On Monday The Blaze reported on President Obama’s not-so-private conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy where the two men were overheard on an open mic making disparaging comments about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Today, a freshman House Republican called on President Obama to formally apologize for these exceedingly critical comments.
“I find President Obama’s criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu highly offensive and call on him to issue a formal apology on behalf of the American people,” Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said in a statement Tuesday. “Whether the microphones are on or off, the message to our allies in Israel should always remain the same: ‘We stand with you.’”
In the conversation between the two heads of state, Sarkozy told Obama that he “cannot stand Netanyahu; he’s a liar.” To which Obama replied, “you’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!”
Grimm characterized Obama’s comments as “disgraceful and inappropriate coming from someone who holds the highest office in the United States.” He added that “they provide a poor and inaccurate reflection of the American people he was elected to represent, and they must be rescinded.”
Meanwhile, the White House has declined to comment on the incident. When asked about the exchange, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at Tuesday’s daily briefing: “I don’t have any comment on the specific conversation.” Carney then equivocally added in broader terms that:
“This president’s position has been quite clear on the issue of efforts by the Palestinians to achieve through the United Nations what can only be achieved effectively through direct negotiations. And the President believes very firmly that both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, need to take those steps that bring them closer together to direct negotiations and not ones that make it harder to have that happen.”
Not surprisingly for its part, France voted last week to support Palestinian membership in UNESCO despite intense efforts by the U.S. to urge a “no” vote on the move.
The incident perhaps not only betrays Obama’s true feelings about Netanyahu, but certainly casts much doubt on his ability to remain an impartial broker in dealing with the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Undoubtedly, this incident will only increase the number of lawmakers who continue to voice concern about Obama’s stance on Israel.