Netanyahu hears no discouraging words from Obama
By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, July 7, 2010; A02
A blue-and-white Israeli flag hung from Blair House. Across
Four months ago, the Obama administration made a politically perilous decision to condemn
So on Tuesday, Obama, routed and humiliated by his Israeli counterpart, invited Netanyahu back to the White House for what might be called the Oil of Olay Summit: It was all about saving face.
The president, beaming in the Oval Office with a dour Netanyahu at his side, gushed about the "extraordinary friendship between our two countries." He performed the Full Monty of pro-Israel pandering: "The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable" . . . "I commended Prime Minister Netanyahu" . . . "Our two countries are working cooperatively" . . . "unwavering in our commitment" . . . "our relationship has broadened" . . . "continuing to improve" . . . "We are committed to that special bond, and we are going to do what's required to back that up."
An Israeli reporter attempted to summon the effusive American back to reality: "Mr. President, in the past year, you distanced yourself from
Obama assumed an amused grin. "Well, let me first of all say that the premise of your question was wrong, and I entirely disagree with it," he said. He said he had always engaged in "a constant reaffirmation of the special relationship" with
So that business about Hillary Clinton calling Israel's settlement action "insulting" and the State Department accusing Israel of a "deeply negative signal" that "undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America's interests"? You must have imagined it.
Obama came to office with an admirable hope of reviving
Even before Obama's surrender to Netanyahu, Muslims were losing faith that he would be the transformational figure who spoke to them from
Obama snubbed Netanyahu at their last meeting, shortly after
Netanyahu arrived at the White House to see bulldozers and piles of rubble along the West Wing driveway from a construction project on the North Lawn. Inside, he found more construction underway: Obama feverishly rebuilding the U.S.-Israel relationship. The president's opening statement in front of the cameras contained not a word of criticism of the Jewish state.
"Well, I just completed an excellent one-on-one discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu," he began. For those tuning in late, he added at the end: "So I just want to say, once again, that I thought the discussion that we had was excellent."
Netanyahu was pleased with the pandering. "Mr. President, I want to thank you for reaffirming to me in private and now in public, as you did, the long-standing
Obama didn't even mention
Netanyahu celebrated victory. "To paraphrase Mark Twain," he said, "the reports about the demise of the special U.S.-Israel relationship aren't just premature, they're just flat wrong."
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