Obama Calls Netanyahu as White House Eyes U.N. Shift (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted March 19, 2015 at 4:16pm

Updated 5:36 p.m. | The United States may no longer be Israel’s protector at the United Nations, Press Secretary Josh Earnest indicated Thursday.  

After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election comments disavowing a two-state solution and decrying Arab voters during the election, the White House is actively re-evaluating its past actions on behalf of Israel at the U.N. and elsewhere, Earnest said. He didn’t go into specifics, such as whether the United States would back a resolution recognizing Palestine as a state. But the implied threat of that kind of action is clear. President Barack Obama later called Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory.  

But it was likely a frosty call. Earnest ripped Netanyahu’s remark about Arab voters as “cynical” and “divisive,” though he stopped short of calling it “racist” when asked by a reporter.  

In the White House readout of the call, Obama emphasized the importance of the security relationship with Israel.  

“The President reaffirmed the United States’ long-standing commitment to a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestine,” the White House said. “On Iran, the President reiterated that the United States is focused on reaching a comprehensive deal with Iran that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and verifiably assures the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.”  

While the White House is re-evaluating its approach to Israel, Earnest also reiterated the president continues to be committed to Israel’s security.  

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