Lawmaker recounts Bibi tirade: Never seen such ‘agitated…sharp exchange’

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House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) confirmed in an interview with Michigan radio station WJR that he witnessed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu going off on a tirade against the US administration at a meeting he attended with US ambassador Dan Shapiro last month, The Atlantic‘s Jeff Goldberg notes:

…Rogers, speaking to WJR radio host Frank Beckmann, painted a very different picture. He said the meeting, originally scheduled to be a discussion of intelligence and technical issues between himself and the prime minister, spun out of control when Netanyahu began lambasting Shapiro over the Administration’s Iran policy. When Beckmann asked Rogers to describe the tenor of the meeting, he said: “Very tense. Some very sharp… exchanges and it was very, very clear the Israelis had lost their patience with the (Obama) Administration.” He went on, “There was no doubt. You could not walk out of that meeting and think that they had not lost their patience with this Administration.”

Rogers said Israeli frustration grows from what they see — and he sees — as a refusal by the Obama Administration to outline an endgame: “(I)t was very clear the overarching policy has been frustrating mainly because I think it’s not very clear. What we walked out of that meeting knowing is that the Administration was trying to defend itself.” By the end, he said, there was a “sharp exchange between the Administration’s representative there, our ambassador there, and Mr. Netanyahu, which was unusual to say the least, but I thought at the end of the day maybe productive.”

Beckmann then asked: “Is it inaccurate to say it was a shouting match?” Rogers answered: “can say that there were elevated concerns on behalf of the Israelis.” When asked if he had “ever seen that sort of thing before,” Rogers answered: “No not that directly. We’ve had sharp exchanges with other heads of state and in intelligence services and other things, but nothing at that level that I’ve seen in all my time where people were clearly that agitated, clearly that worked up about a particular issue where there was a very sharp exchange.” …

We chased down the original Simon Shiffer report on the episode last week.

More on the root of the (non-)crisis in US-Israel ties from diplomat Alon Pinkas.