March 28th, 2010
09:52 AM ET
3 years ago

Obama adviser on Israel: 'There was no snub intended'

'Israel is a close, dear, and valued friend of the U.S., a great ally,' Obama adviser David Axelrod said.
'Israel is a close, dear, and valued friend of the U.S., a great ally,' Obama adviser David Axelrod said.

Washington (CNN) – The president’s recent closed-door meeting with Israel’s prime minister - which lacked the fanfare and niceties normally associated with greeting another world leader - was a working meeting where issues in the U.S.-Israeli relationship were discussed bluntly, White House senior adviser David Axelrod said.

Asked about the low-key way in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was greeted at the White House last week, Axelrod dismissed any suggestion that the lack of formalities was intended to send a message to Israel.

“[T]here was no snub intended,” Axelrod said in an interview that airs Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“This was not about a ceremonial meeting,” Axelrod told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “This was a working meeting.”

Related: Obama, Netanyahu meet at White House

Axelrod added, “Look, Israel is a close, dear, and valued friend of the U.S., a great ally. That is an unshakeable bond. But sometimes part of friendship is expressing yourself bluntly.”

Asked why the United States did not simply withhold the billions of dollars in aid it gives Israel every year, the Obama adviser responded that the administration was working its way through its concerns with Israel. “We think we're doing it in the appropriate way,” he said, “And I'm confident that we will make progress. But we're going to make it by being blunt and straightforward, as allies are, and use the channel, the appropriate channels.”

Asked whether the U.S.-Israeli relationship was tense, Axelrod was again diplomatic in his response.

“As I said, I think the relationship ultimately is strong. But we are – we have an abiding interest in the long-term security of Israel and the region. And we're going to do what we can to provide leadership in that direction.”

The relationship between the two allies has appeared strained recently. Israel’s announcement of plans for new settlements in a disputed area in East Jerusalem, which was made during Vice President Biden’s visit to the Middle Eastern country, resulted in a stinging rebuke from Secretary of State Clinton. Some political observers suggested last week that Netanyahu’s low-key greeting from the White House was meant to send a message to Israel.

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. God bless the Mosaad

    Israel will never listen to anyone – including the U.S. They are a tiny little piece of Holy real-esate surrounded by a bunch of jealous desert nations who want to destroy them and take over that nice beach front property.

    March 28, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. notfooledtx

    The President played this perfectly.

    Netanyahu seriously underestimated Pres. Obama – BIG mistake. Netanyahu tried to play Obama like a chump, and as a result it was Netanyahu who left with his head hanging and his tail tucked between his legs.

    March 28, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Dr. Randall Norris, Ph.D.

    Israel has no desire to "negotiate" with Palestinians, but dictate to them and keep them as an underclass to be their, hhhhhh....sharecroppers, polite word, forever. When they shot that five year old kid on purpose while his Dad tried to protect him all respect I had for Israel, which was once considerable, disappeared. It is a theocracy no better than Iran, just a different bunch of religious zealots. For the first time I see where CNN is suggesting we pull our billions in aide. Israel needs to remember the "golden rule" that he who has the gold, that would be us and my tax dollars, make the rules. Obviously our friends need some help to be "encouraged" in a more humanitarian direction before they become the thing they so despise, if they haven't already!

    March 28, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. RTB

    Israel has been a thorn in our side for too long. We get far less out of the lopsided relationship with the Israelis than what we provide to them.

    It is time to re- evaluate the relationship, especially from the reference point of the continuing settlement building. Or do we have to have another 9/11 for this country to wake up to the fact that we are being the patsies for the Israelis.

    They have NO INTENTIONS of having peace with the Palestinians. They just want to grab their land. Then blame the victims.

    March 28, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. dan from ohio

    Time and time again, Israel has tried to make peace with the Palestinians, and each time the offers have been outright rejected. The fact is that the Palestinian leadership and Arab/Muslim governments don't want a peaceful solution. They want the conflict to continue until Israel is no more.

    As long as Israel exists, the Arab/Muslim street will feel "ashamed" and "dishonored" and "offended," the worst of crimes in that part of the world. They will never let it go.

    And lest you forget, Israel COMPLETELY removed every last soldier, every last settler, indeed every last Jew from Gaza. The result: Hamas took over and launched rockets into Israel.

    Also, if you look at what's taught about Jews in Palestinian schools, you'd see there's little hope for the future. Kids are taught that Jews are evil, bloodthirsty monsters. Cartoons and children's shows encourage young children do become suicide bombers. When dressing up in costumes, parents dress infants as suicide bombers. That's their culture.

    In The West Bank, streets and squares are named after "successful" suicide bombers. Their photos are hung all over town, honoring what they've done. These are not the actions of people who want peace.

    March 28, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Larry

    The Israeli's are a terrorist organization, that has been using bombs, tanks and jets to reign terror down upon a near helpless people, and all while the rest of the world sits back and does nothing

    The Palestinian people have been murdered, had their lands stolen and been left to barely survive, unfortunately with the help of the United States

    This injustice MUST stop

    We are no longer in the DARK AGES people

    Israel needs to be brought to justice for theirs crimes against humanity

    The Palestinians need to be freed from the cage they have been placed in, and given back all that has been taken ....... TODAY !!!

    March 28, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Gerald Martin

    Wow. Lots of hate here. Facts should speak for themselves but apparently that is too much to ask. 1) Israel seized land abandoned by Palestinians and neighboring countries during wars as buffers against future attacks. 2) They are still being attacked by Palestinian terrorists. Personally, I think they should retaliate with more force than they have. They show more restraint than we (the United States) do when we are attacked. If the Mexican cartels were to start lobbing missiles across the border we would crush them. Go Israel!

    March 28, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. ANTHONY

    Israel is the problem, unfortunately. They might end up being the Pearl Harbor to yet another world war.

    March 28, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. thanks, but no thanks

    So, let me get this straight. Israel snubbing our vice President Joe Biden is allowed, but god forbid snub Israel prime minister is a sin. Sometimes you get what you ask for. Israel decision during Biden's visit was not a smart one. Let them have their own medicine. Israel argument is that God gave the land to Jews. l am afraid of any group who justifies their means by God. It always ends up to more bloodshed. There is no reason for Israelis and Palestininans to live together next to each other, no matter what you would like to call it. Israel is being high-jacked by extremest whackos, also. And we all know what they are capable. Like killing their own people for disagreeing with them. That is why they should not bring God in the argument...

    March 28, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. HypocriCNN...And Again, And Again!

    Israeli Leaders Need To Stop With Their School Yard Bully Tactics On Palistenians. President Obama Does, Will, And Always Support The People And The Security Of Israel.

    March 28, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. rachid

    i hope that US deal with all countries in fair relatinship so, everything will be safe and sound as well the palestinians and jewishes both together.

    March 28, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
1 2 3