Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, told top Democrats he hosted for dinner this week that President Obama never "snubbed" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their March 23 meeting.
According to the National Jewish Democratic Council, whose officers attended the dinner, Oren knocked down details of the snub — some reported in the media, some circulating in the kind of emails that insinuate exclamation marks into your inbox: There was no photo-op because none was required, the meeting was last minute and unofficial; Obama did not quit Netanyahu to dine with the kids; Netanyahu came in through the front door. (This loony rumor — that Bibi came in through the back door — has really upended me. Would someone mind telling me which is, exactly, the front door in that convoluted mansion?)
Anyway, here’s the NJDC text. They say it’s been vetted with the embassy; we’ve got a call into the embassy.
WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, May 4 Jewish community leaders, Democratic Party officials and others gathered at a dinner in honor of DNC Chairman Governor Tim Kaine, hosted by Ambassador Michael Oren at his Washington home. National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) leadership including Chairman Marc Stanley, Executive Committee member and DNC At-Large member Sunita Leeds, CEO Ira Forman, and President David Harris were among those in attendance. Ambassador Oren made strong and candid comments praising President Barack Obama and his administration, as well as the administration’s powerful support for the State of Israel.
David A. Harris, President of NJDC, issued the following statement praising the Ambassador’s remarks:
“Ambassador Oren could not have been more clear during his remarks – President Obama is a true friend to Israel and the U.S. – Israel relationship remains rock solid. We applaud the Ambassador for working tirelessly to clear up any misconceptions and rumors about the relationship between the two allies as he did in his remarks to us, which echo his frequent comments in the press and on television.
It is our hope that those in the community will take note of what the Ambassador says. There is no room for equivocation or partisan game playing; the U.S. – Israel relationship must remain a bipartisan issue.”
Key Points Made by the Ambassador:
As the Ambassador explained carefully, one of his great frustrations is needing to consistently knock down the false “snub” story of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent visit to the White House. As the Ambassador noted:
o There are normally no photos in such a non-state visit;
o He came in through the front door, not the back door;
o It was a last-minute meeting as the President had expected to be out of the country;
o The First Lady and their children were actually not in town;
o They worked closely and positively until late at night;
o The Prime Minister asked if he could stay to meet with his team and the White House said “of course;”
o The Prime Minister asked if the President could return later to hear new ideas and he gladly did;
o They parted on good terms, etc.
o It was not until the following morning that the Ambassador read that the visit was described as a “snub,” and he was shocked.
Relationships between the Ambassador and the top-level officials in this Administration are as good as or better than those between any previous Ambassadors and many previous Administrations, period. As the Ambassador noted, he has excellent access.
Security and military cooperation between the United States and Israel are at superb levels, and the U.S. focus on maintaining and growing Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) under this administration is an essential step forward. Between joint military exercises, weapons development programs and increased direct military assistance, U.S.-Israel security cooperation has reached new heights.
The Ambassador commented that the President and top levels of the NSC, Defense Department, State Department, etc. have been singularly focused on preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, and Israel’s government continues to be on-board with this sanctions effort. The Ambassador also noted how much Israel and Israelis appreciate the Obama Administration’s focus on Syria’s recent destabilizing moves.
The Ambassador noted that those who use support for Israel as a partisan weapon or seek to inject partisanship into the issue of support for Israel threaten the critical U.S.-Israel relationship, by threatening the essential need for bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.