ZOA Praises Sarkozy’s Expressing Regret To Netanyahu Over Overheard Harsh Remarks – Why Won’t Obama?
November 15, 2011


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s efforts to essentially apologize for his disparaging, harsh private comments, publicly overheard, about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in conversation with President Barack Obama. In a letter of condolence to Prime Minister Netanyahu on the recent death of his father-in-law, President Sarkozy wrote, “You have my friendship, and our differing views on the problems of the Middle East, and the interpretations appearing in the media, have no effect on it” (‘Sarkozy pledges friendship to Netanyahu in letter,’ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 15, 2011),  The ZOA is especially pleased about President Sarkozy’s letter, as it called upon both presidents last week to apologize for their remarks. The ZOA wonders why President Obama, who also made disparaging remarks about the Israeli Prime Minister, has not done the same.


During their meeting following a G20 press conference last week, President Sarkozy said of Prime Minister Netanyahu, “I cannot stand him.  He is a liar,’ while President 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).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “While no one would imagine that President Sarkozy has changed the views he expressed, it is praiseworthy that he has tried to clarify that his comments do not reflect on the value he places on his relations with the Israeli Prime Minister and on the Franco-Israel relationship. 


“As the ZOA has said earlier in regard to this incident, 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. 


“The only question outstanding is why President Obama has not spoken on the subject since his disparaging words about Mr. Netanyahu were made public last week. President Obama says he is a strong and committed friend of Israel, yet he makes disparaging remarks about its prime minister, then refuses to express any regret or issue a retraction once it becomes public. The only possible interpretation one can put on this behavior is that President Obama meant what he said and that his hostility to Mr. Netanyahu and the government he leads is such that he will not even go through the motions of expressing regret or downplaying his remarks.


“The ZOA renews its call upon President Obama to apologize for his overheard remarks about Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

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