Daily Israel Report

Former Amb. Ettinger: Obama's Speech Was a Tactical Change

Israel’s former UN Ambassador Yoram Ettinger dismissed Obama's speech in the United Nations: A leopard can't change its spots.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/23/2011, 2:49 PM

Netanyahu and Obama
Netanyahu and Obama
Flash 90

Israel’s former UN Ambassador Yoram Ettinger addressed on Thursday President Obama’s speech to the United Nations, saying the speech may have been a change in tactics on the part of the president, but adding that his relationship with Israel has not changed substantially.

“A leopard never changes its spots,” Ettinger told Arutz Sheva. “Obama may have changed his tactics but his approach to the situation in the Middle East is still worrying.”

Ettinger said Obama showed incredible ignorance about the goings in the Middle East, something which he said should worry everyone.

“He treated the events in the Arab world as a celebration of democracy, as if Egypt ousted a dictator and replaced him with a democratic leader,” Ettinger said. “This is an amazing display of ignorance and a worrisome message to pro-American regimes about whether they can indeed count on Obama.”

He added that Obama’s attitude towards the Arabs did not change either.

“Obama continues to stick to the approach that the issue of Palestinian Authority Arabs is the root of the problems of the Middle East,” Ettinger said. “He continues to talk about solving the problem of the Arab refugees and about Jerusalem.”

Ettinger suggested that the only sentences that had a positive tone about Israel were uttered for political purposes.

“Obama got hit hard when a Republican from New York was elected to the House of Representatives, and he’s not doing well in public opinion polls either,” he said. “In the 2012 elections he could a bring catastrophe upon the Democrats, so he released a few positive sentences about Israel. But a leopard does not change its spots.”

Obama’s speech on Wednesday had been praised by Israel, after he dismissed the Palestinian Authority’s statehood bid at the United Nations and said that “there is no shortcut to peace.”

He placed an emphasis on any peace agreement providing “assurances” for Israel’s security and reminded his audience that “Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later thanked Obama for his speech, saying the president's stance was “a badge of honor.”

It was the PA side that actually reacted with anger to the speech. On Thursday it was reported that Arab youth in the entire Muslim world plan to show their anger at mass protests on Friday.