Reacting to the report that President Barack Obama repeatedly said “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are,” Tzipi Livni—chairwoman of Israel’s new Hatnuah party—said the remarks “need to wake up every Israeli citizen.”
“One can love or not love the U.S. president, but we are speaking about our greatest friend and about Israel’s security,” she said.
A senior Likud official said the president’s remarks represent “a blatant meddling by the U.S. president in Israeli elections,” Israel Hayom reported.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, in a statement to Politico on Tuesday, did not confirm or deny Obama’s comments, as reported by Jeffrey Goldberg for Bloomberg View.
“The president has been clear in stating what he believes is a realistic basis for successful negotiations, and we will continue to base our efforts on that approach,” Vietor said. “He has also consistently stated that the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering, and he has backed up this commitment with tangible action.”
British journalist Nile Gardiner, in a blog post for The Daily Telegraph, wrote Obama’s reported comments “take the U.S. president’s hostility against Netanyahu to new heights, and are a major diplomatic faux pas ahead of next week’s Israeli election, which Netanyahu is widely expected to win… They also reveal a remarkable degree of antipathy towards America’s closest friend and ally in the Middle East, and an unhealthy willingness to intervene in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation state.”