JERUSALEM, March 17 (UPI) -- The brother-in-law of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday President Barack Obama is no friend to Israel, calling him an anti-Semite.
Hagai Ben-Artzi, discussing the stinging U.S. criticism over Israel's decision to build housing in east Jerusalem, said Netanyahu should follow his predecessors' example and tell the United States to butt out, Ynetnews.com reported.
"Once the Americans tried to intervene in anything related to Jerusalem we told them one simple word: 'No,'" he said during an interview with Israel Army Radio. "Jerusalem is the Israeli people's capital and the capital of the state of Israel, and it is whole and united."
Ben-Artzi said Obama dislikes Netanyahu and the people of Israel because he listened for years to sermons by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, "who is anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, and anti-Jewish."
Netanyahu's media adviser, Nir Hefez, said the prime minister opposed Ben-Artzi's comments and deeply appreciated Obama's commitment to Israel's security, The Jerusalem Post said.
Obama broke ties in 2009 with Wright, his former pastor, and resigned his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, following widespread news accounts of racist and provocative remarks Wright had made.
"As a politician running for (the) presidency he had to hide it," Ben-Artzi said, "but it comes out every time and I think we just have to say it plainly: There is an anti-Semitic president in America."
In a statement, Netanyahu's office said this "isn't the first time the prime minister totally disagrees with the remarks of Mr. Ben-Artzi."