ZOA: President Obama Calls Israeli Govt. "Extreme Right" Despite Israeli
Concessions, Broadening of Israeli Coalition ...
June 13, 2012
President Obama Calls Israeli Govt. "Extreme Right" Despite Israeli
Concessions, Broadening of Israeli Coalition & Absence of Palestinian
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has taken issue with the
description of the Israeli government offered by President Barack Obama to a
Jewish group in which he was reported in the Jewish daily Forward as saying
that the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu was "extreme right."
According to the report, during a meeting with a delegation of orthodox
rabbis from the Orthodox Union, “The President described Israel’s government
as having been extreme right and said that Netanyahu, just like any other
world leader, does not want any restraints’” (Nathan Gutman, ‘Obama Gets
Copy of Washington Letter,’ Forward, June 5, 2012).
The ZOA was surprised that, despite past - and recent - concessions by this
Israeli Government, including Israel’s pleading for negotiations; its
openly-stated readiness to make new, painful concessions; the broadening of
the Government to include the main Opposition, leftwing Kadima Party; and
the presence in the Government as Defense Minister of former Labor Party
leader Ehud Barak, and now a Deputy Prime Minister, Shaul Mofaz, both of
whom have said that they would unilaterally relinquish 60% of Judea and
Samaria to Palestinian control, the President nonetheless described the
Israeli government as belonging to the extreme right.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, "We find it puzzling that
President Obama would say that the Israeli government is of the extreme
right. There is no factual or analytical basis for it.
“First, the Netanyahu government, from its inception in 2009, made it clear
that it accepted in-principle the idea of a negotiated Palestinian state.
Wise or unwise, such a position cannot be described as of the ‘extreme
“Second, the Netanyahu government - despite the absence of any Palestinian
concession or indication of moderation - agreed to a 10-month freeze on all
Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, a unilateral concession that
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself described at the time, correctly,
as ‘unprecedented.’ Indeed, no previous Israeli government had agreed to and
implemented such a concession before.
“Third, despite the failure of Mahmoud Abbas’ PA to negotiate virtually at
all during the freeze and its failure to negotiate to date, Israel has made
it clear that it is willing to negotiate with the PA immediately, without
“Fourth, it is singularly strange that President Obama would say that the
Israeli government is of the extreme right only days after Prime Minister
Netanyahu formed a coalition with Shaul Mofaz’s leftwing opposition Kadima
party, which holds 28 seats and which advocates for leftwing policies. The
current Israeli government constitutes 94 out of 120 Knesset seats, the
second broadest coalition government in the country’s history.”