Former prime minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday issued a scathing indictment of Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct during the American presidential election, slamming the prime minister’s reported support for the Republican candidate and eventual runner-up, Mitt Romney.
“What Netanyahu did in recent months raises the question of whether our prime minister still has a friend in the White House. And I’m not so sure he does,” Olmert said at a meeting with leaders of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York, blasting the prime minister for turning Israel — once “above all argument” — into a partisan cause.
Netanyahu responded to the news of Obama’s reelection earlier Wednesday, saying that “the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States is stronger than ever,” and vowing to “continue to work with President Obama to ensure the vital security interests of Israeli citizens.”
US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro ruled out the possibility that Obama would harbor ill will toward Netanyahu for the latter’s perceived support for Romney in the US presidential campaign. “Anyone who knows the president understands that this is not how he thinks,” Shapiro said, adding that talk of revenge against Israel for Netanyahu’s political preferences was “ridiculous.”
The acrimony between the two leaders dates back to at least 2010, when Netanyahu left Washington humiliated after talks about the stalled peace process and a possible settlement freeze ended without results.