Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, criticized President Obama for his conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the G-20 last week that was picked up by a hot microphone.
“I can’t see him anymore, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day,” President Obama replied.
Said Foxman, “We are deeply disappointed and saddened by this decidedly un-Presidential exchange between Presidents Sarkozy and Obama. President Obama’s response to Mr. Sarkozy implies that he agrees with the French leader.”
Foxman continued, “In light of the revelations here, we hope that the Obama Administration will do everything it can to reassure Israel that the relationship remains on a sure footing and to reinvigorate the trust between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, which clearly is not what it should be. What is sad is that we now have to worry to what extent these private views inform foreign policy decisions of the U.S. and France – two singularly important players in the peace process.
Republicans also pounced on the comments.
“President Obama’s derisive remarks about Israel’s Prime Minister confirm what any observer would have gleaned from his public statements and actions toward our longstanding ally, Israel,” GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney said in a statement. “At a moment when the Jewish state is isolated and under threat, we cannot have an American president who is disdainful of our special relationship with Israel. We have here yet another reason why we need new leadership in the White House.”
Rep. Michele Bachman, R-Minn., said the comments demonstrated Obama’s “lack of commitment to the nation of Israel. ”
“When the President complains about his relationship derisively with the Prime Minister as ‘Having to deal with him every day,’ it is apparent that he is not committed to our ally Israel,” she said. Bachmann called “on the President to immediately apologize to Prime Minister Netanyahu and he should demonstrate leadership and demand that the French President do the same.”
And on Fox News Channel, Mr. Obama’s 2008 opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said “obviously I would probably fire some aides that allowed that to happen if I were in their place.. It really is indicative of the attitude and policies that this administration has towards Israel.”
-Jake Tapper, with Sunlen Miller and Russell Goldman