Congressman confirms reports claiming that prime minister, US envoy exchanged harsh words on Obama’s Iran stance at J’lem meeting last month
The White House issued denials – but a senior US official confirmed a report published earlier this week in Yedioth Ahronoth which claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly criticized the Obama administration for not doing enough vis-à-vis the Iranian issue.
Rep. Mike Rogers, the Michigan Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, confirmed the Yedioth Ahronoth report and said that his much-discussed meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem late last month did, in fact, devolve into an sharp confrontation between Netanyahu and the American ambassador to Israel, the former National Security Council official (and former Obama campaign Jewish liaison), Dan Shapiro.
According to The Atlantic, Rogers told a Michigan radio interviewer earlier this week that he had not previously witnessed such a high-level confrontation, and he described Israeli leaders as being at “wits’ end” over what they see as President Obama’s unwillingness to provide them with his “red lines” in the effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Rogers added that neither the Israelis nor the Iranians believe that Obama would use force to stop the nuclear program. He also noted that he believes the Israelis will “probably” bomb Iran if they don’t get clearer red lines from the US.
Shortly after the meeting took place Shapiro soon dismissed the reports, calling them “silly” and saying, “The published account of that meeting did not reflect what actually occurred in the meeting. The conversations were entirely friendly and professional.”
According to a source who attended last month’s meeting, Netanyahu was extremely irate and stressed during the meeting.
Netanyahu opened the meeting by slamming the US administration: “Instead of pressuring Iran effectively, Obama and his officials are pressuring us not to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities,” he said before going on to criticize the US government’s declarations according to which there is still room for diplomacy.
“Time has run out,” Netanyahu said.
At some stage during the meeting, Ambassador Shapiro did something which is usually considered unacceptable in diplomatic terms. The ambassador who was appointed by Obama and who over the years has gained a reputation for being one of his closest advisors decided enough was enough.
He ‘took the floor’ and responded to Netanyahu politely – but left no room for doubt.
The envoy accused Netanyahu of distorting Obama’s stance. He quoted the US president, who promised not to allow a nuclear Iran to go ahead and who said that all options, including military, were on the table.
It might be said that Shapiro used diplomatic language to tell Netanyahu to put a stop to the