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Netanyahu Aides: Obama Meddling in Israeli Elections

By Israel Hayom &

The White House is not denying a report that President Barack Obama repeatedly said that "Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are," POLITICO reported.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, in a statement to POLITICO did not confirm or deny that Obama made the comment "or what was allegedly discussed in private meetings. The president has been clear in stating what he believes is a realistic basis for successful negotiations, and we will continue to base our efforts on that approach," Vietor said. "He has also consistently stated that the U.S. commitment to Israel's security is unwavering, and he has backed up this commitment with tangible action."

Sources close to Prime Minister Binyaminn Netanyahu brushed off Obama's critical remarks, as published in an article by Jeffrey Goldberg on Bloomberg News. "The prime minister will continue to protect the national interests of the State of Israel, and will not make any compromises that will undermine the security of Israeli citizens," one Netanyahu associate said.

According to Atlantic Monthly columnist Goldberg, Obama said privately and repeatedly, "Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are. With each new settlement announcement, in Obama's view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation," wrote Goldberg, who is believed to have steady access to the White House.

"When informed about the Israeli decision [to announce construction plans in the E1 zone as a punishment for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' U.N. move], Obama, who has a famously contentious relationship with the prime minister, didn't even bother getting angry," Goldberg wrote. "He told several people that this sort of behavior on Netanyahu's part is what he has come to expect, and he suggested that he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart.

"The dysfunctional relationship between Netanyahu and Obama is poised to enter a new phase. On matters related to the Palestinians, the president seems to view the prime minister as a political coward; an essentially unchallenged leader who nevertheless is unwilling to lead or spend political capital to advance the cause of compromise.

"Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, Obama's nominee to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, is said to be eager to re-energize the Middle East peace process, but Obama — who already has a Nobel Peace Prize — is thought to be considerably more wary. He views the Abbas' government as weak, but he has become convinced that Netanyahu is so captive to the settler lobby, and so uninterested in making anything more than the slightest conciliatory gesture toward Palestinian moderates, that an investment of presidential interest in the peace process wouldn't be a wise use of his time.

"Obama, since his time in the Senate, has been consistent in his analysis of Israel's underlying challenge: If it doesn't disentangle itself from the lives of West Bank Palestinians, the world will one day decide it is behaving as an apartheid state," Goldberg wrote.

Diplomatic sources close to Netanyahu responded to the article: "In the last four years Netanyahu stood strong in the face of all the international pressure. As President Obama said, security cooperation between the two countries is as deep as it ever has been. We saw this recently during Operation Pillar of Defense, when the U.S. equipped us with Iron Dome batteries. Netanyahu won't let Iran go nuclear, he won't retreat to 1967 lines, and he won't allow Jerusalem to be divided," the diplomatic source said.

Meanwhile, a senior Likud official disparaged the president's remarks. "This is blatant meddling by the U.S. president in Israeli elections. The fingerprints of the Israeli Left are all over it."

Hatnuah Chairwoman Tzipi Livni also jumped on the bandwagon. "One can love or not love the U.S. president, but we are speaking about our greatest friend and about Israel's security. Therefore these remarks need to wake up every Israeli citizen."

In related news, the White House responded with a week's delay to remarks by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who last week was discovered to have said in September 2010 that Israelis are "the descendants of apes and pigs."

"The language that we have seen is deeply offensive," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred."

The Obama administration called for Morsi to respect people from every religion and said that such remarks are not acceptable in a democratic Egypt. "This kind of discourse has been acceptable in the region for far too long, and is counter to the goal of peace," Carney said.

Morsi clarified that he respects people from every religion and that such remarks are not acceptable in a democratic Egypt. He said Wednesday that his virulent anti-Semitic comments, which he reportedly said prior to his election and which were condemned by the United States were taken out of context.

"The president stressed they were taken from comments on the Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and stressed the need to put the remarks in the right context," said a statement from the president's office issued following a meeting between Morsi and United States Senator John McCain on Wednesday.

In a TV clip released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Morsi refers in a 2010 interview to "occupiers of Palestine" as "blood suckers and war mongers, and descendants of pigs and apes. We must resist them with all forms of resistance. A military resistance in Palestine against these Zionist criminals assaulting the land of Palestine and Palestinians," he says in the remarks to Quds Channel three years ago.

In Wednesday's statement, Morsi "stressed his commitment to the principles he has always insisted on, including full respect for religions, freedom of faith and religious practices, especially the heavenly religions." He also "stressed the need to differentiate between Judaism and its adherents from (those who practice) violent actions against Palestinians."

Largest Anti-Muslim Ad Campaign Hits NY Subway System


The group behind last year's controversial anti-Jihadist advertisements that appeared throughout the New York subway system is planning what is expected to be its largest campaign to date.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative purchased space next to 228 clocks in 39 New York subway stations for ads with an image of the burning World Trade Center and a quote attributed to the Quran saying: "Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers." The clocks are suspended from ceilings above subway platforms in stations across the city. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said the ads went up Monday and will run for a month.

In September, the group displayed similar ads in transit stations, which read "Support Israel. Defeat Jihad" and characterized Islamist opponents of the Jewish state as "savages." Nearly all of the ads were vandalized shortly after they had been posted.

Officials at the MTA initially rejected the campaign, citing its demeaning language. However, the American Freedom Defense Initiative sued and in July won a federal court ruling on First Amendment grounds. In September, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Amended its advertising policy to require all such advertisements to include a disclaimer that they do not imply the authority's endorsement of their views, The New York Times reported.

The authority's new guidelines also included prohibitions on ads that the agency "reasonably foresees would imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace."

The group's executive director Pamela Geller said that the advertisements — intended to be displayed beside actual clocks, not the countdown clocks that predict train arrivals — cost roughly $320 each for a four-week placement — about $70,000 for all the clocks, according to The Times. She said that the clocks were her latest advertising target "because metaphorically it's so powerful. The clock is ticking, from a civilizational point of view."

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