Jonah noted last night that we would be hearing more about Obama and Sarkozy agreeing in their disdain for Bibi Netanyahu, and he was right. Jay Carney tried to duck the issue in a press conference today, saying three separate times some version of “I don’t have any comment on the specific conversation.” He even tried to spin out of it by pointing to the U.S.’s disagreement with France on France’s recent vote granting the Palestinians UNESCO membership. This, I suspect, will not fly.
As Jackson Diehl wrote on the Washington Post site, Obama’s and Sarkozy’s disregard for Netanyahu is not really justified by Netanyahu’s actions. As Diehl put it, Netanyahu “has been an occasionally difficult but ultimately cooperative partner” whereas Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas “has gone from resisting U.S. and French diplomacy to actively seeking to undermine it.” The anti-Netanyahu comments of course provide more proof of Obama’s coldness towards Israel, but they also demonstrate that Obama still does not grasp the essential foreign-policy principle of rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior.