Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Obama Administration Trying To Get It's Story Straight On Why Won't Meet With Netanyahu

Did Obama snub Netanyahu by rejecting his request for a meeting, citing a scheduling conflict?

Legal Insurrection, quoting the original Haaretz, writes: Report – Obama declines request from Netanyahu for meeting in D.C., says too busy --
The White House declined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request on Tuesday to meet U.S. President Barack Obama during a UN conference in New York at the end of the month.
An official in Jerusalem said that the prime minister’s office sent the White House a message stating that although Netanyahu will spend only two and a half days on U.S. soil, he is interested in meeting Obama and is willing to travel to the U.S. capital specifically for that purpose. The official added that the White House rejected the request and said that at this time Obama’s schedule does not allow for a meeting.

The White House’s response marks a new low in relations between Netanyahu and Obama, underscored by the fact that this is the first time Netanyahu will visit the U.S. as prime minister without meeting the president.
This amounts to the biggest snub of Israel since...well, since earlier this week when Jerusalem's status as the capital of Israel was left out of the Democratic Platform.

But just as the Democrats did an about face and forced mention of Jerusalem back into the platform, here too the White House did a 180 -- and with about just as much finesse.

The White House now claims Netanyahu never requested a meeting in the first place:
"Contrary to previous press reports, there was never any request for a meeting between the Prime Minister and President in Washington, nor was this request ever denied," U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told reporters by email.
But if there was never an request for a meeting, why did all of the original responses cite a scheduling conflict with a meeting that was never requested?

Vietor is the one who first claimed a scheduling conflict was why Obama wouldn't meet Netanyahu:
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed to Fox News that Obama is not expected to meet with Netanyahu, though insisted it was just a scheduling problem. He said Obama will be at the United Nations on Sept. 24 and leave the following day, while Netanyahu won’t be in the city until later in the week.
Another source in that same Fox news story also confirms that there was a proposed meeting:
One well-placed Jewish-American leader told Fox News that the White House has not yet fully ruled out moving things around on the schedule to accommodate Netanyahu. But as of now, Obama is scheduled to be on the campaign trail during the window of time when Netanyahu can make it to Washington “Discussions are ongoing,” the source emphasized.
Fortunately, he was able to clear his schedule next week so that while in New York to go to the UN General Assembly Obama will be able to meet with Dave Letterman.

Netanyahu's best bet may be to take up golf.

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