One of Barack Obama’s most senior advisers has told how the president said to him: ‘I’m the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office.’
David Axelrod, one of the key figures in Obama’s rise to the presidency and his first term in office, revealed the claim at the same time as the president tried to reduce tensions with Israel over an impending nuclear deal with Iran.
Axelrod made the assertion during an interview with Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan of Channel 2 news, according to news siteJPUpdates.com.
‘You know, I think I am the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office,’ the president said, according to Axelrod’s account. ‘For people to say that I am anti-Israel, or, even worse, anti-Semitic, it hurts.’
The claim was revealed hours before Channel 2 conducted its own interview with Obama, who has a difficult relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu has been openly critical of attempts to negotiate a deal with Iran which would see sanctions on the hardline regime lifted in return for a 10-year guarantee that it would not develop a nuclear weapon. Obama told the Israeli TV channel that he and Netanyahu ‘have good conversations’. ‘They’re tough, they’re forceful, we disagree, but I enjoy jousting with him, I do,’ he proclaimed.
The U.S. president suggested that the discord between he and his Israeli counterpart was had been exaggerated and framed in ‘personal’ terms in the media because it makes for a better narrative. The two men couldn’t agree less on the way to handle Iran, an enemy of Israel, though. The disagreement became an ugly public stand off when Netanyahu came to Washington, D.C. to beg the U.S. Congress not to enter into an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.
Arguing against the lifting of sanctions on the country in exchange for promises that it wouldn’t continue building a bomb, Netanyahu said that Iran has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted. He has continued to work against the deal being brokered by the U.S. and five other countries with Iran as the June 30 deadline for a formal accord comes closer.
There’s little to stop Iran from using the money its economy gains as a result of reduced sanctions on terrorism activities that it will primarily direct at its sworn enemy, Israel, Netanyahu has said.
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