Thursday, 29 April 2010

Israel Matzav: Nir Barkat blasts Obama

Nir Barkat blasts Obama

This is a small country. If in the rest of the World they say that there are no more than six degrees of separation, in Israel there are no more than two. And so, it's inevitable that there are several people in my social circle who know Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, even though I don't know him personally. I have managed to miss at least two visits to my sons' school by him this year.

The longtime client/friend who knows him best served with Nir in the IDF and raves about him. According to my friend, Nir is scrupulously honest (a major problem with Israeli politicians these days, as you may have heard), loyal to his friends and to the men who served under him in the paratroopers, and a successful venture capitalist to boot (unfortunately, not a client of mine). Although Nir was elected Mayor under Kadima's aegis, he was up front from the start about where he stood on Jerusalem, and his positions about the goings-on in the city have been far closer to Prime Minister Netanyahu's than to those of Kadima leader Tzipi Livni. Therefore, it's not surprising to hear that Mr. Barkat has gone to Washington and has blasted the Obama administration from Capitol Hill.

Barkat's talking points, an aide told POLITICO: The U.S. would not ask certain religions or races to stop building in a city, so it should not demand the same of Israelis in East Jerusalem.

The Obama administration's demands that Israel halt construction in East Jerusalem as a precondition for negotiations, is “setting an obstacle for peace,” the aide said.

Stephan Miller, a spokesman to the mayor, said asking for a freeze is “an illegal demand in the United States, and illegal in the state of Israel” and “Jerusalem will continue to expand and grow for the benefit of all residents equally.”

Perhaps a starker preview of his message to Capitol Hill lawmakers came on Fox News Monday, when Neil Cavuto asked if the Obama administration was anti-Israel.

"I dont know," he said. "I dont know, we have yet to see. I will tell you in the next few months, in the next few years."


Israel Matzav: Nir Barkat blasts Obama

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