By Ryan Jones
US President Barack Obama apparently believes that he knows better than Israel's democratically elected leader what is best for the Jewish state.
In further evidence that US-Israel relations will remain on the rocks for the foreseeable future, a prominent American columnist revealed this week that President Obama has been repeatedly stating that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leading Israel toward isolation.
Obama: 'Israel Doesn't Know What Its Own Best Interests Are'
Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for the Atlantic, wrote on the Bloomberg network that when Netanyahu recently announced plans to build new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria in response to provocative Palestinian moves at the UN, Obama didn't even bother getting angry.
Goldberg noted that an "inured" Obama simply started telling people that "Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are."
The entire affair is representative of Washington's typical reaction to the failing Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
When Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas went to the UN in November to unilaterally seek recognition for a Palestinian state outside the framework, and in violation of, signed agreements, Obama opposed the move, but refrained from accusing Abbas of harming the quest for peace.
When Netanyahu responded by approving increased Jewish settlement construction, the White House was all too clear that the Israeli leader was hindering peace efforts.
This double standard has been a long-standing feature of the peace process.
Obama's remarks and the timing of their publication can also be seen as an attempt to influence Israel's upcoming election and scare Israeli voters from choosing Netanyahu.
Netanyahu's challengers are already playing on fears that he will damage vital US-Israel relations at a time when the Jewish state needs Western support in its nuclear face-off with Iran.
But unlike many Israeli politicians, Netanyahu knows well that Obama alone cannot turn the US against Israel, and that while the White House may be antagonistic toward the Jewish state, Congress and the majority of Americans lean far in the opposite direction.
- Fed up, Obama says Israel 'doesn’t know its own best interests' • Times of Israel
- Report: Obama said Israel moving towards isolation • Ynet News
- 'Netanyahu will work with Obama while safeguarding Israel's interests' • Israel Hayom
- Israeli settlements irk U.N.'s Ban • UPI
- If reelected, Netanyahu likely to meet Obama in early March • Jerusalem Post