Disability advocates are strongly criticizing the White House for comments made by an anonymous official to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, published in an article October 28, describing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and Aspergery,” Goldberg wrote.
While the use of the word “chickenshit” quickly received widespread attention, disability rights activists blasted the use of the word “Aspergery.”
“The term ‘Aspergery’ was used in a manner that is insulting to the millions of people around the world with Asperger Syndrome,” Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, told the Times of Israel. “It is never OK to insult someone by referring to them by using disability in a negative manner.”
“I was really stunned that the insults from the White House used a derogatory term connected to Autism Spectrum Disorder as a way to insult PM Netanyahu,” Mizrahi wrote. “As the parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum and a disability advocate, I would hope that our president, as well as you as chief of staff, will make it clear that such bullying has no place in our nation.”
According to the Jewish Forward, the White House has since apologized and called the use of the phrase “unfortunate misuse of language.”