So now we know what members of the Obama administration really think of Prime Minister Netanyahu. As if we didn’t know. Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic article, however, gives us more specifics. “Recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery.’” Not to mention the now infamous “chickenshit.”
Aside from showing a tremendous lack of diplomacy, professionalism and maturity, the use of an autism spectrum disorder as an insult is reprehensible. In addition to the administration’s denunciation of these characterizations, I would hope President Obama will use the opportunity not only apologize to the Prime Minister, but to the millions of people (children, parents, teachers, mental health professionals, camp counselors, researchers, and many others) who would never think of putting Asperger’s Symdrome in the same sentence as any of these contemptuous characteristics.
This is not an issue of settlements or concessions. This is an issue of human decency. People have disagreements every day, especially in the geopolitical arena. Just as there is no requirement to be in full agreement with everybody, there is also no such requirement to actually like the people you have to deal with. But using a medical diagnosis as an insult? How profoundly disrespectful.
This past March, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services issued a statement that said: The Obama administration recognizes the importance of this health issue and it continues to work to improve the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families by supporting research, improving supports and services, and working closely with the entire community. Apparently, not every member of the administration saw the press release.