If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.
It’s a lesson most of us learned as children – but it’s one President Obama seems to have forgotten.
The president was engaged in a gripe session about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with French President Nicolas Sarkozy that was overheard by reporters covering the Group of 20 Summit in southern France.
“Netanyahu, I can’t stand him,” Sarkozy said to Obama. “He’s a liar.”
According to the Associated Press, the French interpreter said Obama did not object.
“You are sick of him,” President Obama reportedly said. “But I have to work with him every day.”
President Obama should have politely instructed President Sarkozy to shove his soufflé where le soleil ne pas brille.
But instead, the president stood by and did nothing – except throw our most trusted ally under the United Nations bus.
The White House was asked to comment on the president’s conversation, but a cone of silence has enveloped 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. – a few days too late.
But Israel is buzzing about the American slight.
“Obama is wrong,” one reader wrote on the Israeli newspaper Haaretz’s website. “We’re the ones that have to deal with him every day.”
Trust me. We know.
President Obama’s disdain for Israel has been well-documented. But this most recent slight has come at a dangerous time.
Last year, Netanyahu was humiliated during a White House visit. The president walked out of a meeting with the Israeli prime minister – refusing to invite him to dinner – or pose for official photographs.
The Times of London reported that the prime minister had received “the treatment reserved for the President of Equatorial Guinea.”
Israel’s defense minister warned of a possible military strike against Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s leaders have vowed to wipe Israel of the face of the Earth.
I’m not an expert on the nuances of international diplomacy, but the next time President Obama has an issue with Israel’s prime minister, perhaps he should man up and say it to his face – instead of stabbing him in the back.