White House Aide David Simas managed to make the current chilly US-Israel relationship even colder on CNN this morning. When reporter Alisyn Camerota asked Simas for a response from the Obama administration on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud government’s win in Tuesday’s Israel elections, he offered them a less-than-convincing congratulations.
"We want to congratulate the Israeli people for the democratic process for the election that they just engaged in with all the parties that engaged in that election. As you know now, the hard work of coalition building begins. Sometimes that takes a couple of weeks. And we're going to give space to the formation of that coalition government and we're not going to weigh in one way or another except to say that the United States and Israel have a historic and close relationship and that will continue going forward," Simas said.
To be fair:
Presidents traditionally congratulate an Israeli PM when he succeeds in forming a government. Bibi hasn't done that yet.— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) March 18, 2015
What's more, the White House's treatment of Netanyahu suggests we shouldn't hold our breath. To recap: in the past few weeks, the president has managed to interview with YouTube stars and read mean tweets on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and the First Lady took some time to dance with Ellen, yet neither one of them could attend Netanyahu’s historic speech to Congress earlier this month nor even offer the prime minister a meeting during his trip to the States.
It seems Netanyahu is doing quite well without their support, yet some kind of attention from the White House would be appreciated, especially considering our countries’ longstanding history.
President Obama is also jeopardizing America’s relationship with Israel by seriously considering to sign a nuclear agreement with Iran. Netanyahu has urged Obama to reject this ‘very bad deal,’ which he says would create a dangerous environment not just for Israel, but for the world.
Unfortunately, Netanyahu's pleas are not reaching the White House - their late night TV schedules must be keeping them busy.