ZOA Calls On Presidents Obama And Sarkozy To Apologize For Personal Attack On Israeli PM Netanyahu
November 9, 2011

ZOA Applauds Sen. John McCain, Michele Bachman and Mitt Romney for

Denouncing Obama/Sarkozy Hostility to Israel




The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is calling on  President Barack Obama and French President  Sarkozy to apologize for their personal attacks on Israeli Prime Minister  Netanyahu which demonstrated  their hostility towards Israel.

“Presidents Obama and Sarkozy owe Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Israeli people and all supporters of Israel an apology,’ states ZOA National President Morton Klein.  “The ZOA finds it both remarkable and troubling that President Obama has never directly criticized Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas or the PA by name. Presidents Obama and Sarkozy expressed their views during what was to have been a private meeting between the two men, but which, due to a live microphone being left on, was overhead by a large contingent of journalists.”

During their meeting following a G20 press conference, Sarkozy said of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “I cannot stand him.  He is a liar.” According to the report, Obama replied: “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!” (‘Report: Sarkozy calls Netanyahu “Liar,”Yediot Ahronot, November 7, 2011).

The ZOA commends Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Republican Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Michele Bachman for immediately speaking out against President Obama and President Sarkozy’s troubling comments.  Senator McCain noted that the comments by President Obama reflect animosity towards Israel, not just its prime minister. Specifically, Senator McCain said that the “French have always been like that” and that President Obama’s statement is “indicative of the attitude and policies that this administration has had toward Israel” (Susan Crabtree, ‘McCain slams Obama for Netanyahu Criticism,’ Washington Post blog, November 8, 2011).

Republican Presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney said, “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.  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.”

Republican Presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachman said, “I call on President Obama to immediately apologize to Prime Minister Netanyahu and I also believe that the president should demonstrate leadership and demand that the French President Sarkozy do the same” (‘Bachmann pushes Obama to Apologize to Israel’s PM for Candid Comments Caught on an Open Mic,’ Washington Post, November 8, 2011).

President Obama’s problematic record in regard to Israel is something the ZOA has detailed previously.  Klein, along with National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt and Vice-Chairman Steven Goldberg believe that , “This incident – which we would know nothing about, had it not been for the microphones being inadvertently left on – is very revealing.  While on the face of it, the topic of the overheard discussion was the personality of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in reality it was more about Presidents Sarkozy and Obama’s views about Israeli policy.” 

President Sarkozy has also previously made biased and disrespectful comments about Israel before. In June 2009, President Sarkozy blatantly interfered in Israeli internal affairs by urging visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to replace Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman with another figure more acceptable to European and other leaders. He also compared Lieberman to Jean-Marie Le Pen, the far-right, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant French politician. In June 2008, in an address to the Knesset, Sarkozy called for the deportation of Jews inhabiting communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, rendering them judenrein, as well as for Israel to divide Jerusalem. It is clear that he promotes the racist view of negating the right of Jews and only Jews to live in their biblical heartland and has no compunction breaching elementary protocol in urging a foreign leader to alter the composition of his cabinet.


“Both Obama and Sarkozy are upset that the Netanyahu government is not more pliable and receptive to their own way of thinking. In short, despite the fact that Israel, during the term of the Obama presidency, has removed checkpoints and enabled vast economic growth in the PA-controlled territories; accepted in principle a Palestinian state; instituted an unprecedented 10-month freeze upon Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, and declared its willingness to negotiate without preconditions, they do not think it is enough. This is despite the fact that Mahmoud Abbas’ PA has made no concessions, has essentially refused to negotiate, continued to promote incitement to hatred and murder, has named dozens of schools, streets and sports teams after Jew-killing terrorists, signed an alliance with Hamas, declared a future Palestinian state will be Jew-free and evaded negotiations by seeking a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN.

“They believe Israel must simply agree to establishing a Palestinian state under the leadership of an unreconstructed, terror-promoting PA within the pre-1967 armistice lines and emptying it of all Jews. Any Israeli government that has any reservations about such a course of action is seen as an irritant or a danger or in some way false to the cause of peace.

“It is not a lie when Israel declares its willingness to negotiate while the PA demands preconditions before it will sit down to talk. It seems that the failed and disastrous Oslo process, even though its failure is the result of Palestinian extremism, racism and non-acceptance of Israel, has accelerated the tendency of foreign leaders to demand more of Israel whenever their hopelessly flawed policy of establishing a PA-led Palestinian state hits a Palestinian brick wall.

“This incident shows President Obama to be far from friendly to Israel’s democratically elected government and indeed to any Israeli government that would not be willing to make more of the one-sided, dangerous concessions to a hostile PA that seeks to replace Israel. It tends to lend further weight to ZOA’s long-standing analysis that President Obama is arguably the most hostile U.S. president with which Israel has had to contend in its 63 year history.”

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