordon Duff
September 6, 2011 – 8:58 pm
consider getting privoxy/vidalia or something better

Reply Anthony J. Hall
September 6, 2011 – 5:42 pm
What does it say that the expression of unhappiness is left to a retired member of the administration?

I think the question from Mary leading off this discussion is also relevant.

Debbie Menon
September 6, 2011 – 9:45 pm
Notice that most of the anger and outrage which Gates and other members of the staff have exhibited, privately and publicly, has been based upon the personal insult to them and the president, their principal, implicit in Netanyahu’s behavior, and not in any way because of the damage it does to the Unites States, or to its security, or the insult and cost to the American people.

Furthermore although they voice outrage and anger, they have done absolutely nothing about it. What on earth are the American people paying them for, anyway?

“The article is willfully disingenuous, suggesting splits in the US Government that simply aren’t there, and making all of the points Israel wants the US to make: Israel is an ally and not an albatross.”

Reply bahmi
September 6, 2011 – 5:57 pm
Don’t think that Bibi only throws fast balls. He throws several pitches and I strongly believe there is a lot of feints on both sides depending on the circumstances. A while back, folks thought that Obama was really ripping Bibi a new one, not so. Just the normal give and take for photo op effects. If you had the Rothschilds on your side, do you really think you’d lose many skirmishes? Answer? You’d lose only if you wanted to to “make it look good”. The rank and file we represent must be kept in the dark and these feints are the best way to do that.

Reply Charlotte NC Bill
September 6, 2011 – 6:28 pm
Talmudia on the Med is the epi-center of evil in the modern world…fm the massacres of ’48 to their current Samson strategy to their engineering of 9-11 with their assets to their espionage and on and on….

Reply Louise
September 6, 2011 – 6:45 pm
Good to see someone of Gate’s stature tell it like it is. Israel needs to realise that their attitude towards their neighbours and their continued building of settlements is turning the world against them and this includes the Christian world.

More and more people in Western countries are becoming aware of how our media has lied to us about Israel being a victim and are starting to learn to truth.

We all need more brave soles like Robert Gates to come forward and tell it like it is.

September 6, 2011 – 7:22 pm
Keep spreading the word…… I’ve had a lot of success pulling Christians’ heads out of their person dark places…..

Reply Anthony J. Hall
September 6, 2011 – 8:31 pm
It will take a bit more than this one gesture to trust Gates, whose continuity of job tenure “under” Bush and Obama speaks eloquently.

September 7, 2011 – 12:02 am
I am thinking that Obama was glad that Gates made the comment

Reply vinnie
September 6, 2011 – 9:25 pm
I wonder when America, will get rid of this WORTHLESS two party system. we need a 3rd party with SOME BALL’S. put all 535 suck slime ball’s in the Senate and Congress behind bars in jails where they belong. ( In fact arrest the bastard ass—-hole Supreme Court while we’re at it. tell all the scum JEWS in Israhell to stay the hell out of America or we will blow you ass to kingdom come.

September 6, 2011 – 11:55 pm
A guy called Juan Linz did a paper on democratic governments and Fareed Zakaria GPS did a story about it recently. Basically the Westminister system (used by Britain, Australia, NZ, and Canada) is better than the system you have in the USA. Read the article below

The USA does not need a 3rd party it needs a better political system.

September 8, 2011 – 1:04 pm
I’ve been reading Memoirs of Barras, an important player in the French Revolution, and in it he describes how King Louis XVI sold out to the same people in the same way that our supposedly democratically elected officials are selling out. Even though most of the people had no idea what was going on, they still felt the effects of it. Barras, as a military man, felt the effects of the traitorous actions of the King before most everyone else. The first thing that the King sold was the Ministry of Defense. Well, we all know what happened to that King, and why Barras’ Memoirs were quashed for almost a hundred years before they were finally published with a slanted, slanderous preface. Funny how the truth finds a way. Funny how the problem is human greed and has nothing to do with the political system in which this greed makes itself manifest.

Reply vinnie
September 6, 2011 – 9:29 pm
O ” YES also arrest all the scum worthless LOBBYISTS and SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS, AND HANG THEM. Because they bought all our Politicians.

Reply Charlotte NC Bill
September 7, 2011 – 1:13 am
Ungrateful but no ally…rather an undeclared enemy since June ’67…

Reply Hugh
September 7, 2011 – 2:56 am
An observation:

1. We have taken the red pill, we know who and what the problem is.
2. What are we going to do about it?

There are no political solutions here in the USSA. That’s right; not even uncle Paul can save your ass now. The dissolution is well under way. It’s over. Think USSR; circa 1989 but with a lot more fireworks for the rats to dodge.

Captain Speirs: “Blithe; you know why you hid in that ditch?”
Private Blithe: “I was scared.”
Captain Speirs: “Hell, we’re all scared Blithe. No Blithe; you hid in that ditch because you think there’s still hope. But Blithe, the only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead. And the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function. Without mercy. Without compassion. Without remorse. All war depends upon it.”

It has become evermore apparent that the whole point of statist waste, wars, conflict and other related boondoggles is to deprive mankind of the prosperity derived from peaceful co-existance, the free market, innovation and effective problem solving. We, for purposes of control are to be kept in the mud of ignorance, conflict and want, just so we place ourselves in servitude, begging at our own table in pursuit of carrots and in terror of sticks.

This is not without consequence. Elites and their statists lackeys have gone way too far, their grasp has exceeded their reach.

If there be a God, let Him have mercy on their souls. I can’t; I won’t.

September 7, 2011 – 9:10 am
I was already dead in nam.

Reply joe
September 7, 2011 – 9:45 am
ally and israel/jewry do not go together.

Reply rachel
September 8, 2011 – 6:46 am
keep your friends close and your enemies closer. isreal has always been an enemy of the usa. and they know it.

Reply Cold WInd
September 8, 2011 – 9:15 am
A Zionist ‘Fifth Column’ works within our government dominating the Executive on the level of policy and as a result bringing this once Great Republic to its ruin. Robert Gates knows as much as anyone can the extent of the Israelis/Zionists betrayal, including the subversion of all that is good in American, especially our morals and ethics. Robert Gates knows the Zionists have sold out America for the sake of Israel’s malefic ambition to be the unchallenged Hegemon in the Middle East. For all that America has given him, we might say the same thing: how ungrateful of you, Mr. Gates, to sit back and let the Zionists destroy America.

Reply Zissa Ramani Facebook
September 8, 2011 – 1:00 pm
YES ISRAEL uses Americans like slaves for money.

The Terrible Terrorist Zionist Congress Shelley Berkley who profited from WAR ARMS INVESTMENTS as Harry Reid did and those WARS ARMS were used on Americans and we do know on other humans which these Zionist want dead wiped off the earth.

Here Berkley the Terrible Terrorist wants no peace and Berkley would never allow her body strong sons to stand with the United States only profit from the blood and suffering.. Zionist sworn Harry Reid would never allow his sons to stand in war either only profit from the suffering.

Shelley Berkley on War & Peace – Cached
Jul 17, 2011 – This war is a terrible tragedy, and it is time to bring it to an end. … of terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, …

Reply Zissa Ramani Facebook
September 8, 2011 – 1:03 pm

151 Congressmen Derive Financial Profit From War

Blood money stains the hands of more than 25% of members of the U.S. House and Senate


By Ralph Forbes

Who profits from the Iraq war? More than a quarter of senators and congressmen have invested at least $196 million of their own money in companies doing business with the Department of Defense (DoD) that profit from the death and destruction in Iraq.

According to the latest reports, 151 members of Congress invested close to a quarter-billion in companies that received defense contracts of at least $5 million in 2006. These companies got more than $275.6 billion from the government in 2006, or $755 million per day, according to, a website of the watchdog group OMBWatch.

Congressmen gave themselves a loophole so they only have to report their assets in broad ranges. Thus, they can be off as much as 160 percent. (Try giving the IRS an estimate like that.) In 2004, the first full year after the present Iraq war began, Republican and Democratic lawmakers—both hawks and doves—invested between $74.9 million and $161.3 million in companies under contract with the DoD. In 2006 Democrats had at least $3.7 million invested in the defense sector alone, compared to the Republicans’ “only” $577,500. As the war raged on, so did the billions of profits—and personal investments by Congress members in war contractors, which increased 5 percent from 2004 to 2006.

Investments in these contractors yielded Congress members between $15.8 million and $62 million in personal income from 2004 through 2006, through dividends, capital gains, royalties and interest. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who are two of Congress’s wealthiest members, were among the lawmakers who garnered the most income from war contractors between 2004 and 2006: Sensenbrenner got at least $3.2 million and Kerry reaped at least $2.6 million.

Members of
the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees which oversee the Iraq war had between $32 million and $44 million invested in companies with DoD contracts.

War hawk Sen. Joe Lieberman (IConn.), chairman of the defense-related
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, had at least $51,000 invested in these companies in 2006.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), who voted for Bush’s war, had stock in defense companies, such as Honeywell, Boeing and Raytheon, but sold the stock in May 2007.

Of the 151 members whose investments are tied to the “defense” (war)
industry, as far as we know, not one of them offered to donate their bloodstained profits to the national treasury to offset the terrible debt they have imposed. Has one of them even offered to donate one cent of their war profits to lessen the debt that increases more than $1 million a minute?

When our boys and girls are wounded the government bills them to return their reenlistment bonus. They have to return any pay they received while they were hospitalized. They have to pay for their helmets and uniforms that are destroyed in the hell of war. But they keep on fighting for these politicians’ right to keep their war profits.

• Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) $3,001,006 to $5,015,001
• Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) $250,001 to $500,000
• Rep. Kenny Ewell Marchant (R-Tex.) $162,074 to $162,074
• Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) $115,002 to $300,000
• Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) $115,002 to $300,000
• Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) $100,870 to $100,870
• Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) $65,646 to $65,646
• Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) $50,008 to $227,000
• Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) $50,001 to $100,000
• Rep. Stephen Ira Cohen (D-Tenn.) $45,003 to $150,000


One response to “Robert Gates Says Israel Is an Ungrateful Ally



    While military invasions and counter-invasions multiplied during the six years of the Second War, absorbing all thought and energy of the masses locked in combat, a silent invasion went on which produced more momentous effects than the armed ones. This was the political invasion of the American Republic and its success was shown by the shape of American state policy at the war’s end, which was so directed as to ensure that the only military invasions that yielded enduring “territorial gains” were those of the revolution into Europe and of the Zionists into Arabia. Historically surveyed, Mr. Roosevelt’s achievement may now be seen to have been threefold and in each respect perilous to his country’ s future: he helped to arm Zionism, he armed the revolution in its Moscow citadel, and he opened the doors of his American citadel to its agents.

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