Barak, meeting Rahm Emanuel, brings goodwill message from PM

Defense minister tells Obama associate that Netanyahu isn’t trying to meddle in presidential election

Defense Minister Ehud Barak (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

At a time of tension between the United States and Israel over the way to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday to deliver a message of rapprochement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Barak, who is in the United States to attend the Clinton Global Initiative and the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, was reported to have delivered to Emanuel — a former chief of staff for US President Barack Obama — a message from Netanyahu that the prime minister was not attempting to meddle in the upcoming presidential election.

Netanyahu’s displeasure with the Obama administration over its refusal to set “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear program has been reported repeatedly in recent weeks, with many commentators suggesting that Netanyahu is criticizing the president in hopes of making Republican candidate Mitt Romney more attractive to voters concerned with Israel’s security.

Obama turned down Netanyahu’s offer to meet with him next week, citing a busy schedule, in a move that was widely seen as a subtle rebuke of the prime minister for his recent criticisms of the Obama administration.

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