The White House – The Obama administration have been fiercely criticized for using Asperger’s syndrome as a method to insult Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, by individuals who are on the autism spectrum and the organizations who support individuals affected by autism spectrum conditions. This kind of language is both insensitive and insulting. We made reference to this incident in an article that we posted entitled,The disturbing trend to use autistic as an insult: Legislator clarifies her use of the term “aren’t autistic”.
The Times of Israel states that Scott Badesch, the President of the Autism Society of America, has called upon the US President Barack Obama to;
“fire that person immediately and say you will not allow anyone in your administration to deny respect and value in their use of words describing anyone with Asperger’s and autism.”
“Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery’ (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list). But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a ‘chickenshit.’”
The Ruderman Family Foundation, an advocacy group for people with disabilities have also spoken out. Jay Ruderman, President of the group stated:
“The term ‘Aspergery’ was used in a manner that is insulting to the millions of people around the world with Asperger Syndrome,”
The White House have since responded stating that the issue is now being addressed.
John Kerry, Secretary of State told publicly that the comments were “disgraceful, unacceptable, and damaging.” He later spoke to Netanyahu via telephone to apologize on behalf of the administration.