Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

“Dumped for Dinner”

That’s part of the title of a piece from The Times regarding this week’s visit by Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House.

From this…

Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu Pictures, Images and Photos

To this…

Obama Face Palm Pictures, Images and Photos

Binyamin Netanyahu humiliated after Barack Obama ‘dumped him for dinner’

For a head of government to visit the White House and not pose for photographers is rare. For a key ally to be left to his own devices while the President withdraws to have dinner in private was, until this week, unheard of. Yet that is how Binyamin Netanyahu was treated by President Obama on Tuesday night, according to Israeli reports on a trip viewed in Jerusalem as a humiliation.

After failing to extract a written promise of concessions on settlements, Mr Obama walked out of his meeting with Mr Netanyahu but invited him to stay at the White House, consult with advisers and “let me know if there is anything new”, a US congressman, who spoke to the Prime Minister, said.


Sources said that Mr Netanyahu failed to impress Mr Obama with a flow chart purporting to show that he was not responsible for the timing of announcements of new settlement projects in east Jerusalem. Mr Obama was said to be livid when such an announcement derailed the visit to Israel by Joe Biden, the Vice-President, this month and his anger towards Israel does not appear to have cooled.


“The Prime Minister leaves America disgraced, isolated and altogether weaker than when he came,” the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz said.…

I am sure there are people who will denounce the President’s conduct as graceless or undiplomatic.  I doubt, though, that the President was amused by the treatment his Vice President received.  I am further sure he did not appreciate hearing around the time of the meeting that more construction had been approved despite the fancy flowcharts.

Where this all goes from here will be interesting.  But, anyone who thinks this President lacks spine needs to imagine being left to cool your heels after being dumped for a private dinner.


  1. Shaun Appleby

    On this.  But most people miss the big picture.  Irrespective of the pros and cons of the Israeli/US relationship Obama has managed to put some visible daylight between his administration and hard-line Likud government of Israel.

    THat may not move mountains but it is shifting perceptions in South Asia and the Middle East on what was an unshakeable truism of militant Islamicism, that Israel was undeniably the proxy for aggressive US policy towards the Muslim world.

    If that saves a dozen lives in Iraq or Afghanistan, or even causes a moment of doubt among wavering actors in the region, it is worth doing.  It’s not like the US/Israeli relationship is fundamentally threatened, as some would have us believe.

    And there are even unsubstantiated, but unlikely, rumours of rumblings within the Israeli coalition:

    Commentators said after an exceptionally chilly welcome received by the prime minister at the White House that Benjamin Netanyahu may be forced to alter the composition of his government, due to disagreements between his coalition and the US on construction in east Jerusalem.

    A Labor minister said Thursday that “the government in its current state may be in danger”. But a senior Likud minister disagreed, saying that it was “too soon to assume that the composition of the coalition will change”.

    Kadima Party members showed signs of agreeing to take part in the government, but only if their demands were met. “If Netanyahu kicks out Shas or Yisrael Beitenu we will join the government, but he must kick one of them out,” one official said.

    Attila Somfalvi – Labor minister: Government in danger Israel News via YNet 25 Mar 10

    Denials, of course, all ’round.

  2. HappyinVT

    the link to the article from The Times.  I should also have read Mr. Cole’s whole post because he also points to articles that suggest the US is not supplying Israel with jets and bunker buster bombs.

    There may have been more to the policy differences than just the lack of a state dinner. A report at the Herald Scotland site that the US was moving bunker busting bombs to the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia set off a flurry of speculation that the US was getting ready to move against Iran.

    But in reality, the US may well have been sequestering the bunker busters and denying them to Israel. Netanyahu came to Washington in part to ask for jets and other materiel, including the bunker busters.

    (BTW, I think Mr. Cole’s site should be added to our blogroll.)

  3. Shaun Appleby

    Is pulling no punches:

    The choice here is between continued construction in East Jerusalem during the negotiations and Israel’s future as a secure, democratic and Jewish state. A deterioration in relations with the U.S. administration is taking place at the peak of international efforts to block Iran and strengthen the axis of moderate Arab states. In the unnecessary fight with the United States, an essential ally for Israel, the Netanyahu government is showing itself to be the most extremist and dangerous in the country’s history.

    THe Editors – A dangerous government Haaretz 26 Mar 10

    And the preliminary press availabilities at the Arab League in Tripoli indicate impatience, to say the least, from Turkey, Jordan and Palestine.

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