White House spokesman Josh Earnest told The New York Times on Tuesday that regardless of the outcome of today’s general election in Israel, President Obama will work to strengthen ties between the US and the Jewish state.
Obama “remains committed to working very closely with the winner of the ongoing elections to cement and further deepen the strong relationship between the United States and Israel, and the president is confident that he can do that with whomever the Israeli people choose,” Earnest said.
The New York Times called the White House statement a “conciliatory public stand,” but noted the anger the President and his aides felt towards Netanyahu, especially after the Prime Minister’s March 3rd speech before a joint session of Congress.
In February, The New York Times reported an additional source of tension between Obama and Netanyahu when it wrote that former Obama political operative Jeremy Bird was consulting with V15, a group devoted to unseating Netanyahu’s government.
Earnest avoided answering questions in February by The New York Times of whether it was trying oust Netanyahu, saying: “The long tradition of bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship has served both our countries well for generations, and President Obama will continue to go to great lengths to shield our alliance from the smallness of party politics.”