Monday, March 30, 2015
12 Jewish House Dems Tell Obama: Stop the Bibi Bashing 'Our constituents believe that the administration is stabbing Israel in the back,' a participant in the meeting said.
Twelve Jewish congressmen met Deputy NationalAdviser Ben Rhodes last week to convey a message of cease-and-desist to US President Barack Obama, regarding his persistent attacks on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after the latter's reelection.
Politico reveals that the meeting was held in the House's Longworth House Office Building last week, and describes the Jewish delegation's message as: “Enough. They’re just as upset about what Binyamin Netanyahu said ruling out a two-state solution, but President Barack Obama didn’t need to keep reminding them and everyone else.”
Obama and his aides, the Jewish congressmen said, “had to stop acting as if the Israeli prime minister’s comments are the only thing holding up a peace process that’s been abandoned for a year while not expressing a word of disappointment about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - and openly toying with allowing the Palestinians their provocative recognition bid at the United Nations.”
Has it worked? Rhodes reportedly left the meeting on the Hill “agreeing to relay a message of tamping down the rhetoric.” Since then,Dovere, Obama and White press secretary Josh Earnest have avoided making more incendiary against Netanyahu.
The White House “has worked to cool down the rhetoric and public tension” with Israel, but it’s “not letting go,” writes Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere.
“We’ve made our point. The message has clearly been received,” a WhiteHouse official said. “The next move is theirs (i.e. Israel's - ed.), presumably after the new government has been formed.”
On the night of the Israeli elections, “top people in the West Wing were holding out hope for the opposition even as therolled in,” writesDovere. “They’ve gone very public with their complaint about Netanyahu in the two weeks since as they’ve internalized that he really will be the Israeli leader for Obama’s whole presidency, years of animosity brought to a boil by a speech to Congress that was unprecedented in having a foreign leader attack White House policy from the House floor.”
Among those present at the meeting were Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
The meeting was the latest in aof regular briefings Rhodes has been holding with Jewish members of Congress about the Iran nuclear negotiations.
“The aggressive approach to Netanyahu was a problem,” they reportedly told him, "since the White House has made clear that it will be looking for their support in convincing people that the deal they’re hoping to get with Iran doesn’t put Israel in danger."
“You want us to go out and say the administration’s got Israel’s back. How are you going to get us to say that when our constituents believe that the administration is stabbing Israel in the back?” one Democratic Jewish member of Congress said later.