Lost In The Uproar Over Sarkozy Hot-Mic Incident: Obama's Advocacy For Israel

Blog ››› ››› KAREN FAMIGHETTI

Right-wing media outlets including Fox Nation, Jim Hoft's Gateway Pundit, the Drudge Report, and Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace are highlighting a Ynet article describing a conversation between President Obama and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. According to reports, the two presidents, apparently unaware that their microphones were on, had the following exchange at the G-20 conference in Cannes, France:

"Obama began by reproaching Sarkozy for not warning him in advance that France would vote in favour of Palestinian membership of UNESCO," the website reported. "The conversation turned to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, with Sarkozy saying, 'I don't want to see him anymore, he's a liar.'

"To which President Obama replied: 'You've had enough of him, but I have to deal with him every day!' Obama then asked Sarkozy to try to convince the Palestinians to slow down with their UN membership drive."

What the right-wing blogs aren't emphasizing is the substance of this conversation: Obama's request to Sarkozy to ask the Palestinians to slow their push for U.N. membership. Simply put, Obama was asking Sarkozy to do something that Israel wants.

Focusing on that would have clashed with the right wing's false narrative that Obama is anti-Israel, something his record contradicts. This theme has resurfaced repeatedly, from Fox's Eric Bolling theorizing that the Palestinian bid for statehood is a "setup" to make Obama seem pro-Israel, to Fox figures' and Rush Limbaugh's distortion of Obama's comments on the 1967 Israel borders and Netanyahu's response. There has also been a litany of highly inflammatory and unsubstantiated statements from the right on Obama's Israel record. The Wall Street Journal has also joined the chorus.

In fact, Obama's record on Israel is supportive, and his actions have been praised by Israeli leaders. Netanyahu thanked Obama for his support during the last U.N. General Assembly meeting, for providing assistance in extracting Israeli security guards from the Israeli embassy in Cairo, for helping to fund a missile defense system to protect Israel, and for the killing of Osama bin Laden. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, now the defense minister, said in August that he "can hardly remember a better period of ... American support" for Israel than "right now."

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