President Barack Obama dismissed charges that he had betrayed Israel by failing to veto a harmful United Nations resolution which condemned Israeli construction in the Biblical heartland, telling Israeli media that he had “an obligation to do what I think is right.”
In an interview with Israeli Channel 2 TV, Obama said that he did not understand the “sense of betrayal” that Israeli leaders and citizens had expressed when he went against longstanding US policy to support Israel’s interests at the UN, calling the outraged reactions “hyperbole” and suggesting that they were a ploy to remove scrutiny from so-called settlements.
“That kind of hyperbole, those kinds of statements, don’t have a basis in fact,” he told the interviewer, adding that they “may work well with respect to deflecting attention from the problem of settlements.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had responded to the resolution’s passage with a statement blaming Obama for his decision to abstain from the vote, thereby allowing it to pass.
“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against the UN’s obsession with Israel, it collaborated with the UN behind Israel’s back,” read the angry statement.
But Obama implied that the fury and shock displayed by Israel’s leadership were simply political moves which might “play well” with the government’s supporters.
“They may play well with Bibi’s (Netanyahu’s) political base, as well as the Republican base here in the United States, but they don’t match up with the facts,” Obama said.
He asserted his authority to make the momentous move in the very last days of his presidency – a move which it is doubtful incoming president Donald Trump would support.
“The fact of the matter is that I’m president until January 20, and I have an obligation to do what I think is right.”