After President Obama allegedly snubbed Benjamin Netanyahu by turning down the Israeli Prime Minister’s request for a meeting while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now scheduled to meet with him instead.
President Obama received heavy criticism from Republicans and many other pro-Israel voices in Washington for turning down Netanyahu’s request. But the snub came after Netanyahu was accused of trying to bully the President into launching a war of choice on Iran for a nuclear weapons program it doesn’t even have.
Netanyahu was also accused of trying to interfere with the US presidential elections by highlighting the differences in US and Israeli strategy.
The Obama administration has been clear in recent weeks that the US will not back an Israeli strike on Iran, preferring instead to negotiate and impose harsh economic sanctions. Most Israeli officials, up to and including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, seem to have given in to this position, but Netanyahu seems to have gone rogue in a lonely rhetorical battle to condemn the US position.
The meeting with Clinton is expected to focus on the issue of Iran. But the supposed controversy surrounding Obama’s alleged snub is mostly political theater, as the President has faithfully placated Israel throughout his tenure.
As White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, Mr. Obama “has met with and spent time on the phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu more than with any leader since he took office, and that is reflective of the importance of and the closeness of the relationship between the United States and Israel.”