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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="'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. America The Beautiful

    We believe in spare the rod, spoil the child.

    America has new leadership with a different cultural background than other presidents.

    We will spank Israel now .... IF REQUIRED

    March 28, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Sniffit

    Some news flashes to the vocal MINORITY the Goppers are
    Obama Approval 57-43
    HC Bill support 61-38

    You LOSE

    March 28, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. DS

    So basically, Israel wants us to keep giving them billions of dollars in aid and take the brunt of the Muslim world's anger for supporting them. And what do we get in return? Oh yes, a "great" ally in the Middle East who spies on us and blows up our ship. But of course they're God's chosen people so we should just pay, shut up, and let Israel do whatever it wants. What's a few American lives compared to saving the great land of Israel that was promised to them by God least according to them. God has not confirmed this so far.

    March 28, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Ken in NC

    I do not agree that it was a snub but so what if it was. Israel has been at war with the Palestinians going back 20 years before the beginning of time. Countries are trying to bring some form of peace to the waring people and neither the people of Palestine or Israel want peace but they are both taking our money and aid.

    Stop giving to both and tell them to go to war and for one of them to call us after it is over. They are not stupid over there. Israel knows it cannot take on the entire Arab world and the Arab nations know that none of them wants to suffer from multiple nucler blast delivered by Israel. There would be know clear winner in such a war but there would be losses on both sides from which none of them would recover.

    March 28, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Bill

    Once again Axelrod is a frigging idiot. Anyone who thinks the lover of all things Muslim living in the White House is a friend of Israel medications to get back on their medication. This administration will do whatever it takes to turn Israel over to the Palestinians and whoever wants it.

    March 28, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Sniffit

    Shouldn't all you Christian Values Goppers be in church rather than making Muslim/racist remarks on Palm Sunday?

    March 28, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. JoJo

    Mr. Natanyahu comes to the US with his hypocrisy in his pocket, and continue his lies about the situation in Israel. He claimed in the sake of Israel survival that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel since over 3000 years ago. If that was the truth how come east Jerusalem was in the hand of the Jordanian since the six days war. If Israel was concerned too much over Jerusalem I would have think that Israel would have made an effort to regain East Jerusalem long time before. But now with Mr, Natanyahu hypocrisy he comes and tell us East Jerusalem belong to them 3000 years ago. They are as bad as the one that hold a knife to behead someone and turn to their God to justify their actions.

    March 28, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Israel needs to snub the US, and tell the US once and for all, that they have spent 40 yrs. trying to gain peace, and it has been rejected by the Palestinians each and every time.

    It is time for the US to wise up, and recognize that the Palestinians have played the US for suckers......getting millions and billions in aid, while having zero intention in making peace.

    If Obama is so blind, he can't see what is in his face, then he doesn't deserve the job he has.

    March 28, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Manhandler

    Withdraw ALL aid, both financial and military, from the Israeli brutes until they begin to act like they're serious about peace with the Palestinians.

    March 28, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Mickey

    Israel should be at the TOP of our Terrorist Watch List.

    'nuf said...

    March 28, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. pt

    Bill, what you think of the right is how I think of the left. Plus, There are a lot more evidence of those lefties' negative words and actions than for the righties.
    Those that tread on Israel, just remember Israel took the land from neighbors who attempted to ambush and murder them. Israel is not preventing Palestinians from developing a good nation, it's their leaders who do not put any time, effort, and donated billions where it will help build a nation. Learn actual history. Palestinians' neighbors never helped them before that war and now only help them just enough to play them as willing pawns.

    March 28, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. D.

    Hell no and we believe you Mr. "typical court Jew" who enables the ruler to mistreat Israel and gamble big with its security! Everything this guy says sounds like campaigning.

    March 28, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Bed time for Raygun

    They were behind the World Trade Center laughing.They flew a false flag.

    March 28, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Viet. Vet

    I keep hearing Isreal is one of our allies, allies of what, they offer the US absoutley nothing, Isreal depends on the US for its total exixtence, A lot of Americans better take off those blinders. The only reason they continue to treat the Palestinians like American treated Blacks during the Jim Crow era because they know they can get away with it because of the large Jewish Lobbing arm in DC who yell and call anyone who speak the truth about Isreal a anti-semite.If the US was to withdraw the yearly financial and military support to Isreal they would cease to exist , they have no other allies , yet they constantly slap the US on both side of the face, showing us their backside anytime they feel like doing so with no consquence, you don't do that to your allies. Wakeup America!!

    March 28, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. Auntie Sam Height

    The very existence of jews is a snub to the entire world. These people suck.

    March 28, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. black viper

    The goal of israel is never to advocate for peace. It's to erase palestine from the map. That is why they are against the two state solution. They believe the current land they have will not sustain their growing population.
    That is why they continue to build settlements on palestinian lands and continue to the arabs and muslims.
    Because of them terrorists has an argument to convince more muslims to join their cause to put our security at risk.
    They have better security because they can easily infiltrate the arab world because they speak the language fluently and most look like arabs which the west is almost incapable of doing.
    We like israel because they jews are the top bankers in USA and owes most of the world assets but we cannot continue to support a kid that refuses to listen to his father and doing thinks to put the security of the whole world in danger.

    March 28, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Randi L.

    Israel is an apartheid nation that continues to dicriminate against and deny a vote to Palestinians living in its territory. Israel terrorizes civilians by indiscriminately killing them, destroying their homes, stealing their property, forcing them to live in poverty, demoralizing, and radicalizing them. We should not support such racism, brutality, and thievery with our money or our words.

    March 28, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Keith in Austin

    Natanyahu WAS snubbed! The FACT is that Obama has an inbred dislike for Jews and has familiar roots within the Muslim world. Although he bows to Arab kings while defaming America all over the world, he has never once set foot in Israel.

    I doubt seriously that Barry would have treated Hugo Chavez with the same disrespect! Very doubtful and that speaks volumes regarding the true colors of our POTUS!

    March 28, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. terry,va.

    Obummie left a meeting with Netanyahu to have dinner with his family. Good manners would tell you not to do that to a stranger much less the leader of our closest ally in the Middle East (at least until Obummie took over.) I can't believe that he has bowed before Arabs/Muslims all over the world and he spits on Netanyahu. Shows you his true colors doesn't it?

    March 28, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Grandpa Vern

    This can be solved by simply separating God from money.

    March 28, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    There is no snub here people it's your imagination running wild. With relationship so bad between Republicans and Democrats the President did the right thing because Republicans would and are attempting to fuel the flames between the U.S. and Israel. Think about it.

    March 28, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. Fitz in Texas

    'There was no snub intended'.......sure there wasn't. (insert sarcasm)

    I will say one thing this administration is very very good at.....They sure know how to lie.

    March 28, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. lisa schaefer

    The Jewish community should be outraged at Obama's treatment of Israel he can't take a photo Netanyahu but he can walk the red carpet with Karzi. Wake up AIPAC . lisa

    March 28, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Demian Barrett

    If Israel was not snubbed it should have been. Israel is a Middle East country that has been nothing but a pain in our foreign policy butt.

    No matter how hard we try to be the hinest broker between parties, the Israeli keep sabotoging our efforts.

    If Israel will not allow the US to broker responsibly, then it is time to give the issue to the UN and force Israel to return to 1967 borders.

    Maybe then they will understand what they have lost.

    March 28, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Mike in NYC

    Quote (not mine, regretfully unattributed):

    "The relationship between Israel and the US is like the relationship between a mosquito and your blood supply."

    Christians who worship Israel should take note of the open contempt, often physical violence, with which Christian tourists are greeted by Israelis.

    March 28, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
1 2 3