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Opinion: Obama-Sarkozy Trash Talk on Netanyahu Shows U.S. Brushes off Israel

Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - 11:20 AM

The report that Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy trash-talked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the G20 conference while thinking their mics were disconnected, is only the latest in a series of insults the Obama administration has lobbed at our greatest friend in the Middle East.

The now-infamous story of Obama's dinner dis of Netanyahu, when he visited the White House and wasn't invited to dinner, is part of a pattern of the president offending a steadfast ally. It may seem like the affront is simply to the political leadership of Israel and not to its people but, unlike all the other Middle Eastern countries with whom the administration makes nice, Israelis actually elect their leaders in free elections not often seen in that region of the world. To frequently insult the Israeli leader in this way is to insult Israelis themselves.

More than anything else it seems that Obama's frustration at Netanyahu betrays that he finds the established friendship between the US and Israel inconvenient.  Of course it would be easier to abandon Israel.  This is a president who came into office seeking to "raise America's standing in the world" and succeeded instead of lowering the world's opinion of us. Even in the countries Obama has courted heavily, like Egypt, positive opinion of America has dropped since he took office. 

In discontinuing the US's long-held positions on Israel, Obama would finally get the adulation he craves from Europe and would see his dismal standing in the Arab world increase. To do that, though, is to cut America off from a country which shares our values and also our concerns (ie: a nuclear Iran). 

It's easy to forget that while Israel gains a lot from its special relationship with America, Americans get a peace of mind that there exists a first line of defense against crackpot dictators (and their quest for weapons with which to destroy us) in the Middle East.  Barack Obama may cost the U.S. the steady commitment of a necessary ally, as well as show our other allies how easily they can be thrown under that same bus, all to participate in a gossip session with a Frenchman. Doesn't seem quite worth it.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.

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Comments [12]

Genesis 12 verse 3 enough said.

Feb. 24 2012 02:32 AM
avi

"This is a president who came into office seeking to "raise America's standing in the world" and succeeded instead of lowering the world's opinion of us."

Dear Karol,

Have you been abroad lately? Where's your evidence worldwide standings have been lowered? Do you remember foreigners' opinions of the previous presidency? I didn't see anyone wearing pro-Bush shirts in other countries. I saw a hell of a lot of pro-Obama shirts. To say that our worldwide standing has diminished is ridiculous. Are you saying the Middle East liked us more when we invaded Iraq?

More research would be nice. I know its an opinion article, but the writing is lacking qualified sources.

Sincerely,
Avi

Dec. 13 2011 10:49 PM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

What trash-talk? From All Headline News..."the French president said, "I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar." President Obama reportedly replied, "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you.""

Read more: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/90064422?White+House+downplays+Obama-Sarkozy+talk+on+Netanyahu#ixzz1dVRNivPc

How is our President telling another leader to stop whining trash-talk? I think you are primed to be upset where there is no offense intended.

Nov. 12 2011 10:46 AM
Masha from New York

Truth hurts. Netanyahu is liar. And Obama never proposed anything that other US presidents didn't. I could never understand Jews who sit in Brooklyn and decide what's best for Israel. And then, with their help and money characters like despicable
Liberman come to power and the vicious cycle of war starts all over again.

Nov. 10 2011 10:25 AM
Nick from Thank God not Israel

I'm sure as Hell not embarrassed, I am actually proud! Sarkozy and Obama won some points with me.

In World politics, I liken Bibi to Joe Peschi in Casino. He is unruly and untrusting. He does whatever he wants because he knows that we, America, will always stick up for him. What Karol fails to mention in this article is that Bibi is a FAR RIGHT politician, in a FAR RIGHT Israeli political party. The Israeli's currently run Israel as an aparteid state. They are currently in a military operation in Gaza and the West Bank in the form of an occupation.

Karol also says that "Israelis actually elect their leaders in free elections not often seen in that region of the world." which is true, however, the Palestinians are not allowed to vote.

The American Right seems to love Israel. I don't blame them. The Israeli Lobby gives them a nice amount of Geld, as well as buys a lot of weapons to help fund their war machine. The propaganists do a good job of connecting Chrisitanity to Judiasm. But do Bible Belt folks know the whole story? Not at all..anyway, this one gave me a good laugh, should give you one too:
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/ultra-orthodox-spitting-attacks-on-old-city-clergymen-becoming-daily-1.393669

Nov. 09 2011 08:24 PM
Mark

Why can't England or France be our "number one ally"? I don't see a lot of advantages in being tied at the hip to one of these little West Asian tribal states.

Nov. 09 2011 04:22 PM
herb from NYC

President Obama wishes to reduce the size of Israel to 10 miles wide. Israel's neighbors are clear that they want to destroy the Jewish State. President Obama supports the overthrow of dictators that support the USA in our fight vs Moslem extremists. Now we have Moslem extremists taking power in these countries & the people are worse off. What about President Obama sale of military weapons to the Saudis.? A Saudi Price offered a reward of $1 million to any Moslem the kidnaps an Israeli. President Obama did not support The Iranian people when they rioted against the Iranian govt. There is more. President Obama alienates allies & endears Moslem extremists. He is very unpopular with both..

Nov. 09 2011 02:44 PM
John from Westchester, NY

Maybe Netanyahu is a liar. How would we know? Obama and Sarkozy may know however. Netanyahu came to the White House not too long ago and was extremely inappropriate and insulting to President Obama. My impression of this guy is that he is a opportunist of an unsavory type.

Nov. 09 2011 01:49 PM

Here's what Obama said:

"The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states."
(http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/05/obama-calls-for-dividing-jerusalem-move-back-to-1967-border/)

This is not support for a "divided Jerusalem," and it's not a change to US policy. Every step of the peace process has been based on starting with the 1967 borders, and modifying those borders through "mutually agreed swaps." Even Netanyahu recognized this a few months after he "smacked down" Obama (see http://www.israeltoday.co.il/tabid/178/nid/22899/language/en-US/Default.aspx).

But to suggest that an Israeli PM can "smack down" an American president is to imply that Israel is -- and should be -- the dominant partner in this alliance. If a leader like Sarkozy, Merkel or Cameron criticized an American policy would anyone call it a smack down? Would anyone in the US even care?

Nov. 09 2011 01:46 PM
Karol from NYC

"I'm looking for actions and policies here, not a "dinner dis" or Obama complaining that he's tired of having to deal with Netanyahu."

How about Obama coming out for a divided Jerusalem? That has never been US policy. I'm not an Obama fan but it was embarrassing to see our president being smacked down (rightly, but still) so publicly by Netanyahu on that.

Nov. 09 2011 12:55 PM

"The report that Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy trash-talked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the G20 conference while thinking their mics were disconnected, is only the latest in a series of insults the Obama administration has lobbed at our greatest friend in the Middle East."????

WHAT????

Israel has compromised our national security since it's inception!!

Netanyahu IS a liar! There is no secret, here.

Nov. 09 2011 12:50 PM

In what way is Obama "discontinuing the US's long-held positions on Israel"? I'm looking for actions and policies here, not a "dinner dis" or Obama complaining that he's tired of having to deal with Netanyahu. If the Israeli-US relationship is actually so shallow that a dinner invite and overheard gripe can destroy it, it hardly seems like an alliance worth keeping.

Frankly, if I were president, I would be tired of dealing with Netanyahu, too. I think Israel's policies are unhelpful to the US, unhelpful to much of the region, and ultimately, unhelpful to Israel itself. They are, of course, a free country, and can continue to pursue any policies they want, but no relationship -- no matter how "special" -- obligates us to support or endorse those policies.

Nov. 09 2011 12:35 PM

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