Likud officials accused Obama of "gross interference" in the Israeli election and said the president was "taking revenge" against Netanyahu for his perceived intervention in the November US election on behalf of unsuccessful Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the Jerusalem Post reports.
“This is gossip a journalist wrote, and the facts suggest that the opposite is true,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, who heads the Likud's response team, said. “Israelis expect their prime minister not to give into pressure, even if it would give them applause in the United States.”
Likud MK Danny Danon, defended Goldberg and expressed hope that Goldberg would continue writing against Netanyahu ahead of the election. “Any interference will just give us more seats,” Danon wrote.
Jeffrey Goldberg told Gil Hoffman from The Jerusalem Post that he was amused by the reactions of Israeli politicians, especially accusations that he conspired with the Israeli Left in order to maximize damage to Netanyahu. He said what he wrote was consistent with statements made by Obama in the past about the need of Israel's friends to hold up a mirror and tell the truth. “In the administration they saw that after Obama supported Israel in the Gaza conflict and at the UN, the next day Netanyahu wanted to build a new settlement in E1, and they threw up their hands in frustration,” Goldberg said.
“I have picked up this chatter in the White House over the past two weeks, so I wrote it. I'm a journalist, writing about what's happening, not trying to steer an Israeli election.”
When told about Erdan's criticism of him, Goldberg said: “That's fine. Blame the messenger, but those who say that Obama and BB's relationship is healthy are deluding themselves.”