Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg said that he interpreted U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent comments on Israel as a “veiled threat.”

Goldberg interviewed Obama last week, with his scoop published on the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Oval Office meeting on Monday, as well as preempting the prime minister’s appearance at the 2014 AIPAC Policy Conference on Tuesday.

In an interview with Bloomberg View talk show host Charlie Rose late on Wednesday, Goldberg said that he has been interviewing Obama on the subject of Israel for seven years, and has followed his “evolving views” on the Jewish state and Netanyahu.

Goldberg said Obama shows that he has “deep concern” for resolving the Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict, but as the current U.S.-brokered peace process approaches its self-imposed climax of a “framework agreement,” expected next month, Obama’s rhetoric is becoming less “diplomatic” and “more specific.”

“It’s not that the gloves are coming off, it’s that the mask of diplomatic language is coming off,” Goldberg said. Obama is “more specific about the problems he sees down the road for Israel,” about the demographics, “how Israel is going to cease to be a Jewish democracy at a certain point” and “how he’s having a harder time defending Israel in international organizations.”

Goldberg said it seemed to him to be a question of whether Obama was “unwilling or unable,” but the U.S. president made it clear that it was not because of a lack of willingness, describing the “undying” support America will always have for Israel.

Goldberg paraphrased Obama as saying, “Israel is growing more isolated and we can’t defend it in the same way.”

“I took it to be a little bit of a veiled threat, to be honest,” Goldberg said. “It’s almost up there with, you know, nice little Jewish state you got there, I’d hate to see something happen to it.”

“It was, look, I want to help you, but you’re not helping me help you, and, therefore, there’s only so much political capital I’m going to go spend in the UN, with the EU, with the Arab League, on your behalf,” Goldberg said. “I think it was all couched very carefully but it’s there and certainly the government in Israel feels like it’s there.”

When asked to describe the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu, Goldberg quipped, “Oh, it’s just filled with joy, very clearly.”

Rose then described Obama as having “a certain grudging respect for the prime minister. He said the prime minister is in a historic position because of his political skills to do things and he pays him that respect.”

Goldberg replied with a “theory” he thinks Obama shares.

“There are three seats in the Zionist pantheon, to mix paganism and Judaism for a minute,” he said. “There’s [Theodore] Herzl, who thought up the idea of modern Zionism; there’s [David] Ben-Gurion, who took Herzel’s idea and made it concrete, turned it into a state; and that third seat is still empty. That’s the person …read more
Source: The Algemeiner


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