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It has been evident for some time that President Obama intensely dislikes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Then again, Obama does not have much use for Israel altogether.
The latest example occurred during an unscripted moment when microphones were accidentally left on after a G-20 press conference in Cannes last week had concluded. They picked up a private conversation between Obama and French President Nicholas Sarkozy exchanging bitter words about Netanyahu.
Sarkozy went first. He said, “I cannot stand him. He is a liar.”
Obama couldn’t help himself. He tried to outdo Sarkozy in expressing his displeasure with Netanyahu. “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day,” Obama replied spontaneously without his usual teleprompter to guide him.
Reporters heard the two leaders’ childish insults because the microphones were inadvertently still operating. They were asked afterwards not to disclose what they heard, and many of the journalists went along with the gag request. Fortunately, there are at least a few honest journalists who don’t much like government censorship of a legitimate news story.
France had just voted in favor of the Palestinians’ full membership in UNESCO. It also has reportedly decided to abstain, rather than vote no, when the Security Council takes up consideration of the Palestinian bid for full UN membership.
The United States voted no in UNESCO. It will, if necessary, also veto any Security Council resolution recommending full state membership for the Palestinians in the entire UN system. Obama knows that to do otherwise would cost him dearly in next year’s presidential election amongst Jewish voters whom would normally be in his corner.
However, we all know what Obama really thinks. This is a president who has gone out of his way to visit Muslim countries in the same region as Israel, but has yet to visit Israel itself since taking office. Obama had no trouble bowing to the Saudi king, while insulting the Israeli prime minister at every turn.
Obama’s latest blast at Netanyahu recalls his snub of Netanyahu during the prime minister’s first visit to the Obama White House in March 2010. Obama presented Netanyahu with a list of demands, including a halt to all settlement construction in East Jerusalem. When Netanyahu resisted Obama’s charms, Obama picked up his marbles. He stormed out of the meeting and declared, “I’m going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls.” Obama also refused the normal protocol of a joint photograph with the Israeli leader.
“There is no humiliation exercise that the Americans did not try on the prime minister and his entourage,” Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported on the treatment of the leader of our closest ally and only genuine democracy in the Middle East. “Bibi received in the White House the treatment reserved for the president of Equatorial Guinea.”
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