Obama invents new US policy to avoid meeting with Netanyahu, meets and endorses Cameron for UK Prime Minister
Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of Congress has been moved to March 3, when he was supposed to be in Washington anyway for AIPAC's annual convention (a trip that the Obama administration had approved). But Obama has invented a new policy
and will use it to avoid meeting with Netanyahu during his trip.
The decision, said the White House, is in line with US policy not to meet foreign leaders on dates that are close to national elections in their countries.
"The president will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu
because of the proximity to the Israeli election," said National
Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan
The date for Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to Congress has been
pushed back by a fortnight to March 3, House Speaker John Boehner
announced Thursday on his Twitter feed.
Boehner said that Netanyahu asked that the speech be rescheduled so that he can participate
in the annual AIPAC conference as well. This means that the speech to
Congress will be delivered just two weeks before the Israeli elections
on March 17.
Boehner: "I am honored by this invitation, which reflects the special
friendship shared by Israel and the United States as well as the strong
bipartisan support for Israel across America.
"Just last week I
discussed with President Obama the common challenges we face from
Islamist extremism, including resurgent terrorism and Iran's pursuit of
"I look forward to
being able to share with the joint session Israel's vision for working
together to address these threats and to reiterate Israel's commitment
to the bond that unites our two democracies."
But an out-and-out endorsement
of another country's candidate for Prime Minister is okay in Obama's book.
US President Barack Obama today handed David Cameron an extraordinary pre-election endorsement, hailing the British Prime Minister as a 'great friend'.
With less than four months until voters go to the polls in the tightest UK election for years, Mr Obama used a press conference in the White House to give the strongest possible backing to a fellow world leader.
Mr Cameron has been in Washington for a high profile visit just months before the British general election. The two men dined together in the White House last night, on mushrooms, lamb and warm pear cake.
Images of Mr Cameron with the US President, who is more popular in the UK than in America, will be seen as a huge boost to Tory hopes of contrasting Mr Cameron with Labour's Ed Miliband to be PM.
But the highly unusual personal support from a Democrat President will delight Tory strategists and cause dismay for Labour, who hoped a visit to Washington last year had bolstered his image as a potential statesman.
Mr Cameron revealed in an interview this month that Mr Obama often calls him 'bro' when they meet.
'Yes, he sometimes calls me 'Bro',' the PM said.
The US President today said commentators had got into a 'tizzy' about he meant meant by it and sparked a debate about even the definition and origin of the word 'bro'.
Seeking to clear up the confusion, Mr Obama said: 'Put simply, David is a great friend. He is one of my closet and most trusted partners in the world. On many of the most pressing challenges that we face we see the world the same way.
'Great Britain is our indispensable partner, and David has been personally an outstanding partner - and I thank you for your friendship.'
In response, Mr Cameron told the President: 'You are a great friend to Britain, and me personally.'
Maybe the US policy starts tomorrow?
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, David Cameron, Knesset elections 2015