Published On: Thu, Mar 10th, 2016

‘Netanyahu among Obama’s deepest disappointments concerning Mideast leaders’, The Atlantic

In new interview published in The Atlantic, US president discusses his previously private encounters with Middle East leaders; Obama calls Netanyahu condescending and Erdogan a failure

President Barack Obama Meets With Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu At The White House

Earlier this week White House said that the prime minister had surprisingly cancelled a scheduled meeting with the US president next week. Israeli media had said that the meeting was cancelled because Obama was going to be out of the country at the time of Netanyahu’s visit. While Netanyahu’s office said that he had canceled the meeting because he did not want to interfere in the US presidential campaign.

Today in a revealing interview with Jeffrey Goldberg published in The Atlantic, US President Barack Obama has expressed his frustrations with some leaders in the Middle East, including the “condescension” of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.

Jeffrey Goldberg’s six-hour sit-down with Obama offers some insights into the president’s dealings with other world leaders.

“Some of his deepest disappointments concern Middle Eastern leaders themselves. Benjamin Netanyahu is in his own category: Obama has long believed that Netanyahu could bring about a two-state solution that would protect Israel’s status as a Jewish-majority democracy, but is too fearful and politically paralyzed to do so. Obama has also not had much patience for Netanyahu and other Middle Eastern leaders who question his understanding of the region.

In one of Netanyahu’s meetings with the president, the Israeli prime minister launched into something of a lecture about the dangers of the brutal region in which he lives, and Obama felt that Netanyahu was behaving in a condescending fashion, and was also avoiding the subject at hand: peace negotiations. Finally, the president interrupted the prime minister: “Bibi, you have to understand something, ” he said. “I’m the African American son of a single mother, and I live here, in this house. I live in the White House. I managed to get elected president of the United States. You think I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I do.” Other leaders also frustrate him immensely.”

US President Barack Obama (L) expressed solidarity with Turkey over the recent Russian jet

Obama added that his disagreement with Netanyahu was over what constituted them “getting the bomb.” Netanyahu saw the Iranians being capable of building a bomb as enough to constitute an attack, while Obama said the “American interest” was to prevent them from possessing a bomb.

Despite his disagreements with Netanyahu, Obama expressed to Goldberg his appreciation for the Israeli people.

Netanyahu is not alone in having incurred Obama’s displeasure.Goldberg says, Obama sees Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “failure and an authoritarian”, despite having been initially optimistic about what he had to offer as a leader.

 

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