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Microphone Tells Tale Of Growing US-Israel Gap – OpEd


Despite pretentiously showing gestures of friendship and cordiality, the ideological gap between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is getting wider.

The contents of a recent would-be private conversation between the US president and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, in which the two described Netanyahu as a “liar,” has infuriated the Zionist lobby in the West and once again underscored the growing conflicts between the US and its client state, Israel.

According to Russia Today, the Frenchman told his American counterpart in a what was supposed to be a confidential discussion on the sidelines of G20 summit in Cannes that “I can’t stand him,” referring to the Prime Minister of the Zionist regime. Obama’s reply was “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!”

According to the French website “Arret Sur Images,” the private conversation between the two was broadcast to a half-dozen-strong press crowd when microphones were accidentally left switched on.

The Russian network further adds that “the tensions between the Israeli leader and some of his Western partners, including Obama, are no big secret, but the differences have not been brought to the public eye in such blunt terms before.”

Although Obama has recurrently talked of his commitment to the security of Israel and shattered the pieces of Palestinians for realizing statehood by saying that “there’s no shortcut to peace” and implying in his UN General Assembly address that the US would veto any UNSC resolution demanding Palestine’s membership in the UN, he cannot withhold from the public his confrontations with the pigheaded Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu who has ruled out any possibility of recognizing Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders and retreating from the Occupied Territories.

In May 2011, Reuters reported that a bilateral meeting of Obama and Netanyahu has ended bitterly as the US president had insisted on starting peace negotiations, based on which Israel should have accepted the pre-1967 war borders and conceded the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) to Palestinians. The inflexible and stubborn Israeli Prime Minister, however, had responded to Obama’s appeal disdainfully, saying that “peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of the Middle East reality.”

Obama had nervously stressed that the goal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has to be establishing “a secure Israeli state, a Jewish state, living side by side in peace and security with a contiguous, functioning and effective Palestinian state.” But the obstinate Netanyahu had responded by saying that “we can’t go back to those indefensible lines,” indicating an unfriendly acrimony between the stalwart allies.

According to some Israeli officials, Benjamin Netanyahu was determined to react to Obama in a hard-hitting and unsympathetic manner because the reference to 1967 borders would be considered “a red flag that would attract more international pressure on Israel for concessions.” A senior Israeli official said Netanyahu had felt he had to speak bluntly so that he would be “heard around the world.”

“There is a feeling that Washington does not understand the reality, doesn’t understand what we face,” an official on board the plane taking Netanyahu to Washington told reporters.

So, it’s clear that Israel does not hesitate to embarrass its largest and most powerful supporter before the eyes of the international community, should it sense an iota of threat that might be compelled to make concessions and abandon its expansionistic policies.

Now, the neoconservative pundits and right-wing politicians around the world are extremely frustrated with Barack Obama and believe that if he wants to secure a second term in the Oval Office, he should satisfy the demands of Israel and as the first step, block Palestine’s efforts to join the UN and other international organizations.

Extremist, right-wing journalists and politicians believe that Obama’s behavior toward the Palestinians is too lenient for a US president and that he has failed to meet the interests of Israel as its number one political ally. Elliot Abrams, a Middle East expert in the George W. Bush administration says that Obama’s short comment on Netanyahu in a meeting with Sarkozy is not something to be gotten away with negligently, “If this were only a matter of personal relations between Obama and Netanyahu, it could be left at that. But it is far more consequential, for by that comment — and especially as it was made in private and can be interpreted as his actual view — President Obama has joined the chorus of assaults on the Jewish State.”

At any rate, it’s clear that Obama has serious ideological differences with Netanyahu, even though he has assured AIPAC that “the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad.”

Even if he wants to, Obama cannot tread a path which is not in accordance with the interests of the Israeli regime. As Naseer Aruri, a Chancellor Professor (emeritus) of Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth puts it, “no politician with an anti-Zionist mindset can even dream of living in the White House.”

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Kourosh Ziabari

Kourosh Ziabari is an award-winning Iranian journalist, writer and media correspondent. He represents Fair Observer and Your Middle East in Iran. He also conducts interviews and writes commentaries for the Iran Review news and analysis website as a staff writer and reporter. His articles and interviews have been published on Tehran Times, Press TV, International Policy Digest, Foreign Policy Journal, Global Research, Turkish Weekly Journal, Strategic Culture Foundation, Al-Arabiya, Counterpunch, Voltaire Network, Baltimore Chronicle and Opinion Maker. He currently blogs for The Huffington Post and writes op-eds for the UK-based Middle East Eye. In 2009, while an undergraduate student of English Language and Literature, he was selected to represent the Middle East students in the International Student Energy Summit 2009 in Calgary, Canada. Kourosh Ziabari is working with Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations as an Iran analyst. He has conducted interviews with some 380 prominent world leaders, politicians, diplomats, UN officials, academicians, public intellectuals, authors, media personalities, journalists and historians. Kourosh Ziabari is the winner of the silver medal at the National Festival of Superior Iranian Youth. He has won three awards in Iran's National Press Festival and also been a member of the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing. He was a member of Stony Brook Independent magazine's editorial board and a member of the Kenya-based World Student Community for Sustainable Development. In June 2015, he received a fellowship from Deutsche Welle / European Youth Press to attend and cover the Global Media Forum 2015 in the German city of Bonn. In August 2015, he was named by the Hawaii-based East-West Center as a Senior Journalists Seminar Fellow 2015 to travel to the United States, Malaysia and Pakistan for a reporting and dialog tour aimed at bridging the gaps in the relations between the United States and the Muslim world. He is also a recipient of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellowship in Cultural Journalism awarded to him in November 2015 by the FNPI foundation in Colombia.

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