The Obama administration has “screwed up the messaging” about its support for Israel over the past 14 months, and it will take “more than one month to make up for 14 months,” White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said on Thursday to a group of rabbis called together for a meeting in the White House.
“During the elections there were doubts about President Obama’s support for Israel, and now they have resurfaced,” Emanuel said, according to one of those who participated in the meeting. “But concerning policy, we have done everything that we can that is in Israel’s security – and long-range interests. Watch what the administration does.”
Dennis Ross, who runs the administration’s Iran policy, tried to allay fears during the meeting that by calling for a nuclear-free Middle East, US policy regarding Israel’s alleged nuclear capabilities was changing.
Since 1995, Ross explained, the administration’s policy, supported by Israel, was to push for a nuclear-free Middle East in conjunction with comprehensive peace. Emanuel, according to a participant in the meeting, said, “We understand Israel’s full layer of deterrence.”