New York - NY Magazine: Obama Is The Best Thing Israel Has Going For It Right Now
New York - The last time Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu shared each otherâ€™s company, you could say that the encounter did not go wellâ€”if by â€śnot wellâ€ť you mean abysmally. This was on May 20, the day after Obama gave his big speech on the Arab Spring, in which he unleashed a tsunami of tsuris by endorsing the use of Israelâ€™s 1967 borders â€świth mutually agreed [land] swapsâ€ť as the basis for a two-state solution with the Palestinians. Obama and Netanyahu were seated in the Oval Office for what was supposed to be one of those photo ops devoted to roasting rhetorical chestnuts about the solidity of the U.S.-Israel alliance. Instead, while Obama watched silently, looking poleaxed, Netanyahu lectured himâ€”for seven and a half minutes, on live televisionâ€”about the folly, the sheer absurdity, of suggesting Israel ever return to what he called the â€śindefensibleâ€ť 1967 lines.
Obama was furious with Netanyahu, who in choosing to ignore the crucial qualifier about land swaps had twisted Obamaâ€™s words beyond recognitionâ€”the kind of mendacious misinterpretation that makes the presidential mental. The seniormost members of Obamaâ€™s team felt much the same. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates, Bill Daley, the former Mideast-peace envoy George Mitchell: All were apoplectic with the prime minister, whose behavior over the past two years had already tried their patience. â€śThe collective view here is that he is a small-minded, fairly craven politician,â€ť says an administration source deeply involved in its efforts to push the parties to the negotiating table. â€śAnd one who simply isnâ€™t serious about making peace.â€ť
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