‘Bibi’ is A-OK. Just ask the ZOA

Ron Kampeas

The Zionst Organization of America shoots over an e-mail questioning whether it’s “appropriate” for President Obama to refer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “Bibi” in a press conference.

“It is not likely that President Obama is simply being warm and friendly when he calls the Israel Prime Minister by his nickname, ‘Bibi,’ given the less-than-rosy relationship between the two men,” ZOA President Morton Klein says, and…

Well, there’s something about something Nicolas Sarkozy once said, and the Oval Office and a shoe, but gosh, I stopped there, because a year ago in Jerusalem, this is how Netanyahu welcomed Obama:

Mr. President, Barack, it’s a great pleasure for me to host you here in Jerusalem.

Via Twitter, Eli Valley also brought up two instances in which the ZOA referred to Netanyahu as … Bibi.

Look, I’m sure that the timing of Klein’s “wonder[ing] if calling him ‘Bibi’ is intended as subtle message of disrespect” has nothing at all to do with the to-do over Netanyahu’s lecturing the White House on what is American and what ain’t.

But seriously: Calling out Barack Obama for being familiar with Benjamin Netanyahu? Saying it shows “disrespect”?


Ron Kampeas is JTA’s Washington bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter at @kampeas