Yesterday, my colleague AWR Hawkins reported that the White House, on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, had declined a meeting request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is the first time Obama has turned down a meeting request from Netanyahu while the Prime Minister is traveling in the United States. With tensions rising between Iran and her neighbors, a meeting with our closest ally in the region would seem warranted. Unfortunately, the White House said, Obama just didn’t have time for the meeting.
Obama does have time, however, to meet with the new Islamist President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, who is traveling to the US at the same time as Netanyahu. Back in July, Obama invited the Muslim Brotherhood-back Morsi to the White House for a meeting. He didn’t simply agree to a meeting request, but initiated the invite on his own. The differing treatment between Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood is jarring.
This might just have been another of Obama’s diplomatic missteps, but for the dramatic events unfolding across North Africa. Rioters stormed the American Embassy in Cairo, burned the American flag and unfurled a black, islamist flag. In Libya, rioters burned the American consulate and murdered the US Ambassador.
The very least Obama should do is cancel his meeting with Morsi. It is probably asking too much of this President to ask him to reconsider his snub of Netanyahu. We’ll just have to begin repairing our rift with Israel after Mitt Romney wins in November.