As President Obama stirs controversy across the Atlantic by threatening Great Britain if the British people vote to divorce themselves from the European Union, it’s instructive to look back at the president’s reaction when a foreign leader came here to America to voice his concerns over one of his policies.
Justice Minister Dominic Raab led an angry backlash against Mr Obama as the Leave campaign tried to shift the emphasis to immigration. He said: “This is really about a lame duck US president about to move off the stage doing an old British friend a favour. I have got no doubt that future US trade negotiators are going to look to other opportunities – I think the British will be first in the queue, not at the back of the queue.”
During the height of the debate over Obama’s disastrous nuclear capitulation to Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted an invitation to address the US Congress to make a strong case against the deal that could hand nuclear weapons to a terrorist state pledged to annihilating his nation.
Do you remember the White House’s petulant reaction to the speech?
On CNN, Fareed Zakaria asked the president not about the substance of Netanyahu’s argument but about the mere fact that the Prime Minister of Israel would even dare to speak up about a policy being debated in the US:
Zakaria’s question on the matter began with a statement:
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has injected himself forcefully into this debate on American foreign policy in Washington,” Zakaria said. To which the President replied, “Right.”
The CNN host continued, “Can you recall a time when a foreign head of government has done that. Is it appropriate for a foreign head of government to inject himself into an American debate?”
Obama then employed his patented, passive-aggressive snark. “I’ll let you ask Prime Minister Netanyahu that question, if he grants you an interview,” he replied with a suggestive smirk. An arrogant response meant to convey a snide “I know and you know the answer to that question, but I’ll snidely demure so I can give the appearance of staying above the fray. Oh and I’ll throw in a little jab suggesting Netanyahu is scared to sit with you and take a question like that even though I clearly am not.”
And then he couldn’t help himself. He said, “I do not recall a similar example.”
By providing that last answer, he validated Zakaria’s question and the premise it was built upon. That Netanyahu had “injected himself, forcefully,” into an internal American affair and it was unprecedented.
He could have said, “Listen Fareed, the US has a long and important relationship with Israel and clearly this Iran deal is going to affect the Israeli people and all the other nations in the region. I welcome the Prime Minister’s input and he has every right to accept Congress’ invitation.”
But he didn’t.
So, back to the president’s remarks yesterday in England.
No matter what side of the Brexit question you fall on, there’s no doubt that Obama is “injecting himself forcefully into the debate” over British policy, right? And by doing so, he is showing himself to be a world-class hypocrite.
Unless, of course, you believe the President of the United States gets to operate on a different set of rules than the head of the world’s only Jewish state. And if that’s the case, you’re guilty of something far more hateful than mere hypocrisy. But, I’ll let you ask President Obama about that, if he grants you an interview.