Obama’s White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough made the following absurd statement on Sunday regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship:

Let’s take a step back: This is the most important relationship we have in the world [bold mine-DL].

It is nonsense to claim that the relationship with Israel is the “most important” one that the U.S. has. This isn’t some technically false statement. It is preposterous. Israel is a small client state that doesn’t contribute very much and doesn’t do much to help advance U.S. interests anywhere. There are dozens of international relationships that the U.S. has that are more important than this one, starting with our treaty allies and closest neighbors. Even if we grant that flattery of this kind is sometimes needed in diplomacy, there is really no excuse for indulging in such over-the-top dishonesty. It is definitely the wrong way to talk about a bilateral relationship when the government of the other country is going out of its way to undermine and sabotage a major U.S. diplomatic initiative.

No wonder the head of Israel’s government believes he can do whatever he wants in his dealings with the U.S. A top administration official is praising the relationship between our governments as “the most important” in the world just days after the head of their government effectively “spat” in the administration’s face (to use the word of another administration official). The “price” that Netanyahu is paying seems to involve having U.S. officials fall over themselves in public to reaffirm their enthusiasm for the relationship. That more or less guarantees that Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders in the future will know that they can do whatever they like without risking any serious damage to ties with the U.S. When presented with an opportunity to make the relationship a little less lopsided and dysfunctional, the Obama administration seems to be content to keep things just the way they are.