Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reviewing the appointment of his new communications director over Facebook comments criticising U.S. President Barack Obama.
Ran Baratz, a philosophy lecturer who was appointed as Netanyahu’s chief spokesman, accused Obama of anti-Semitism and described U.S. Secretary of State Jon Kerry as someone “whose mental age doesn’t exceed 12.”
His March post, reports the BBC, described Obama’s criticism of Netanyahu’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal as “the modern face of anti-Semitism in Western and liberal countries.”
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby called the posts “troubling and offensive.”
“The secretary spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning and we understand that the Prime Minister will be reviewing this appointment when he returns from his visit to the United States” says Kirby to the BBC. “We obviously expect government officials from any country, especially our closest allies, to speak respectfully and truthfully about senior US government officials.”
Netanyahu, who is due to visit Washington for next week’s U.S.-Israeli summit, has distanced himself from Baratz.
“Those posts are totally unacceptable and in no way reflect my positions or the policies of the government of Israel. Dr Baratz has apologised and has asked to meet me to clarify the matter following my return to Israel” says Netanyahu in a statement.
Israeli officials say that Baratz will not be accompanying Netanyahu to the U.S.