Israelis Insulted By Obama Picture: Shoe On Table While Talking on Phone With Netanyahu


obama4Israeli TV newscasters last night interpreted a photo taken Monday in the Oval Office of President Obama talking on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as an “insult” to Israel. They saw the incident as somewhat akin to an incident last year, when the Iraqi reporter threw a shoe at President Bush in Baghdad.
It is considered an insult in the Arab world to show the sole of your shoe to someone. It is not a Jewish custom necessarily, but Israel feels enough a part of the Middle East after 60 years to be insulted too.Was there a subliminal message intended from the White House to Netanyahu in Yerushalayim, who is publicly resisting attempts by Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to force Israel to stop any kind of settlement activity in occupied territories once and forever?

Whether or not it is true, it shows the mood in Israel. They feel cornered. The reactions out of Israel reflect that feeling.

Netanyahu is making a speech Sunday, in part as a response to Obama’s address to the Arab world last week in Cairo.

obama-shoe-largeIsrael’s Channel One TV reported that Netanyahu was told yesterday by an “American official” in Yerushalayim that, “We are going to change the world. Please, don’t interfere.” The report said Netanyahu’s aides interpreted this as a “threat.”

Netanyahu met with George Mitchell yesterday for four hours in Yerushalayim. The State Department announced this afternoon that Mitchell will be stopping in Beirut and Damascus when he finishes his visits to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

{CBS News/ Newscenter}


  1. Removal of a shoe features prominently in the Story of Ruth. This is not a foreign,”Middle East custom” It is part of our historical view.
    I don’t know if the President was just careless or he gave consideration to his actions.

  2. I can’t believe that writes “resisting attempts by Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to force Israel to stop any kind of settlement activity in OCCUPIED TERRITORIES once and forever” – what is this, the Palestine Gazette?! Occupied territories is a term used only by Arabs and their buddies. Neutral terms are calling it “the West Bank” or “disputed territories” and right-wingers would be calling it Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron). But occupied territories should be a no-no for a frum website, unless you are affiliated with Neturei Karta, and what would they be doing with a website when their followers would be put in chereim for having internet access…

  3. Whether or not Israel feels part of the moslom world is moot. It is insulting in all societies to have a shoe thrown at you, or to have a press release of a president talking on the phone with you while he’s in a less than noble position. besides, why did the WH release this photo with the details of who Mr. Hussein was speaking to?

    And Obama is a compassionate being??

  4. As the days go by I become more and more disenchanted with Mr. Obama. I am not Israeli and I found the picture offensive. I am all for having a relaxed working environment but I think he has taken things a little too far. What he says and does reflects directly on America and American’s. It seems to me he has let being elected POTUS go to his head.

  5. I’d bet on it being a deliberate insult. Like the middle finger drawn slowly across his brow–with pregnant pause for applause–when he mentioned Hilary Clinton during the campaign.

  6. Re: Comment from Anonymous
    Time June 10, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    “Get a life, he was on the PHONE! not in person!”

    Thank you. One sane voice among all of the commenters here.

    Netanyahu did not have a video-phone. It’s certainly okay to disagree with Obama’s politics, but the potshots being taken here about relaxing in his office while on the phone are so petty that they’re embarrassing. I pray that non-Jews don’t read these comments and come to think how idiotic some Jews can be. We are supposed to be a light unto the nations. We are not, chas v’shalom, supposed to hold ourselves up to ridicule by demonstrating such shallowness.