WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama never snubbed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s U.S. ambassador said.
Michael Oren ran through what he said were the distortions of a March 23 White House meeting between Netanyahu and Obama during a dinner he hosted this week for top Democrats.
According to an account of Oren’s remarks prepared by the National Jewish Democratic Council, whose officers attended the dinner, Oren outlined why the Obama-Netanyahu meeting was not a snub.
The meeting was last minute, Oren said — Obama was scheduled to be overseas, but stayed in Washington to shepherd a health care reform vote through Congress — and was therefore not "official." Such meetings do not have photo opportunities, Oren said.
Oren also dispelled rumors that Netanyahu entered through the back door — he came in through the front door — and that Obama ended the meeting to dine alone with his family.
In fact, he said, Netanyahu ended the first part of the meeting and asked if he could stay at the White House and consult with his staff before having another meeting with the president. Obama agreed.
Furthermore, Oren noted, Obama’s family was not in town.
According to the NJDC, Oren said that his own relations with top U.S. officials were "as good as or better" than his predecessors.