Obama snubs Israeli leader
U.S. president says “no” to key Middle East ally amidst escalating turmoil
I guess I should laugh to keep from crying.
Yemen’s U.S.-backed government, touted by President Barack Obama as a model for dealing with al Qaeda and the Middle East, according the MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, crumbled overnight last week.
Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah died Friday, Jan. 23, leaving the friendship between the Arab nation and the United States hanging in the balance.
To make matters worse, these two developments have eliminated major obstacles for Iran in its endeavor to rework the political makeup of the embattled region.
So what does Obama do? He says “no” to meeting with the West’s only constant and committed ally — Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel.
Like I said, I guess I should laugh to keep from crying.
The two leaders have a history of not getting along. In fact, an unnamed White House official was quoted by the Atlantic calling Netanyahu a (vulgarity).
This go-’round, another unnamed senior official has voiced disapproval of Netanyahu’s decision to address the joint session of Congress in March at House Speaker John Boehner’s request without White House approval.
“He spat in our face publicly, and that’s no way to behave,” the anonymous source said of the prime minister’s visit.
“Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency and that there will be a price.”
According to White House spokesperson Bernadette Meehan, the only reason Obama turned down a meeting with Netanyahu is because the U.S. has a “long-standing practice and principle” of not meeting with heads of state during their election seasons.
Really? That is the best they can come up with?
Of course, I suppose I cannot blame the president for avoiding Netanyahu after his promise in the State of the Union address to veto any increased sanctions on Iran’s likely pursuit of a nuclear arsenal. Even though many in the region have warned the White House of Iran’s intentions.
“Should a single American or Zionist missile land in our country, before the dust settles, Iranian missiles will blow up the heart of Israel,” Cleric Mojtaba Zolnour, the supreme leader in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, told the Islamic Republic News Agency in 2010.
The president should just own up to his disdain for the prime minister, and drop the shtick about “practice and principle.” Netanyahu and Obama have what Earnest calls a “fundamental disagreement” about Iran’s diplomatic standing.
According to Haaretz, an Israeli news source, Obama has directly warned Netanyahu to stop urging lawmakers to propose additional sanctions on Iran.
Disagreement or not, I think the possible threat of a nuclear Iran and an endangered Israel is reason enough for the president to break tradition and meet with the
Yet again, I have to laugh to keep from crying.
How can an American president — leading a country with great interest in the Middle East — dis such a strong ally when “Rome is burning?”
Of course, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is on cleanup duty now, distancing Obama’s administration from any negative comments toward Netanyahu.
“I guarantee that it’s not me, not the president and not what we believe,” McDonough said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” of the unnamed sources’ quotes.
Regardless of McDonough’s words, it is Obama who chose to be interviewed last week by GloZell, a YouTube celebrity who eats cereal out of a bathtub, but who will not make time for Israel’s leader.
I love GloZell’s videos just as much as the next bored college student, but really? I cannot imagine Obama’s public relations team did not see this media flub coming.
I think it is time for Obama to ditch the Froot Loops and take the opportunity to meet with Netanyahu, if for no other reason than to keep me from crying.
Goins-Phillips is the opinion editor.