The Obama administration has “screwed up the messaging” about its support for Israel over the past 14 months, and it will take “more than one month to make up for 14 months,” White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said on Thursday to a group of rabbis called together for a meeting in the White House.
“During the elections there were doubts about President Obama’s support for Israel, and now they have resurfaced,” Emanuel said, according to one of those who participated in the meeting. “But concerning policy, we have done everything that we can that is in Israel’s security – and long-range interests. Watch what the administration does.”
These comments came during the second of two White House meetings with a carefully selected slate of 15 rabbis from across the US representing the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative streams.
Ensuring a friendly audience, perhaps?
The first meeting took place on April 20, shortly after Obama was widely perceived to have treated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu shabbily during their last White House meeting.
Not simply widely perceived; Obama left Netanyahu, his guest, and went to have dinner upstairs
After failing to extract a written promise of concessions on settlements, Mr Obama walked out of his meeting with Mr Netanyahu but invited him to stay at the White House, consult with advisers and “let me know if there is anything new”, a US congressman, who spoke to the Prime Minister, said.
Left to talk among themselves Mr Netanyahu and his aides retreated to the Roosevelt Room. He spent a further half-hour with Mr Obama and extended his stay for a day of emergency talks to try to restart peace negotiations.
As Dan said regarding the most recent meeting with the rabbis,
The rabbis left the meeting “cautiously optimistic.” The story doesn’t mention whether it was through the backdoor or the front.
The back door has been renamed to the Dalai Lama door.
Israel Matzav -blogging from Israel – posts that
the Obama administration’s goals for our region have not changed.
It’s all that “smart diplomacy” in action.
Post reedited to include a section left out.